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Posts Tagged ‘Pizza-A-Round’

Scott Answers Your Pizza Questions

June 1, 2016 Leave a comment
Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

What happens if a person who orders for pizza delivery takes the pizza and refuses to pay?
Lance Speaker
Lankville Pine Basin

Dear Lance,

First off, Lance, nobody has ever “taken” a pizza from me and refused to pay. The pizza remains firmly wedged between my left hand (my delivery hand) and my left flank until the dollars have been counted out to MY satisfaction. Nobody touches a Round pizza until that transaction is complete.

I’ve heard it said that some pizzerias will simply take the pizza back to the restaurant. At worst, they might make a notation in their computer system– mark the deadbeat as a “non-payer”, something like that.

But that ain’t not how we do it at the Round.

Secondly, you pull that shit with us, and that’ll be the last pizza you ever order in the Northern Suburbs. And I don’t just mean from the Round. I mean from anybody. I’ll personally see to that. Go ahead, Lance. Try me.

SCOTT

 

Is it ethical to order a delivery pizza when it’s raining?
Buck Igloos
Snowy Lake AreaBiKpwGoCcAAR-hz

Dear Buck,

You ever hear about that little creed that the Lankville post offices have got?  The one about delivering in the rain, sleet and snow?

Well, the Round goes one better.  We’ve delivered in rain, sleet and snow, sure.  But we’ve also delivered in tornadoes, dust storms, super squirrel infestations, trash blows and even hurricanes.

Frankly, I don’t know where the hell these questions are even coming from.

SCOTT

 

Why don’t more pizza places offer stuffed crust pizza?
Billy Choppy
Lankville Outlands

Dear Billy,

Now here’s something that I got an opinion on after 20 years in the business.

Look, stuffed crust seems like a breathtaking advancement, I know. But the thing is- it ruins the crust.  I view the crust as the oasis of a pizza, if you will.  It’s a little break after all that cheese and sauce.  It mixes it up.  Now, you put sauce and cheese inside the crust and what do you have? You got overkill, that’s what.

Plus, it’s a grade-A pain in the ass to make.  My guys at the Round ain’t no good at it– they don’t have the spatial thinking skills that are required.  Very few do.  I do but that’s rare, man.  As rare as a shimmering diamond popping out of the ass of some deep cave.  Stuffed crust don’t pay the bills, man.

SCOTT

 

Scott will continue to answer your pizza questions in further issues.

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OPINION: It’s Brian Schropp’s Birthday and Shit

February 14, 2016 Leave a comment
By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

There’s a lot of people already calling up, asking for heart-shaped pizzas. I guess it’s Valentine’s Day or some crap.

But I’m here to give you a better reason to pick up a Pizza A-Round pie.

It’s Brian Schropp’s birthday and shit.

That’s right. My main man turns, like 38 or 43 or whatever, today. And to celebrate– the Round is dropping a deal on you, Lankville. You order a Mid-Morning Breakfast Snack Pizza (available all-day, today ONLY), mention Brian’s birthday, and we’ll deliver it FOR FREE. Even though I gave Big Bri the day off today, I kept him here at the Round until about 4AM last night, prepping these bad boys. So, we got a shit-ton of ’em.

Call now.

And Happy Birthday, my man.

What Happens When Nobody Picks Up a Pizza?

January 31, 2016 Leave a comment
Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

When you order a pizza, you enter into a contract.

99% of the time, that contract is honored by both parties. The pizzeria makes the pizza, the customer picks up the pizza. Pretty elementary. Happens every day, millions and millions of times all across Lankville (and sometimes in the islands).

But every so often, that contract breaks down. That voice on the other end– the one that said they’d be “carrying out” that pizza. Well, let’s just say that they don’t hold up their end of the bargain. That pizza never gets picked up. It sits on a counter waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

What’s to be done?

There are two philosophies on this. The first is that– hey– the employees of the pizzeria get themselves a free meal. Maybe somebody gets to take it home. Maybe it gets thrown out your car window at a homeless person at the end of your shift.

But me– I’ve never taken that philosophy. That ain’t how we do it at the Round– let’s just say that.

First, let’s look at the information available to you about your deadbeat customer. You got a phone number. That’s essential. Maybe you got a name. That’s secondary. You got some idea of where they live. After all, there ain’t nobody that’s gonna’ drive more than 20 minutes for a pie.

Now, you might be thinking– what the hell can I do with such minimal information.

The answer is a lot. If you got the right tools.

At the Round, we subscribe to a database that allows one to access in-depth information on just about anyone, provided that you’ve got a phone number. In the past, I wouldn’t even have told you that we had that database but the thing is, the guy that sold it to us– he’s dead. Killed in a challenge. Matter of fact, he was challenged twice in one evening, the story goes. But that’s neither here nor there.

Back to the database. You got the number, now you just plug it in and BAM- you got yourself an address. Not only that– but you can break down the details on the house itself. We’re talking square footage, number of stories, semi-detached or single family, all that shit.

And now it’s just a matter of making a plan. What will be your approach? Some people go straight for the front door– couple of loud fist knocks and a demand for payment. Me? I go for a side window and a knife in my mouth. I hold up the pizza. “WHAT ABOUT THIS, ASSHOLE?” I usually yell. Oh, it scares the living hell out of them.

Every place may have a slight variation on this technique. You can’t argue with the pie graphs that my boy Bri made up though. We get payment from 9 out of 10 deadbeats.

We ain’t no lightweights.

A Christmas Story by Brian Schropp

December 17, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

I was lost in a mist of nacho cheese floating down a pizza sauce river to nowhere. Was I back on the raft? The hideous laughter of the Floating Pizza Baby Slice boomed around me. I curled further into my defensive ball position putting my hands over my ears. Was I having a nightmare or was this reality? I had a hard time telling the difference of late.

“Did you really think you could defeat me?” it said in its own horrific baby ga- ga voice. “I will always be here to bring about your downfall!! Take a peek through the mist Bri, you will see what I mean!”Schropp Logo

Do I really succumb to his madness? Even if you had the will of a thousand Scott’s, sometimes in a nightmare you have no choice. Opening my eye just a fraction I saw them. Just visible through the cheese on either side of the river were row upon row of giant dancing pizza purses, moving in unison like in some twisted animation movie. The pizza purses have been the bane of my existence and anyone who works at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’s’ existence for some time now. Seeing how we were late to jump on the ball, business has been in a downward spiral especially with us only being open now on Fridays 4-9 PM, Saturdays 11-6 PM, and Sundays 2-2:30 PM. We are on the verge of bankruptcy!!

