PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

Free Country

One day, a guy comes into Fast Eddie’s, the pizza shop where I worked back in the day, and asks for a small pepperoni pizza “well burned.” I’ve never been a person who craves the flavor of highly charred anything – meat or vegetable – and I was always a thick-and-chewy kind of guy, not a thin and crispy fellow, so of course my ears immediately perked up. One of the shop’s owners– I can’t remember his name (look, this was like 1985) – says sure, fine, small pepperoni well-burned. Whatever. So he puts the pizza in the oven for a little longer than usual, and out it comes, golden and crusty. But before the pizza could be cut, the patron says, “Could you burn it more?” “You want it more?” says the shop owner. So back in it goes. Five minutes pass, and then it comes back out. Now you can smell the scorched crust, which is good and black on the bottom. But the patron was unimpressed. “More, please. Burn it more.” At this point, my boss wasn’t sure what to do. It was already burned on the bottom. But, finally, he put it right back in. After a few minutes, smoke started wafting out of the oven, and when he opened the oven door, smoke billowed out. The shop owner pulled out the charred pie, and now even the pepperoni was smoking. “Burn it more,” said the patron. “Burn it more!” But at this point the whole restaurant was filled with smoke. Everyone in the place was coughing and we had to get a fan going to air it out. “No!” said my boss. “That’s enough!”

 

This is evidence that you can’t just do whatever the hell you want in this country. (Except, maybe, when it comes to buying guns).

 

Last Minute Gift Idea: Drinking Gloves
Idea for Restaurant: "Speedy Pat's"
 

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Saturday, 25 September 2021

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