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

To Catch a Thief, Part Two: Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

So the bust was set up and ready to go. I had six delicious large pepperoni sticks (from the SECOND pepperoni freezer) tucked in a duffel bag to hand over to Munny Joseph, “Big ” Eddie Jones, and Danny “Elf Boy” Finlay. Scott informed me that if the pepperoni sticks were damaged in any way it would come out of my paycheck (just like the other things I “stole” to gain the trust of these pizza thugs). I told Scott this could possibly add up to me owing him money.

“Guess you will have to work on your days off to make up for it, that’s life Bri,” Scott said harshly. “Now, lift up your shirt.” We were in his office a few hours before the bust was scheduled to happen.

“But-but why?” I was always uncomfortable being undressed in front of the human species.

Scott pulled out an old style micro recorder and some duct tape. “Going to wrap this around you and record the whole conversation in case there is any question from Detective Gee-Temple afterwards.”

“You said you would be acting rightfully under Lankville law after I handed over the pepperoni?”

“Maybe-maybe,” Scott replied. “I sorta looked over some stuff at the courthouse and I’m still not really sure. I have a hard time focusing on words written in paragraphs. No one is going to blame to me though, this is choice pepperoni!!”

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 raised my arms while he taped the recorder around me. Not only was I going to be walking into a potentially dangerous situation I had no business being in, but now this tape was going to really really hurt when it was time for it to come off.

After squeezing back into my “Pizza-A-Round” shirt, I thought you could clearly see the micro recorder sticking out from my side.

“Just say you have a tumor, you gotta remember these three guys are really dumb even by pizza business standards.”

We went over the game plan yet again. I was supposed to meet Danny “Elf Boy” Finlay at his sleeping hole at 6:10. I had to hold off actually handing over the goods until all three were there. Scott didn’t want any of them getting away and not feeling his wrath. What was I supposed to say if I had to stall for time? Scott recommended things like small girl motel wrestling, glue sniffing, the Lankville drag racing scene, making out with girls. Stuff I knew NOTHING about!! (OK folks you did catch me in a minor lie, I am a fan of small girl motel wrestling). Scott said I was over-thinking the situation and told me not to worry.

“You wanna’ carry a piece with you, Bri?” he asked, as he removed a metal briefcase from beneath his desk.

I patently refused.

​The micro-recorder Scott savagely wrapped around me.

​The micro-recorder Scott savagely wrapped around me.

I left by the office “secret door” (which is just a slightly larger but very dirty air duct) and had nothing but worry on my mind. The few hours passed quickly and I was soon walking down some of the worst streets in Deep Southwestern Suburban Lankville towards Finlay’s sleeping hole. The only thing that made me feel safe was knowing Scott was in his car not too far behind with a full arsenal of weapons. Finlay’s address was hard to locate since the numbers on these “houses” were hard to read. Thinking I had finally found the correct place, I knocked on the rotten piece of wood which may have been a door and after a few deep breaths went inside. The interior was dark, it was evening and the idea of somebody actually paying for electricity for this dump seemed like a joke.

“Hello-hello?” I mumbled while stumbling around what I hoped was furniture and not bodies.

“Back here.” I could always recognize the nasally whine of Danny “Elf Boy” Finlay. I felt my way along a wall until I made my way into a “kitchen area” where Finlay sat at a table. The grey light of the evening was coming through an open (there was no glass) window.

He smiled his elvish smile while picking up a dirty beer bottle off the table and taking a swig. “Bring the goods?”

I nodded- lifting up the bag.

“Hand it over and let me see. I can tell by smelling the sticks if it’s from the second pepperoni freezer or not.” He somehow seemed impressed by this skill.

Danny "Elf Boy" Finlay's sleeping hole.

Danny “Elf Boy” Finlay’s sleeping hole.