Real or imagined, the baby pizza slice still haunts me.

Real or imagined, the baby pizza slice still haunts me.

This, of course, has sent me into a personal spiral of self-doubt and depression since Scott had put the pressure on me to find a solution to the pizza purse matter. I had rarely failed him or the company before but since our epic struggle last month with the Floating Baby Pizza Slice I haven’t been the same man. The nightmares are getting more frequent and more intense. Things have gotten so bad that my parents have hired Dr. Nickelbee (my whacked-out therapist and failed presidential candidate under the Green Sanity Party) as my ‘live-in roommate’ in my basement apartment. Needless to say this action isn’t helping matters and that mess is whole other article.

I tried to tighten myself further into my defensive ball, trying to stop the laughter, trying to stop the visions of the dancing pizza purses, trying to stop the hurt and pain!! It was all too much– even if this was a nightmare, this twisted pizza river was carrying me to end of the line. All hope was lost. Or was it?

I felt it before anything, a little light inside telling me they were near. Then the music (always so sweet) peaking again. I was the hurricane, small at first, then becoming bigger, whirling through the nacho cheese mist. From out of this wondrous spinning ray of hope came the bumpkins. They were not in their trailer but instead on what appeared to be some badly constructed cardboard contraption which vaguely looked like a sleigh. Either small dogs or large rats were pulling them along. Some of then wore jingly bell collars.

The Floating Baby Pizza Slice ga-gaed in anger and raced up to the approaching group. It was like a cosmic game of chicken with neither side backing down from the challenge. And then, both sides collided at full force. I had seen this happen one time before and yet again there was the blinding flash which obscured my vision for a moment. When I was able to get my wits about me I was still on the raft but it had stopped floating. The purses and nacho mist were gone as well. Somehow the cardboard was now in front of me just a few feet away. It was so close I could see even see the white glittering teeth of those rat/dog things. A bumpkin got off the back of the ‘sleigh’ moving towards my huddled, quivering body. To my delight and amazement this bumpkin was the same ‘elf bumpkin’ I saw from a year ago (please see my exciting Xmas story of the previous years for details). And yes readers you need not worry, he was still dressed the same. Now by my side, he knelt down and in his light sweet voice whispered something in my ear. It was so faint I could hardly hear it—-

​Every man, woman and child seems to have a pizza purse these days.

​Every man, woman and child seems to have a pizza purse these days.

That’s when I woke up, almost hitting my head on the top part of my new bunk bed. In my sweat-drenched panic, I replayed this new dream in my mind. All the horror, seeming like it was the end, then the bumpkins—-what had the elf one said? At first I felt like it was totally lost, then again lightly and sweetly he whispered through my mind. It was the solution to this whole pizza purse problem. An idea so simple it was staring me in the face the whole damn time!!

I quickly got out of bed; I had to find Scott and fast. I knew this wasn’t going to be any easy feat, he was taking our woes very hard as well. Dr. Nickelbee heard me getting ready and hopped down from the top bunk. He wanted to have a ‘jammy time session’ to talk about my dream but I had to push him aside, there was no time for that foolishness. At the break of dawn I was on my scooter looking for Scott.

I found him in a back back alley in Downtown Lankville. After tossing the trash bags aside and the few loose women off him, I sat him up on a wooden crate to try and sober him up. I tried to relay my dream to him but he didn’t want to hear about it. “Can’t you see I’m living a nightmare of my own, Bri!!” he said through his whiskey breath with a crazy look in his eyes.

Pizza Pouches!!! Hoping this will be the 'next big thing'.

Pizza Pouches!!! Hoping this will be the ‘next big thing’.

“But it’s okay Scott, the answer has finally come. We don’t need to make edible pizza purses, we just need to make portable pizza pouches!! Dudes-and most butch women-don’t want to carry purses anyways. And if we make clear that people can show off the best looking slice they got! Well…”

I saw a gleam in his eye.

Getting him sober enough (which is about the best you can do anyways), we were at the Lankville Patent Office first thing when they opened. Well that was a few days ago and let me tell you things are already turning for the good. The first few test pouches are looking great and there is a new hot buzz going around about them!! This weekend will be the first big marker but we have high hopes. We are even going to set up a stall by the downtown Lankville cinema to hop on the hottest movie premiere of the year- ‘Star Battles In the Stars: Episode 27’. Even Big James is coming up with plans for a ‘nacho cheese pouch’ which will probably be him just taking the already existing pouch and just filling it with nacho cheese.

Well anyways, that is my slightly early Xmas time miracle this year. I hope you and yours find some of the same bumpkin magic this season!! As always, please keep your minds and mouths open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!-Bri

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

December 3, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp returns this week after a harrowing series of adventures.

“For Christ’s sake Brian! You gotta have something up your sleeve, it’s now or never!!” I could tell Scott was reaching his boiling point. What was I do to? Did he really think I could just summon my brilliant ideas on a whim? I sat in the slightly broken office chair like many times before, swiveling back and forth with all my might trying to shake the ideas out.Schropp Logo

Even with being on the verge of Scott’s mighty wrath it was good to have him back managing ‘The Round’. I should be telling you the awesome story of Scott finally defeating Lizzie Starlight and The Floating Baby Pizza Cult. It’s an epic tale indeed, sweeping up not only Scott’s sister but also yours truly in the hunt for this ultimate evil (hence why you haven’t seen any articles for a few weeks). This tale took us all over the map- the back roads of Western Lankville, the deepest darkest parts of Highway 71, on a makeshift raft to the mysterious Lankville Islands, and finally to a place that wasn’t even our own, another plane of existence so to speak. It was here, in this frightening world, that the fight with the hideous Floating Pizza Baby came to it’s climatic conclusion. All three of us were pushed to our physical and mental limit during this trial with each losing a bit of our sanity yet learning a little more about life. Yes, it’s a tale worth telling but alas since we have been back a greater, more pressing issue has arisen. Something so great it has taken the pizza industry and flipped it upside down. The issue is, of course, the newest craze. Pizza purses.

