Imagine you and your girlfriend are going out for a date night, and she picks this new Italian place that opened up right around the corner. And your like, that’s cool I love supporting local businesses because I’m cool and sexy and so is my girlfriend. This is true. You are both 5’10” and unstoppable.


You go and as you enter in the restaurant you notice that it is much smaller on the inside than one would expect, and all the decor is varying shades of Red and yellow. Like walking into a lasagna. You sit down, and you notice there’s only one waiter and a few other staff- none of them Italian. You assume this from their shirts that say “nope, not Italian”


You and cool girlfriend decide to split a pizza. You are young and modern and view each other as equals. pizza is the food of the people. You love onion, garlic, and beef and she loves green beans. She is so quirky. If she left you, you know exactly which friends would fall out of touch with you. You wouldn’t blame them.


You place your order for your heathen onion, green bean, beef pizza to the waiter who looks exactly like your brother, but 10 years older with salt and pepper hair. His name tag just has the 7/11 logo on it.


After several minutes the waiter comes back looking very nervous and about 5 inches taller.“We’ve run out of pizza dough. Actually, I can’t be sure there ever was any. I apologize for the inconvenience.” Chanting can be heard from the kitchen. You make eye contact with the bartender who wags her finger at you.


Concerning that they would run out of a main ingredient so early in the night. But you are non-confrontational, and it’s honestly none of your god damn business.


“What should we do then? Do you have any recommendations?” Asks your girlfriend. She’s always getting down to business, no funny stuff. You both look down at the menus which now seem to be the size of those tiny bibles people pass out on the street. There are only cartoon pictures of food.


“Well we can just put more cheese in it? Just to make up for the lack of dough. More cheese makes everything better. That’s what my brother always said.” He refuses to meet your gaze. The bartender has not stopped wagging her finger.


“What will you serve it on?” You ask cautiously.


The waiter shrugs and mumbles, and motions his hands in what seems to be the shape of a snow globe rather than any type of dishwater. You nod to dismiss him.


The waiter comes back a few minutes later cover in oil. Muffled sobbing can be heard from the kitchen. He presents you with an old pan full of a red bubbling tomato sauce and topped with what you recognize as a whole bag of Parmesan cheese. This is not at all a pizza.”


“Here you are. Sorry that it is not at all a pizza. But mmmm all that cheese. Yummy yummy.”


His words embarrass you. You remove your vegan leather trucker hat as heat rises to your cheeks.


The waiter pulls out two giant spoons. “These are the biggest spoons you’ve ever seen. You deserve them because you two are very cool and sexy.”


All three of you shoot finger guns and wink at each other saying “Ay!” The bartender is still wagging her finger.


As you dig into your not pizza, you realize despite it not at all being a pizza, it’s pretty good. Because most things involving tomato sauce and a ton of cheese are good things.


As you chew, an unexpected heat hits the back of your throat. Your girlfriend coughs in a way that suggests the utmost betrayal.


“Why is this spicy?!” You call to the waiter who is now behind the bar writing the word “wine” on some “hello my name is” stickers and slapping them in bottles of brown liquor. Where the bartender stood, there is now a cardboard cut out of Howie Mandel.


“I put a shit ton of red pepper flakes in it.”


“Why?”


“Well... because it’s not at all a pizza.” He chuckles. His chuckles morph into a heinous cackle. All the other patrons join in on the laughter. We’re they always there? Your girlfriend giggles uncontrollably, occasionally snorting, because she may be sexy and cool, but she’s also humble. Laughing sobs can be heard from the kitchen.


In the midst of the chaotic chorus of laughter you nod your head, gazing into your giant spoon. Your reflection is not inverted like the laws of physics want it to be. A smile comes to your lips. Your eyes well up with tears of joy? Relief? Fear? Pepper? And you whisper breathlessly:


“It’s not at all a pizza”