Wednesday, July 16, 2008


               The Con Job Pizza delivery sign hangs half magnetized onto the side of Geo Prism as it pulls near the back end of the bus stop in front of Ollie’s apartment building.

            “Where’s Aaron?” Ollie asks, retrieving a $20 bill from his pocket and leaving the bus stop bench that reads ‘No Longer in Service’ in bright yellow on the backing.

            Thad, a gawky, mullet head, steps from around the driver’s side, leaving the Prism idling, pizza box in his hand.  He seems all too comfortable in his Con Job Pizza uniform, a black and white striped outfit reminiscent of a 1930’s convict.

            “Aw, he’s in Milwaukee,” Thad says.  “Grandad had a stroke or something.”

            “Shit.  When’s he, uh . . . gonna’ be back, you think?”

            “I dunno’, man.  Sounded bad.”

            The two stand there as the Norwegian death metal from the Prism drowns out the passing traffic.

            “That’s, uh . . $13.50,” Thad says meekly.

            “Yeah.  Wait.”

            Ollie stares up the busy street, glaring far off into the distance, beyond where the bridge connects Deerdorfe to Loon Way.

            “Shit,” Ollie sighs.

            “It’s $13.50.”

            “Yeah, yeah.  I know,” Ollie says handing over a 20.  “Just gimme’ back three.”

            Thad hands him the Con Job Pizza box, three dollars and starts to head back to the Prism.

            “Hey, thanks,” Thad says.

            “Wait!,” Ollie yells.  He starts back over to the bus stop bench.  “You wanna’ stick around for a little bit?  Hang out?”

            “Oh, jeez.  I don’t know.  I gotta’ . . .”

            “Cause that’s what me and Aaron usually do.”

            Thad laughs nervously.

            “No, really,” Ollie exclaims.  “It’s one me.”  He sits on the bench.  “Thing is, we always sit here, eat some pizza and wait for this gorgeous, little, retro girl to come up Deerdorfe on her bike.  It’s like clockwork.  I’m sorry, I don’t know your name.”

            “It’s Thad.”

            “Thad?  Really?”

            “Yeah.  Why?”

            “No.  No reason.  I’m Ollie.”

            “Yeah, I know.  Aaron’s mentioned you before.”

            “He has?”

            “Yeah.  He said the same thing you just told me.  You guys sit here and eat a Con Job, waiting for some girl in 70’s clothes to come peddling by.  Yeah.  He’s told me.”


            “Naw.  I gotta’ girlfriend, so . . “

            “Well, so do I!”

            “Naw, I gotta’ get back to work.  Um, thanks though.”

            With that, Thad hops in and drives away.  The Prism spits gray smoke from the tailpipe, bathing Ollie in it as it putters away.  Ollie’s eyes fix upon every biker that passes.  He looks at his watch.

            “She’s late,” he thinks.

            He opens the Con Job Pizza box and stares down into its shiny, drippy contents.  He wonders if Aaron’s grandfather is alright and if, somehow, Aaron’s not being here at the bus stop somehow jiggled the universe out of whack.

            “She’s never late.”



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