My manager, Scott. When was he coming back?

It’s great to have Scott back!

Since being gone this new found fad has swept all of Lankville like none before it. Everyone who is anyone (men included!!) wouldn’t be caught dead without toting one of these cheesy creations around. Not that I need to explain this but in case you are living in some remote area, where maybe the lunch meat wallet is still ‘the in thing’, let me explain- the pizza purse is an edible handbag (coming in all shapes and sizes) which you carry around during the day much like a normal purse. The difference is, of course, once you are through with your day, you empty it and then have a delicious dinner all ready for you. There hasn’t been any time for me to do any research about who started this trend since I have been busy trying to get ‘The Pizza A-Round’ on board with this. Believe you me, if you are a seller of pizza in Lankville (and there are hundreds just in the Northern Suburbs alone) nobody is calling for the standard fair. Even our personal ‘cutting edge ideas’ like ‘The Mid-Morning Snack Pizza’ and ‘The Pizza Eggwich’ are rarely spoken of. ‘The Round’, through lack of leadership, has really dropped the ball and now looks somewhat behind the times. The only person who even attempted to keep up, ‘Big’ James, went out and bought cheap dollar store handbags and filled them with nacho cheese. Hardly a suitable alternative. ‘The Nacho Cheese Sack’ just didn’t take off and made us look even more foolish.

​Delightful pizza purses!!!

​Delightful pizza purses!!!

So here I was with Scott trying to pick up the pieces. He took my sauce-stained piece of scrap paper (I had been jotting down ideas in a desperate hope of finding something in these scribbles and doodles). After ripping it in half I braced myself for what would be my very first ‘Scott punch’. Instead he just sat down in his nice office chair and sighed deeply.

“I know we’ve been through a lot recently. Neither of us are at 100%, especially you Bri, after those cult members kidnapped you and did all that brainwashing stuff. I remember holding you like a baby on that makeshift raft as we made our escape to the Lankville Islands. The nightmares and mental anguish you endured– well, they…are…are still enduring!! I know it’s hard but I need you to dig deep and come up with something. Maybe we are thinking too much out of the box, let’s just start with a simple pizza purse design and take it from there. Yeah, it might turn into an all night session but what choice do we got?”

My failed attempt at making 'The Round's' first pizza purse

My failed attempt at making ‘The Round’s’ first pizza purse

Scott was right, I was nowhere near the same tender if somewhat ‘kooky’ guy I was a few weeks ago. If I hear a baby giggle while walking down the street my mind instantly fills with dread followed by horrific visions of the Floating Baby Pizza Slice. I knew it was gut check time, I had to put all of that behind and get down to what I do best– crafting the most innovative, cutting edge, culinary ideas this place has ever seen.

‘The Round’ was closed for the night so we had no one to interrupt us. I threw myself completely into the zone, only hearing Scott’s voice as a whisper encouraging me on. I was taking his advice and keeping it simple. Just starting out with a simple pizza purse idea, nothing more. Like any good jazz improviser would tell you, get the basics down and work magic from there. Not putting too much thought into it, I was letting my creative mind guide my hands to make it happen. I was feeling good, like many of our other ‘late night sessions’ before I sensed a possible breakthrough. Sadly, after taking my result from the pizza oven the cold winds of reality hit me right smack in the face. Maybe I wasn’t the man I was before. Scott laid his head down on the counter and started to sob.

I will keep you informed readers of what we will do to try and compete in this new high stakes pizza purse industry. Until next time, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating- Bri

The Rainbow Pizza Woes: Brian Schropp on Cuisine

November 3, 2015 Leave a comment
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.

SPECIAL REPORT: Pizza Man Disappears

October 22, 2015 Leave a comment
By Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp, Special Pizza Correspondent

So, it was a very early day for me at the Pizza A-Round, I had to be there at the crack of dawn to give the signboard a good wash. “Going to be walking up and down Fairland Road all day mister,” Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins had said to me the previous night. He chuckled faintly. “Going to work that chub off you once and for all.” He thought that remark was somewhat hilarious and looked to the local jocks from the high school (he just recently hired them) for approval. “Alright boys, throw him in the dumpster. His shift is over anyways.” NOW THAT WAS UNCALLED FOR!!! I pulled myself from the trash and did the slow walk home stressing over the next morning.

​Davis 'Bud' Huggins- where did he go?

​Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins- where did he go?

The dawn came calling far too soon, the alarm clock buzzing portending the doom and gloom that awaited me. My Mom was concerned about all the breakfast sandwiches I was eating, “you just had a plate full last night, you can’t be eating those all the time. Plus the ‘Shop ‘N’ Bulk’ stopped carrying those huge plastic containers of strawberry milk. I think it’s time you cut back on those too.” Didn’t she understand how stressed I was over all these changes at work? She countered that being an adult was to handle these types of work situations in a mature fashion unlike the time I had the major meltdown under the main display table at ‘Pete’s Slacks Emporium’ (a job I had a LONG time ago). I told her this was much different citing me winding up in a dumpster as an example. My dad looked up from his ‘Word Jumble’ and motioned to the baseball bat by the front door. “Son. Don’t take that crap from them, take that bat with you and set them straight.” I know my dad wants me to stick up for myself more but didn’t he understand my sweet and tender nature? My mom of course thought I was ‘over- exaggerating’, she didn’t think someone as wholesome and good-looking as ‘The Bud’ would do such a thing. If she only really knew!!

OK-OK, I know, dear readers I’m getting side-tracked, you guys want the juicy details of the main story. Anyway, I was on my push scooter trying to get my head around working a full godawful day. When I turned the corner by Lorain and Fairland Road I saw all the police cars at the Pizza A-Round. I pushed harder on my scooter cutting through traffic to glide right in under all the yellow police tape wrapped around the parking lot. Inside I found a bunch of officers at the front counter shooting the shit while drinking coffee from small styrofoam cups. Calls were already coming in early for orders, the cops were picking up the phones and pretending to take them as a joke. They didn’t seem to care that I was there so I went past them and found Detective Gee Temple by the main prep station. He was absently turning a ladle around in a pizza sauce can.

