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The Rainbow Pizza Woes: Brian Schropp on Cuisine

November 3, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments
Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

I was running late for my job which always sends me into a panic. The paper had called wanting me to do this ‘Distant Island Foods Festival’ at some dusty, beaten-down, kinda creepy looking reception hall. I know very, very little about the cuisine from those far-fabled islands (expect certain fried foods) so I was shocked ‘The News’ wanted me there. My editor assured me the whole shebang would be an easy affair with the recipe for my food presentation already prepared for me. I honestly don’t remember too much about the event, I attempted some half-hearted speech before falling off stage and into the laps of the horrified guests and representatives from the islands (I was pretty ‘light headed’ from the diet my Mom had me on). After downing a case of some of the most AMAZING strawberry milk I have ever had, I was able to rebound slightly by making a somewhat respectable ‘Distant Island Spring Loaf’ (Brock Belvedere at least seemed to enjoy it).

Thinking I did my own acceptable ‘C+’ standard I was off on my push scooter hoping no one at ‘The Round’ would be that upset. Word had leaked of yet another interim manager starting soon and after the horror show which was Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins I didn’t want to make a wrong impression. Securing my scooter with a big heavy chain and gigantic padlock to a light pole in the strip mall, I hustled as quickly as possible inside to join the craziness which should have been the early afternoon rush. The silence which greeted me inside was overwhelming, even the lights were turned off. Had my work finally sank into the bottomless pit of bankruptcy without our real boss, Scott, there?

That’s when I heard the faint humming coming from the darkened prep area behind the phone counters. I crept slowly forward bracing myself for whatever lay in the darkness.

“Hello-hello?” I called out softly.

The Rainbow Pizza that made everyone sick.

The Rainbow Pizza that made everyone sick.

The humming stopped and in the glare of the store’s blinking unanswered phone lines, a woman’s face appeared. She was an older woman with some sort of patch or wads of newspaper covering one eye. In the glare of the phones she looked somewhat menacing. I was about to scream when she put a finger to her lips. “Shhhhh, please be very quiet, your fellow co-buddies are trying to sleep.”

She took me gently by the hand and escorted me past the phones to the prep area. And in an image which will never leave my mind, I found all my fellow ‘Pizza A-Round’ employees laying on mats taking a nap.

“Lay down and join them,” she whispered in my ear.

I looked over at all the phones (she must have turned off the ringers) which still flashed with all the holds and incoming calls. “But shouldn’t we be taking all these orders?”

She lightly patted my butt. “No Bri. If our customers want the most wonderful, magical, unicorn-dreamed, pizzas available, we must have all our co-buddies rested to create that wonder. I want you to join them and fill your nap with sweet pizzas flying over rainbows.” I had no idea what she was talking about but I liked how she was using the term ‘co-buddies’ which I had invented earlier this year.*

So I took a mat next to Chet Cameron who was secretly trying to smoke one of his foul- smelling cigarettes. “What’s going on here Chet?”

“This new interim manager has been treating us like little kids all day. Can you believe she is letting us take a nap and we’re getting paid for it?!!”

“Have we taken any orders today?”

“A few early on. We can only make this weird ‘Rainbow Pizza’ which uses all this food dye. I think customers are getting sick off it, we had a few complaints before the phones were shut down for nap time.”

​Our 'Make A Pizza Exercise'

​Our ‘Make A Pizza Exercise’

The interim manager (whose name is Ruth Van Palmolive Veeracut, I later learned) walked up and down the napping rows lightly humming a sweet tune while chanting a stream of consciousness song dealing with ‘pizzas’ and ‘rainbows’. A few folks started to wander into the store, most looking somewhat ill and complaining about the pizza they received.

“You are disturbing nap time!!” she told them in a voice that only a lady suffering from the deepest Hell of bipolarism could muster. With the snap of her fingers a big guy wearing a ‘Pizza A-Round’ shirt (too small for his bulk) came out of the office to throw these people to the curb. He then locked the front door. I think this dude might have been a former bodyguard for President Pondicherry.

The lights gradually started to come back on, very slowly, almost as if they came on too quickly our marvelous dreams would be forgotten. “Ok everyone, UP-UP-UP!! Before we begin selling rainbow pizzas again we are first going to do a little coloring exercise to stimulate the imagination.”

‘Big’ James in particular seemed excited when the box of crayons were brought out. We were each given a sheet of paper with a black and white picture of a pizza.

“Now, you must color in and make your own fantastical pizza. Only ones which are truly magical and filled with the innocent joy of the heart will be acceptable!”

Some of my ‘co-buddies’ gave a good effort, others just a lukewarm attempt. Myself, having no idea what this lady was talking about, just attempted to draw a nice looking pepperoni pizza while staying in the lines. After everybody was finished she carefully looked over each pizza and placed them in two piles. Then she placed everyone in two groups which corresponded with the piles. I, for some reason, was left out of both groups and made to stand in the middle.

She looked at ‘Group A’ which was to her left. “Your pictures were delightful!! So filled with the early promise of a Deep Northern Spring it sends my heart in a flutter. You truly have good in your heart!”

She turned to ‘Group B’. That stern almost evil voice returned. “I really don’t know what to say about you lot. Obviously life has corrupted you in some way making your heart a foul, wretched place. The Pizza A-Round no longer requires your services, you can get out.”

Current interim manager.

Current interim manager.

This group had the likes of Chet Cameron, Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ and even ‘Big’ James. The last was almost in tears saying he really did his best. The group’s protest was cut short when a certain snap of the fingers happened again making the big guy reappear. My fellow brothers in arms were quickly shown the door.

While the remaining ‘co-buddies’ scrambled to get the shop back running for the evening dinner rush, Ruth came up to me. “To tell you the truth Bri, I was going to put you with the ‘B Group’.” Much like ‘Big’ James I was stunned– after all, I had stayed inside the lines!! “You just slightly, ever so slightly, managed to stay out of that group but your uninspired picture is not ‘A Group’ material. So I have the perfect position for you here…” She raised her hands and in a giddy voice said, “you will get to amaze and delight all your fellow neighbors by wearing a huge rainbow pizza outfit I ordered!!”

Now readers I ask you, how is Ruth Van Palmolive Veeracut any better than Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins? Are rainbow pizzas, which will more than likely make people sick, the answer to the turn around for the Pizza A-Round? I will of course keep you updated. As always, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!!-Bri

_____________

*-Editor’s note: see Schropp’s article of 3/18/15.

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