I remembered what Scott said about stalling until the others were there so I tried my best. “So say Danny, have you ever- you know- had -like-relations with a woman-I mean a girl-I mean a honey? I-I have- don’t get me wrong–it’s just nice you know-laying down together–having a nice talk, stroking each other’s hair—what are your thoughts?” I think I did an okay job.

He took a slow swig from his dirty beer bottle. “Stalling for time Schropp? Was that part of the plan you and Scott came up with?”

Before I even had time to answer the back door was kicked open and in came “Big” Eddie Jones and Munny Joseph with Scott. They had Scott by one of his arms– I hadn’t seen such a shocked expression on my manager’s face before. “I’m sorry Bri, don’t know how they found out?!”

The three pizza thugs laughed. “You think we are idiots, Scott?” Munny said scowling at his manager. “But you’re the one who is the real clown. You think it’s been just us three in on this operation and it’s just pepperoni that’s being taken? Well there’s a fourth member, the real mastermind, who is giving us the low down on what to steal and when.”

Scott got the “Scott look” on his face. “Who?”

Eddie chuckled in his goofy voice. “Martha, the head phone lady! She even heard you guys planning this afternoon and gave us the heads up.”

It was my turn to be shocked. Martha the sassy but sweet lady who did her best to teach me the phones and was always smacking my butt. All the special times I had with her in my short time there, not only the yelling and screaming when I took a wrong order (which was a lot) but the laughs, the tender talks, the sometimes soft cuddling in the back of her car. How could she do this?!!

Picture of my manager Scott relaxing at home.

Picture of my manager Scott relaxing at home.

Scott wasted no time pulling away from the grips of Eddie and Munny and then punching their lights out with just one blow each! Danny’s elven like reflexes acted quickly and he flew up from the table and crawled under an area by the nearby rusted sink. Scott took a gun out from his waistband and quickly walked over and fired a few shots under the sink. He turned around and shook his head. “I think there is a whole tunnel system under the house, damn that kid is fast.”

I asked him what he was going to do with the two others. “I couldn’t give a damn about them right now Bri,” he said while reloading his gun. “There is only one person who is going to face my rage full force and she is working the closing shift right now!!”

If it was anybody else I wouldn’t of cared, but I placed a hand on Scott’s arm. “I know what she has done is inexcusable but please let me talk to her. I promise you will never see her again.”

Scott looked at me with full rage, I thought I was next for a punch. Then his look softened a little. “Alright you have until I figure out what to do with these two chumps over there. Once that’s done I’m heading back to the “Pizza-A-Round” and if she is there I swear to you Bri it’s not going to be a pretty sight.”

I didn’t have very much time and the shop was some distance away. I dropped the duffel bag of pepperoni sticks so it wouldn’t weigh me down and ran as fast as I could. By the time I got there I was in a slow jog and I was a sweaty mess. The phones were ringing off the hook since it was the late evening pizza rush. Martha made her usual fuss when I said I needed to speak with her but she could see by the look in my eyes that it was serious. I gently took her by the hand and led her out into the parking lot. I told Martha how the events of the evening unfolded and how the others ratted her out.

Martha, the real mastermind

Martha, the real mastermind

“You have to let me explain, I never meant for it to go this far. I needed extra money and—”

I put my hand up to her lips. “You don’t have time to explain, Scott will be on his way soon. You need to go and never show your face here again.”

“I never meant to hurt–”

“Me? You have. Not just because you put me in harm’s way of those pizza thugs but because you are not the woman I thought you were. The woman who found a warm place in my half-human half-bumpkin heart.”

“Can I–”

“Slap my butt one more time? No, we are beyond that.”

“Where am I supposed to go?”

“Don’t worry, there are thousands of pizza places in Lankville. I would suggest somewhere over the border into Southern Lankville. It will be rough going but you will make it. When you get your act cleaned up I only ask that you think of me fondly every once in awhile.” I wiped a small tear from her eye.

In the last rays of the evening light Martha walked out of the “Pizza-A-Round” parking lot with her head slumped down. Yes dear readers the pizza trade is a hard hard business indeed.

BRI

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