“Hey there Bri, might be having a short work shift today. “Seems like your boss (here, Gee-Temple removed a piece of paper from his pocket to make sure he got the name right) Davis Huggins is gone.”

My mouth dropped open and mouthed the last word he said.

“Yup, a co-worker came in earlier this morning to find the place had not been locked up. Lights on, pizza ovens still running with pizzas on the floor, you get the picture. The back door was left wide open as well, Mr. Huggins’s big obnoxious pickup truck is back there, just no him. Footprints which I believe are his go right into the woods. So yeah, looks like he is gone.” Gee Temple waved an arm in the air like he was revealing some invisible stairs Davis Huggins had stepped onto.

We stood starring at each other for a moment without saying anything. “So Bri, Lloyd Byas-Kirk is already out back. Let’s check to see what he has to say.”

Detective Gee-Temple

Detective Gee-Temple

Walking by even more policemen with tiny styrofoam cups we passed the cleaning sinks to the back parking lot. Huggins’s big obnoxious truck (with bull horns on the grill) stayed silent giving no statement on the events it had witnessed last night. Lloyd Byas-Kirk was by the dumpsters, he seemed enthralled by the poking of a dead rat with a stick.

“Hey there Lloyd, what do you make of all of this?” Gee-Temple asked.

Lloyd looked up with a slight vacant look in his eyes and then pointed the stick (which now had blood and guts from the rat on the tip) towards the woods. “Well the footprints match someone of his weight and height. Had to be him, just walked off in the middle of the night.”

“Think he coulda’ been blown into the woods and destroyed like that Nixon fella?” Gee-Temple asked excitedly.

“Nah, just walked off,” Byas-Kirk replied. Gee-Temple seemed disappointed.

​”Yup, just walked off,” the detective finally agreed. “Was just telling Bri here all about that. The co-worker also showed me what Mr. Huggins wanted posted on the social media site last night. Just snapped under the pressure and walked off—-gone.” He waved his arm in the air again.

Lloyd turned to me. “Didn’t you say once those woods lead up to the hill country?”

I nodded– hadn’t my fellow reporter read the articles I did earlier this year about my adventures in the Northern Hill Country?

Gee-Temple shook his head. “Well, if that’s the case and he makes it all the way up there then Mr. Huggins is a goner for sure.”

Lloyd went back to poking the rat.

A few hours later all the police hubbub died down and the yellow tape was removed from the parking lot. “Are you going to try and open?” the detective asked while both of us watched the phones ringing off the hook. A very ragtag crew had showed up, it wasn’t ‘The A Crew”, that was for sure. I decided it was worth a shot, I would put on my best Scott impersonation and give it a go. Well, my readers, let me just tell you, it was hell, chaos ruled the next few hours. I can’t remember everything– much like a soldier in the heat of some terrible battle the memories all blur together. I just remember we didn’t get much right, in fact maybe not a single order. There was a lot of screaming, lots of yelling, tears and then some more.

By early afternoon something quite magical happened. With the news of Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins departure, the ‘old crew’ started to come back in like they were never fired!! ‘Big’ James, Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ and finally by four, Chet Cameron!! With the ‘Master of the Prep Line’ at the helm the orders finally started coming together and going out right!! By late evening word had gotten down to us from the owners that a new interim manager would be coming in the near future. But when? How would this new person be? When would Scott be back?

I will continue to keep you updated!! Until next time, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!- Bri

Meeting Scott’s Family: A Very Special Brian Schropp

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Schropp Logo

By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

The note came to me during a hellish mid-morning rush at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’.

Truthfully, all times have been quite hellish since Scott (my manager) has been away. He initially got wrapped up in the glam and glitz of community theater with his lover ‘Lizzie Starlight’ (not her real name, actually BALD!!). And now Scott is out seeking revenge upon her once it was revealed that ‘Lizzie’ is really a High Priestess of a whacked out pizza sect who tricked Scott into doing some of her evil dark cultish bidding.

No one at ‘The Round’ had heard from him since and it showed- the place was almost at its breaking point, teetering on full-blown anarchy. Rumors were running wild along the prep line that the owner was going to be bringing someone new in soon but who knew when that would be or what would Scott think when he got back?

I didn’t see who dropped off the message (one of the phone staff brought it back to me). I was too busy trying to help Big James clean up his nacho cheese station. Without the stern hand of Scott lording over him, he had really let it go and weeks worth of nacho cheese were encrusted on his work table. The Health Department (making a surprise visit) were giving us two hours to clean up the mess (along with a million other areas) so I was taking an industrial-size sander to it.

The note itself was just a folded piece of paper which either had blood or pizza sauce on it. Pulling up my goggles (safety first!!!) I took a look-

Bri- Need a big favor. Word has gotten to me that some ‘major shit’ is going down on the homestead. It was my Mom’s birthday a few days ago and for some reason, Dad hid her cake. This will not stand. I want you to go over, assess the situation, and find that cake. Be back soon-Scott

At the bottom were vague instructions on how to get to his house.

I was at a crossroads on what I should do. I didn’t feel right leaving “the Round” on the verge of possible permanent closure yet Scott wouldn’t have sent the note if it wasn’t urgent. I was going to ask Chet Cameron (who fancied himself ‘the big dude on campus’) but he was up to his eyelids getting pizza after pizza out of the oven. So I went to Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ who was crisping up the chicken delights for a ‘Mid Morning Snack Pizza’.

My manager, Scott. When was he coming back?

My manager, Scott. When was he coming back?

“Well Bri, Scott still is technically in charge so you would just be following orders. Anyway, this place is so crazy right now with the health department here that no one will notice you were gone. Just look over there, Big James has been snoring in that corner for hours without one fool giving a second look.”

So, taking Charlie’s advice, I crept out the back, unchained my push scooter and headed towards Deep Eastern Suburban Lankville. I never understood why people called this area ‘suburban’. Sure, there are houses (mainly trailer homes) scattered around but it’s mainly large rocky hillsides with a low-lying swamp region. It was taking all my strength to push my sleek scooter up the winding roadways (I had also been using an industrial sander not that long ago) and then the sudden mind-numbing descents marred by the semi-poisonous smell of  ‘swamp gas’.

