Pizza Poison – By John Ammirati

September 19, 2010

Perry got the slip for where the next Pizza Palace pizza was getting delivered: Jackson Raynor. His old high school principal. Principal Jackson Raynor, who wouldn’t let Perry attend his own high school graduation last year because of his poor attendance record. That bastard Principal Raynor. And his bastard family.

The Pizza Palace had a rat problem and kept rat poison in the manager’s office. Perry sprinkled some poison on the Mega Meat pie going to the Raynor household. Principal Jackson Raynor. And his bastard family.

Principal Raynor answered the door.

“Hey,” Perry said. “Mega Meat?”

“That’s the one,” Raynor said. “Saaay, I remember you. Perry… Hoffhauser? Right?”

Perry gulped. “Yep.” He passed the pizza to Raynor.

“How’ve you been Perry? How’s the working world treating you?”

“It’s real good.”

“Your dad still coaching Little League? Sorry, how much do I owe you?”

“$9.76.”

“Here’s $10,” said Raynor, handing over the bill, “and here’s an extra $5 for you.” Raynor smiled and his eye twinkled. Raynor’s little girl walked up to him and hugged his leg.

“Daddy, Daddy! Pizza’s here!” she said.

Raynor smiled at her and said to Perry, “Well, good seeing you, son. Take care of yourself.”

“You, too.”

Raynor closed the door. Perry walked to his car, put the key in the ignition and sat for a minute. Principal Raynor had remembered his name! Paid him a $5 tip! His daughter was such a cute kid! Fuck!

Perry ran up the Raynor’s driveway and pressed the doorbell repeatedly. Mrs. Raynor answered the door with a half-eaten slice of pizza in her hand.

“Yes?”

“M’am, that’s not your pizza!”

“I’m sorry?”

“I just delivered that pizza, it’s the wrong one! Yours is still in the car! Don’t eat it!”

“Oh, well, this is the one we ordered..”

Principal Raynor stood behind his wife.

“Principal Raynor, sir, with all due respect. I gave you the wrong pizza.”

“Well, this is the one we ordered, Perry.” He was chewing. His wife was chewing. Their daughter was dancing behind them, chewing. Perry stared at them. They stared back and chewed. They would be dead soon. Perry apologized and jogged to his car. The Raynors watched him drive away.

His plan now was to keep driving. How long before the Raynors died and the cops hunted Perry?

He drove all night and ended up at a motel in Santa Fe the following morning. The desk clerk asked for a name. Nervous about possible police inquiries, Perry said, “Uh.. Stephen… Hawking?” The name surfaced from his subconscious.

“Stephen Hawking? Any relation?” the clerk asked.

“Huh?” Perry was nervous and sweating.

“To the professor?” the clerk smiled.

What the hell is this guy talking about? “No?”

He took the key, hit the room, watched TV and tried to forget. Forgetting for Perry was easier than it would’ve been for most. He immediately became absorbed in the television programming and didn’t think much about the family murder he had commited the night before. He even had to remind himself what he was doing in a motel room so far away.

Perry got hungry and went to his car to get an undelivered pizza. He ate half of a cold, nasty slice and fell asleep on the hotel bed. A few minutes later he was vomiting black mash and realizing he’d mistakenly delivered a safe pizza to his former principal and had himself eaten a slice of the rat-poison Mega Meat. As he vomited, he laughed at his own incompetence and felt relieved that there would be no murder charges brought against him.

Driving back home to Phoenix, he realized he did actually still hate Principal Jackson Raynor and the bastard still deserved to die, even if he did remember Perry’s name and

gave him a $5 tip.

“Well,” Perry said to himself, “I had a once in a lifetime opportunity there, and I blew it.” He shook his head sagely. “Isn’t that just like me?”

About the Author

John Ammirati

John Ammirati was raised in Arizona and lives in Manchester, England. He has been published in the recently released Six Sentences Vol. 3 collection as well as upcoming anthologies from Short Story Library and Everyday Poets.

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