Home > Cuisine by Brian Schropp > To Catch a Thief: Brian Schropp on Cuisine

To Catch a Thief: Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

A TWO-PART SERIES

The pizza trade can be a hard business- this fact becomes clearer to me each time I work at the “Pizza-A-Round.” My manager, Scott, pulled me into his office last week. “Sit down Bri, we got some serious things to discuss.” He proceeded to take out one of his guns and start fiddling with it. His gun fiddling used to make me nervous, now I know he was just deep in “Scott thought”.

Picture of my manager Scott relaxing at home.

Picture of my manager Scott relaxing at home.

There was a long silence. I did start to wonder if this had anything to do with my performance. I had been recently put in charge of the “dish cleaning division” of the operation. I even had two others under my “managerial expertise”, Oscar and Omar. My “mission statement” was to make sure every dish was clean and get the Lankville Health Department off our backs. It’s been a rough road in achieving this but we’re on our way.

“Is it the dishes Scott?” I finally offered. I sat down in a pizza sauce stained chair.”I’m pretty sure the whole team is using HOT water EVERY TIME–.”

“No-no nothing to do with that- I mean the dishes haven’t been great- but there’s something else.” He took out a folder and smacked it on the desk. “Have you ever heard of a profit and loss statement?”

Since it had nothing to do with actually eating food I had not.

“Well let’s just say that we are in business to make a profit and have less loss. Unfortunately it’s been the other way around recently.”

“Have you tried my mid-morning snack pizza idea yet? I know it’s a little ‘outside the box’ but I’m sure it would be a winner..”

Scott nodded. “Even though that is a brilliant concept, it’s got nothing to do with sales. This loss is coming from the inside, employee theft- plain and simple.”

Needless to say I was taken aback!! I would never think my fellow “co-buddies” (another managerial term I’m trying to incorporate) would do such a thing.

“Not only do I know who is doing it I also know what’s being stolen. It’s pepperoni being swiped out of the third pepperoni freezer.” Scott paused so I could take it all in. “Supposedly it’s a hot item on the Lankville black market. These fools think since it’s from the third pepperoni freezer I wouldn’t notice. But you can’t trick me, I’M SCOTT.”

“Who is it?”

“One of the drivers, ‘Big’ Eddie Jones. Thursday’s prep line chief, Munny Joseph. And groundskeeper/dumpster cleaner, Danny ‘Elf Boy’ Finlay.”

My "mid-morning snack" pizza idea

My “mid-morning snack” pizza idea

Inside I was happy. These three in particular were bullies and have tried to make my employment here difficult. I knew Scott was going to make those jerks pay!!

“They’ve been kinda tricky so far Bri, with all three of them working different aspects of the operation I haven’t gotten the proof I need. That’s where you come in, I need for you to gain their trust quickly. Once you have it, you tell these idiots you can supply them with better quality pepperoni from the second pepperoni freezer.”

“What then?”

“Set up a time for you to drop off the goods at a location outside of the store. Once the pepperoni is in their hands I will have the legal Lankville right to do what I need to.”

At this point I was shaking all over. This type of thing wasn’t my cup of tea and I let Scott know it (mainly in a whining, pleading tone).

“I know Bri, but you’re the only one I can trust. Plus with you being on the Lankville Endangered Species list they might not hurt you too bad if caught. The thing we have going for us is that the three are extremely dumb. I think you will gain their trust in no time, the deal will sound so sweet to them that we can set up the bust. THEN I WILL HAVE THEM!” Scott flashed his “bad look” into the work area at the sound of “Big” Eddie Jones coming in for his shift.

It really didn’t take that long for me to gain the trust of these guys. After a few days of mostly embarrassing situations (best left unsaid for purposes of my pride– there were only a few times I lost my pants) they let me hang out with them on their “breaks”. I think they liked the idea of a fourth member they could kick around. Scott had given me the ok to steal a few things if they were watching me (though Scott did say he will take the cost of what I ‘stole’ out of my paycheck). That got them talking to me about their “operation”. After a few times I told them I had access to the second pepperoni freezer and could get them quality stuff. Their eyes widened.

“Why are you doing this?” Danny “Elf Boy” Finlay asked in an unusually nasal voice. “The word was getting around that you were in with Scott.”

From L to R- "Big" Eddie Jones, Munny Joseph, Danny "Elf Boy" Finlay

From L to R- “Big” Eddie Jones, Munny Joseph, Danny “Elf Boy” Finlay

“I was,” I replied while crawling on my hands and knees (they were making me crawl around on all fours acting like a dog by the dumpsters while they flicked their cigarette butts at me). “But that jerk has been treating me bad recently. I guess the whole part-man, part-bumpkin thing wore off quick.” Scott had actually started to treat me rough again just to give the illusion of some tension between us. I was yelled at, threatened with a gun a few times and even once had my head dunked in some oily dish water.

“The best way to get revenge is to get him where it hurts, in his pocketbook!” This gem came from Munny who seem to be the ringleader. “When do you think you can get that pepperoni for us?”

“Tomorrow-bark-bark-as a punishment Scott is making me do the pepperoni count in that freezer.”

“Well you better get us some choice cuts or else there will be hell to pay. And be slick about it, we have a pretty smooth operation going on here. That fool has no idea what we are up to.”

“No worries fellas, I know he doesn’t look at those reports very closely.”

“Good, once you are done with your shift and you have the stuff meet us at this address.” Munny threw a scrap piece of paper at me. “Now eat our cigarette butts like a good boy.”

They stood around and chuckled while I did that nasty deed. Little did they know Scott and I would have the last chuckle come tomorrow evening now that a time and place had been set up.

Please come back for part two where you will really learn the dark side of this pizza trade!! Until then keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas!

BRI

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