Up and down, up and down. I lost all sense of direction which really didn’t matter because Scott’s directions were so vague in the first place!! Not to mention all the natives in their huge trucks or rusted out cars flying around the corners almost knocking me off the roadway. The madness finally came to a head when one guy in his truck pulled over after almost hitting me. I didn’t really notice him (or his loud cussing) I was too busy in my haze muttering to myself, slowly pushing the scooter up the steep embankment. The next thing I knew I was flying off the hill with my scooter (broken in two) not far behind. The sweet hand of fate must have been looking out for me. I bounced off an Eastern Pine with minimal impact and landed in a heavy bed of pine cones that cushioned my fall. I rolled down the rest of the way. The big tumble shook me out of my fog and I dusted myself off while taking a look around.

Scott's grandmother

Scott’s grandmother

Before me was a group of trailer homes, three of them to be exact, in the classic Eastern ‘F’ formation. My heart beamed when I saw by the mailbox a spray-painted cardboard sign which read ‘Scott’s Domain’. I knew Scott was a popular name for the area plus it was known in these parts that last names weren’t used but hopefully I had just hit lighting in a bottle. I realized this was the correct port of call when a little further down the driveway there was another spray-painted sign which read, “I AM SCOTT”. Rubbing my hands together I thought, “let’s get down to this cake business.”

Approaching the first  trailer (which made the back of the classic ‘F’ shape) I was greeted by an older lady pointing a gun at me. This turned out to be Scott’s Grandmother.

“You better start talkin’ quick, why you’re steppin’ on Scott’s Domain.”

I waved the note in the air. “Hello!! Scott sent me here to help you guys.”

She aimed the gun and shot the note right out of my hand, it was quite a feat of marksmanship! “A lot of folks named Scott in these parts. A lot of folks bring notes too.”

“He-he said in that note that his Dad hid a birthday cake. I’m pretty sure I have the right place, I saw a spray-painted sign back there with ‘I AM SCOTT’, he yells that all the time.”

“Well, that is my grandson’s ‘calling yell.”  She eyed me up and down more carefully. “We did get a note from Scott saying he was sending some sort of simpleton who worked for him.”

“I bet he couldn’t reach that person so he got me instead.”

She eyed a pile of trash bags that were near me. “Scott said the person would know what to do with them sacks.”

Scott must have forgotten to include this detail in his note but I knew what to do anyway. I took off my clothes and made a trash bag poncho out of one.

“And the dance? The note also spoke of a dance.”

Again, not referenced on my side. I could only think of one thing, the popular ‘Pizza Whip’ dance which Scott would make employees do for a chuckle. So I gave it my best shot (so I wouldn’t be) flinging my arms and hips in that nutty rhythmic motion.

After a full minute she chuckled and told me to stop my gyrating . “Scott sent us no note, haven’t heard from that little shit since this damn pizza cult business. I guess any fool who goes through these lengths musta’ been sent here. Come inside and mind the waterworks.” I decided to leave the trash bag poncho on.

Inside their ‘living area’ there was a younger woman (Scott’s Sister) trying to comfort a middle-aged lady (Scott’s Mom) who had her head down on the kitchen table crying uncontrollably. The sister looked up at me and asked, “Who is this freak and why is he wearing a trash bag?”

“Says Scott sent him on down to talk with Daddy about the birthday cake.” The mention of the cake sent Scott’s Mom into a harder crying fit.

Scott’s Sister took a swig from a bottle she was holding before talking. “Oh yeah, I meant to say Scott sent a letter about him.” She nodded over to a messy area which had a few chairs and a TV showing a scrambled talk show, “Said if it was really him he would know what to with that outfit.”

I walked over and saw a pink dress haphazardly thrown over one of the chairs. I looked at some of the other dirty clothes laying about in hopes that it could possibly be another garment. “Nope said it was the dress.” Could Scott’s sister read minds?  Why didn’t he mention this in the note!!  I quickly took off the trash bag and got into the dress, then giving myself a nice spin around. I thought the pink ensemble actually fit my form quite well!

Scott’s Mother looked up through the tears. “And the make up, the letter also said make up—“. I had no idea how to apply any sort of cosmetics so with the unsteady hand of Scott’s Sister (I could smell whiskey on her breath) the bright blues and deep pinks were applied.

When all was said and done I stepped back for the three ladies to see. “Well–isn’t this proof enough?!!”

Scott's sister

Scott’s sister

There was brief silence. The silence was followed by hysterical laughing. Even Scott’s Mom who moments before was on the verge of a breakdown couldn’t control herself. After many, many minutes of laughter, things finally calmed down. Scott’s Grandmother led me over to the kitchen table and told me to have a seat. She got a glass of strawberry milk out of the fridge for me. “Start drinking this and we will tell you what’s really going on.” Scott’s Sister walked over and started to pour the contents of her bottle into my glass causing it to spill over. “You’re going to need this breakfast sandwich boy.”

Scott’s Grandmother spoke again. ” Now let’s quit all of the joking around, yes Brian, we knew you were coming. The situation with the birthday cake is all too real. Daddy has hidden it and won’t tell us where or why. We got him tied up in another trailer, no easy feat, still won’t give us any clue. He’s hysterical, ranting and raving like a mad man. At first we thought it was just a bender but the man has been sober for a few days now.”

Scott’s Mom, who was in good spirits, turned sour again placing her head on the table. “I just want my cake!!”

I was looking at my make-up job in the reflection of my strawberry milk glass. “Why the dress and the make up?”

“Well Bri, Scott’s sister has been staying in touch with Scott throughout his ‘pizza cult ordeal’. They have always been close, a little too close sometimes if you ask me. Anyways, since Scott couldn’t come back he came up with this crazy scheme. He said he always thought that in a dress and make up, you Brian would look exactly like Daddy’s long dead sister which in fact you really do!”

Scott’s Grandmother took out a picture and showed me-she was quite right!!

“It’s a long shot but we’re hoping if you go in and pretend to be the long lost spirit of his sister you will be able to get the whereabouts of the cake. A very risky plan though, if Daddy catches on even with his hands tied he will attack like a savage dog. We had to somehow get you in the dress and make-up in case you said no.”

“What about the trash bag?”

“Scott said you would fall for anything. That was me just having a bit of fun–”

Scott’s Mom looked up from the table again, a sobbing mess. “You gotta help me get my birthday cake!!”

What choice did I have now? Could I pull off playing the part of Daddy’s dead sister? Find out next article dear readers. Happy Eating!!-Brian

Notes from the Stage Floor Part II

September 2, 2015 Leave a comment
By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

BRIAN SCHROPP ON CUISINE

The opening weekend for my reworked stage play ‘Eggs And Bacon On The Prairie’ went fairly well with most of the showtimes selling at least three or four of the really good fluffy seats. Unfortunately, the Chairman of the Pondicherry Performance Center didn’t think it would be enough to help save ‘this goddamn wreck of a sinking ship’. In my heart I wanted to try and do my best to save the flailing center; the vending machines were quite special here and I doubt I would find their quality anywhere else.

“The script needs to be worked on even more,” he suggested. “You can’t have that same debacle next weekend or else you’re really up shit creek. The positive feedback we’re getting from the folks who happen to wander in here and we somehow convince to buy a ticket comes down to two main points- the breakfast sandwiches and the spanking. You need to keep those in and keep them strong. I want the audience’s mouths to be watering with the thought of breakfast sandwiches and the feeling in their own butts sore. Also, for me personally, could you keep in those darn rascally dream creatures? They are so delightful!!” He said the last part in a high pitch creepy sort of way which made me uncomfortable down to my soul.

​Lizzie Starlight, did not share my vision.

​Lizzie Starlight

So it turned into another long night for myself and my co-creator Lizzie Starlight trying to make a new story work. We both knew we had the fundamentals of a tale that needed to be told– the trick was finding how to make the audience not only ‘get it’ but also to ‘FEEL IT.’ By the early hours of the morning in the haze of cigarette smoke from Lizzie and the piled up pork rind bags from me, we had the new play down. The main character of Zachariah was eliminated completely and replaced with a half-man half- buffalo character named ‘Ektar’ (human name) or ‘Running Cheese’ (his buffalo name). His story was one of a outcast from two different worlds (the human and the buffalo) that fought against each other. He wanted to bring peace to these warring factions by way of these marvelous food creations his ‘dream spirits’ would bring him. I was really happy with the dream sequences– they really showed the basics for making a good breakfast sandwich, almost like a cooking show. Two songs in particular- ‘B.E.C.TB Find Out What It Means To Me’ and ‘The Wild Buffalo Wings Song’ were both included and ALL the lyrics were written by me. B.E.C.TB of course stands for the standard bacon, egg, cheese, tender biscuit ratio used when critically looking at any breakfast sandwich. The buffalo wings song is at the beginning of the play and is more of a dark piece which tells of humans killing a buffalo to make the wings. I feel this somber number really helps highlight the war between the two.

The actor playing 'Ektar' (Running Cheese)

The actor playing ‘Ektar’ (Running Cheese)

So, with very little sleep to be had the next day was another long affair, new sets needed to be made and a quick casting call went out to find our new lead. Lizzie put herself in charge of getting the right actor for this critical part by putting all the young aspiring community stage actors through some tough spots. I put myself in charge of finding the vending machine company’s number to try and see if they could put some type of strawberry milk option replacing the diet cola that no one seemed to buy.

It seemed almost in a blink of an eye that the play in its new form was coming together. I give full credit to Lizzie Starlight and her directional talents. By mid- week the actor who was playing ‘Ektar’ was shining and inspiring the other actors either playing human or buffalo to get into their parts. Songs with newly-added dance routines were being learned under new, somewhat crudely built sets. I was sitting back in the second row of fluffy seats sipping on a strawberry milk wondering how anything could go wrong now.

Of course once that thought is put into the universe it has no choice but to come true.

“Bri, Bri? Where the hell are ya’?”

I recognized the voice of Scott, my manger at the Pizza-A-Round, immediately. Feeling like I was somehow slacking off on a shift, I dropped my strawberry milk over my shirt before stumbling down the theater seating trying to get out as quick as possible.

Picture of my manager Scott relaxing at home.

Picture of my manager Scott relaxing at home.

“Christ Bri, what the fuck? You keeping calling out of work for this shit?” I was doing my best to straddle both my work on the play and my pizza job, trying to keep both sides happy. But I knew with the troubles here that the scales had tipped dramatically to one side. I also knew Scott wouldn’t understand anything about this and could turn the situation into total chaos. I tried my best to gently nudge him outside but he was in full ‘Scott Mode’ He wanted to make the production pay for taking such a valuable employee away. He moved around the set taking swigs from his flask pushing down stagehands and threatening to urinate on a few of the set pieces. At one point he even grabbed ‘Ektar’ and started to make fun of him– reducing the poor young stage actor to tears.

At this point Lizzie Starlight came back in (she was taking a small break to ‘re-fro’ her hair) and that was when the shit really hit the fan. Like two bulls they clashed in the center of the stage with all the actors and stagehands running for cover. Foreheads touching each other, yelling at the top of their lungs– I couldn’t let this go on for much longer, not only did I fear Scott brandishing some sort of firearm, I also knew Lizzie was a tough cookie who might swing a punch.

I somehow got Scott to calm down and with the promise of some pork rinds got him to sit down in a fluffy seat. I asked him to watch a run through of the play, keeping an open mind. If he didn’t like what he saw then he could destroy whatever he wanted to on the stage. This was also a good practice for the cast– putting their necks on the line with their performance. Much to my surprise I found that once settled and with the lights turned down, Scott really got into it!! The buffalo wings song hooked him right away, leading into the violence between the humans and the buffaloes. What astonished me even more were the gushes and chuckles with Ektar’s interactions with the dream creatures. I’m not sure that the entire the play moved him so much (I heard Scott snoring from time to time) but there were no aggressive movements so that was a good sign.

When the play ended and the lights came back on, Scott slowly got up from his seat. A glazed, almost child-like look was in his eyes. He slowly wandered up on stage and gently took the startled Lizzie by the shoulders.

“Your vision, it’s–so–so–wonderful!”

Then to everyone’s delight/horror Scott and Lizzie started to kiss passionately. We thought it would be over in a few minutes but those minutes turned almost into a full hour. Things got even more awkward when they went behind the sets to really get it on. There was no holding back their primal screaming and thrusting which echoed in the theater. A few of the stagehands started vomiting, I went off for more strawberry milk.

The floating baby pizza slice at the end

The floating baby pizza slice at the end

You would think Scott accepting the play (and Lizzie) would be a good thing, well dear readers it turned out to be the exact opposite. The two became inseparable not only getting it on loudly whenever they could but with Scott ultimately adding his ‘vision’ for the play. The two quickly started to rework the script adding in scenes where ‘Ektar’ goes to a pizza place in the future (our time) and meets a studly manager who bestows his wisdom and knowledge of the pizza trade. A long list of pizza items are added to the final feast which brings the groups together and cuts back heavily on the breakfast sandwiches. Also a lot of the human spanking needed to be cut to save on time. Who wants to see just a spanking or two? And to top it all off there is now this weird trippy ending (with a full laser show) where a baby pizza slice comes floating out and rambles to the paying audience how the universe is just a giant metaphysical pizza or something along those lines.

I try to remain optimistic that the changes in the play are for the good. Maybe folks who have a stronger passion for modern day pizza dream sequences can get something out of it. I have decided to keep my name in it since a few of my ideas are still in there. The renamed play ‘Ektar- Pizza Champion’ will be showing at the Pondicherry Performance Center Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:30, Saturday afternoon at 3PM, and Sunday evening at 5PM. Fluffy and rusted gym seats still the same price as last weekend. Until next time, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!-Bri

Gump Penetrates

August 13, 2015 Leave a comment
Gump Tibbs

Gump Tibbs

It’s time for another penetrating interview with Gump Tibbs. Today, Gump interviews Scott, Pizza-A-Round manager and author of the bestselling “The Pizza Trade”.

GUMP: So, Scott, you have that little area in the paper where they talked about your new book?

S: Yeah man, that goofy employee of mine who writes about food and all that shit is helping me get the word out. He put out his own book recently which was a hit. I thought if someone that awkward with so little real life experience can make it work so could I. Three honest to fuckin’ God true stories, ‘The Trade’,’The Love’,and ‘The Passion’. Aren’t those titles like some damn poetry or somethin’?

GUMP: What a wonderful thing! Do you often write books?

S: Not so much writing, I just talk about my life and the business while Bri records it on one of those micro tape things. He then goes home and writes it all up on some fuckin’ computer program. Me, I ain’t got time to write it all down and shit. Bri really doesn’t mind doing the work and really loves it when I talk about the old days of the pizza trade. I think he likes to live through me in the stories. Sorta like how a poodle sees an alpha male wolf and thinks ‘shit man, I really want to be like that.’

GUMP: Such a pleasure! Is it hard to write books?

S: No way man, once the drink starts flowing and I’m in the backseat of my Neptune with some sweet trailer honey, everything I’m going to tell Bri the next day just sorta comes to me. It also helps smoking a few joints and having 103.5 ‘The Hammer’ cranked up. What a kick ass station, best damn bands.

My manager Scott relaxing at home.

Scott relaxing at home.

GUMP: What a delight! What is it like running a pharmacy? And why?

S: What the fuck are you talking about?

GUMP: Oh, my! Do you think your book will make people like pizza more?

S: I say it in the book and it’s so goddamn true, it’s a very rough business to be in. Most people have no clue what goes on and would probably shit themselves if they had to be in my shoes. I only hope my book shows how true I am to the business and that if you are going to order from the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ you will be getting a halfway decent pie.

GUMP: How exciting! If a customer dropped his pizza on the floor, would you give him another?

S: Depends if the dude has any more money. Ain’t got time for tears or refunds.

GUMP: Have you ever been mad and punched a pizza?

S: I’ve punched many faces but never a pizza. A pizza is a very sacred thing. I once had some joker work for me who thought he was the shit. Anyway, he lost his cool during a dinner rush and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was thinking about punching a pizza he was making. Choked the motherfucker out before it got that far.

GUMP: Sensational! I’m going to fire some guns into a hill. Want to join me?

S: You gotta do what floats your fuckin’ boat. I got a hot one and a bottle of whiskey waiting for me in the back of my car. See ya’ around!

THE BSU STRIKES! Brian Schropp on Cuisine

August 11, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp

It all began with me stopping at the ‘ShopSmart’ to pick up a few items for the book release party at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’. With the recent success of my book ‘Breakfast Sandwich Boy’ my manager, Scott wanted to see if he could possibly add his name to the Lankville bestsellers list. His book,’The Pizza Trade’ is a collection of stories told to me by Scott about the pizza business. There was a full out party staged in our dining area with balloons and cheap booze plus copies of the book for sale. With the purchase of the book you even get two free nuggets and a slice of cake (but you also have to spend $20 on menu items just to get in). So I was picking up some markers at the ‘ShopSmart’ in case someone wanted their book signed by Scott. I was really hoping this would be a success. I would hate to see the fallout if no one shows; Scott had already been drinking the whole day just trying to get his nerves under control.

The cover of Scott's exciting new book 'The Pizza Trade'

The cover of Scott’s exciting new book ‘The Pizza Trade’

With markers in hand, I decided I was also a bit hungry (it was a full four blocks I walked from the ‘Pizza-A-Round) and went to grab a delicious ‘ready made’ breakfast sandwich. I recognized the cashier on duty– he belonged to the BSU (Breakfast Sandwich Underground) and gave a discount to others of his kind when purchasing a breakfast sandwich. The cashier (who I will not name) wasn’t very talkative but I really didn’t give the matter a second thought. It wasn’t until I was almost out the door that I noticed I wasn’t given any discount. I went back to see what happened.

“Say (name withheld), I think you forgot to give me that club card discount for the sandwich.” I exaggerated a few winks since we couldn’t talk freely with other Non-BSU’s around.

The cashier didn’t respond- just shook his (or her!!) head while ringing out another customer. Thinking maybe it was just a bad day for this person I left again putting it out of my mind. I was a block or so up the street when I heard the screech of tires from the street behind me and looked back to see a rather large older model car round the corner (knocking a trash can off the sidewalk) and advancing to where I was standing. The driver side window rolled down and I could clearly see three folks in this jalopy (two in the front and one in the back). All were also known members of the BSU.

“Get in Bri,” the driver said while the back door on my side was thrown open. The other two were looking around to see who was watching.

“What’s going on guys? I don’t have time- there is this book signing at work I need to–”

“I SAID GET IN!”

The one who was in the back reached out quickly and gave a hard tug on my sleeve. I knew better than to try and mess around with these folks. Before I even had my door closed the car was racing off taking yet another sidewalk too closely and almost hitting a family. The one in the back snatched the bag out of hands and started to go through it taking out the markers and asking me what they were for.

“For Scott, my manager, he’s going to sign copies of his book–”

The person chuckled. “That loser knows nothing about food. What breakfast sandwich options do you guys have on your menu there?”

“None I guess but I don’t know why—-HEY!!”

unnamedHim/her rolled down the window and threw the markers out. The next thing from the bag was my breakfast sandwich. “Thought you would of had this eaten by now.”

“I was just about too—HEY YOU CAN’T–”

The joker ripped the packaging open without a care in the world and started to eat it slowly in front of me. “Yum, yum- the ‘ShopSmart’ always knows how to make them right. What do you think? Or has your ‘advanced flavor profile’ moved on to other things now? No matter, just give me your shoes and hat.”

“What?”

“GIVE ME YOUR SHOES AND HAT!!”

Off they came and out the window they went.

“I’m going to get in trouble for losing my work cap.”

“Well here is a new one for you-”

The now empty shopping bag was placed over my head and tied tightly around me. “Can’t have you squealing on where we are taking you. Just sit back and try to relax, we will be there soon enough.”

The car took many twists and turns but I’m pretty sure they just drove around in a circle for a few minutes and pulled up in the loading area behind the ‘ShopSmart’. I was led up some steps (with the bag still on my head), brought inside, and put into a heavily air conditioned room. My suspicions were confirmed when I heard the intercom paging people.

“Wasn’t I just here?”

One of them slammed the door closed. “You have no idea where you are at!!”

I was made to strip and checked THOROUGHLY to make sure I had no recording devices on. Instead of giving me back my clothes I was given a ‘trash bag poncho’ to wear. “Sorry Bri, orders from the high ranks to make sure you were clean. Someone from the top wants a word with you, and I really mean from the top-the way top-‘The Upper Biscuit’ top.”

Which Lankville Reporter is in the BSU?

Which Lankville Reporter is in the BSU?

I raised my eyebrows from inside the bag. In the pecking order of the BSU it goes-The Lower Biscuit, The Egg, The Bacon, The Cheese, and then finally The Upper Biscuit. This meant the person was big time in the movement and made things happen. Why did they want to talk with me? I had only a loose affiliation with the BSU.

After what seemed like a lifetime the door opened again. “About time,” one of the kidnappers grumbled.

“I knew the plan but I’m a very busy person–”

That voice, I knew it!!! Once the bag was untied from my head I saw I was correct. Now dear readers, I am not going to reveal the name of this individual. Even after all this I still somewhat know and understand the ideals of what this movement is doing and I will not be the one to publicly out a member. I will just said that one of The Upper Biscuits is a fellow reporter for the Lankville Daily News. You read and enjoy their articles every day with your morning toast and jam. This the last person on the paper payroll you would expect.

“I see your shocked expression Bri, I will admit it’s a gamble making myself known.”

I tried to ask a question but it just came out a garbled mess.

“I’m not going to screw around- just going to get straight to the point. We of The Upper Crust are not happy with your articles for the paper. You were meant to help promote and spread the cause of breakfast sandwiches so that maybe, just maybe, they might get an equal playing field.”

“I do, I mean I try—”

“Do you really? Your first few articles had promise, it’s true. Since then it’s just been a mess. Pizza Eggwiches, bumpkins, hill people, half the time the articles don’t even make sense.”

“Yes, breakfast sandwiches are my life. It’s just so much else has happened to me since I began writing–”

My fellow reporter held up a hand to silence me. “I’m not here to listen to excuses Bri. I am here to let you know that your connection to the BSU is now over. No more discounts, no more coming to our secret late night tasting parties. You are not an outright enemy but what we call a ‘luncher’. Just remember how entrenched we are in every aspect of life in Lankville. You know that gelatin dinner thing you created, ever wonder why the warnings got so bad? I mean don’t get me wrong that thing is a health hazard, just with a word from us and it was raised ever so slightly. Remember how your Mom tried to fix you some breakfast this morning?”

“She swore she bought a box of breakfast sandwiches the other day.”

“She did. (pause for dramatic effect) We took them in the night. Again, this is just a warning- don’t mess with us and we won’t mess with you.”

I got the point loud and clear…my wallet was taken and my ‘Friend of the BSU’ membership card (which is disguised to look like your normal everyday retail discount card) was confiscated. For some reason I was allowed to leave from what looked like the manager’s office back of the store. I did get my wallet back but none of my clothes. So, in my ‘trash bag poncho’ I decided I was still hungry but instead of buying another ‘ready made’ breakfast sandwich I just bought a can of sloppy joe mix. Somehow having a breakfast sandwich at that moment didn’t feel right. The cashier hastily put up the ‘register closed’ sign right when I was walking up and I had to fumble around with the self checkout machine.

Luckily my clothes were outside on the sidewalk in the bag which was tied over my head (I guess they have some sorta heart, they could of thrown them in the dumpsters if they really wanted to) and even found my hat, shoes, and the markers for Scott’s book signing (these items were a bit beat up from the traffic).

It was a long four blocks back to the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ not just because people were making fun of the ‘trash bag poncho’ from their cars and doorways but also because I was reflecting on how my life will be different going forward. Everything seemed just a tad bit darker, who was really a friend now? Is this the price you pay for growing as a cuisine writer? Questions best left to answer in due time and after a busy book signing. Looks like it’s a pretty good turnout (which shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s a pretty wonderful book!!) and my poncho was also a hit among the crowd!! Until next time readers, please keep your minds and mouths open to new ideas. Happy eating!!-Bri