Once upon a time, a fellow who, at least temporarily, mistrusted pizza deliveryfolk and their motives crouched behind the door of his apartment. Stoned as could be, he’d been victimized by an intractable case of The Munchies and caved in to his urge to call Papa John’s. It was Late; had he waited five more minutes, he’d have needed to shag his ass ten blocks to the 7-11 for some mini-donuts or something, for the cupboards were bare.
He watched through a crack in a dusty venetian blind as a battered Civic rolled into the parking lot, a telltale sign adorning its roof. Zeeby wasn’t really leery of pizza people in particular; it was just that he was high as the moon every time he saw such a creature, and his mind had come to associate them with vague paranoia, a certain predatory look, fucked-up outfits, and unreasonable demands for credit-purchase signatures.
The Civic pulled alongside the building. Zeeby heard the e-brake wrench into the locked position, but no one got out; the unseen driver was probably scanning the building for nonexistent numbers. Fuck. Zeeby loosed a few rapid and fevered exhalations, then stepped to the door and threw it open, resolute despite his nutball trepidation — and the fact that he was standing there in a pair of too-small boxer shorts and nothing else.
“O’ here,” he blurted in a barking whisper, waving a lit joint in the direction of the Civic. A gnomish figure was emerging, hoisting a large plastic pizza sleeve Mario Brothers-style above its narrow shoulders. Though the load looked nearly as wide as its bearer did tall, there was nothing precarious or hesitant about the collective journey of these items toward the underclad Zeeby.
The delivery person passed through the tired glow of a parking-lot lamp girded by a fluttering belt of moths and other buggers, and Zeeby saw from a rapidly shrinking distance of ten feet that the agent in charge of abolishing his Hunger was a startlingly attractive brunette. Somehow lithe and toned within the folds of a too-large Papa Johns polo jersey, her wide-set eyes were engaging, her skin perfect, and her smile almost corrupt in its guileless warmth. A name tag on her jersey identified her as Syra.
“How are you tonight?” asked the diminutive woman, using her left hand to remove a pizza box from a vinyl warming sleeve she hoisted over her right shoulder with surprising ease. Her smile was earnest enough to not frighten Zeeby, but not so sincere as to remind him of exactly what he had ordered. Something round and cheesy with heated fucking meat on it. She didn’t give off the vibe of having done the pizza gig for long; rather, she seemed the sort who would be comfortable and confident in any situation, probably studying for the MCAT or something and saving for grad school. Right now, she and her wholesome smile and (he couldn’t help but notice) lithe body scared the piss out of him.
“I’m good, good,” Zeeby returned. It sounded like a groan. Impulsively, he seized an open, half-warm beer off a worn folding table near the door, drained its contents, and let fly with a belch that was heavy on the tremolo and rattled his boxers just as surely and strongly as a burst of flatulence might have. He’d been considerate enough to turn his head to one side and place a balled fist in front of his mouth, and Syra never flinched. If anything, she seemed to be smiling faintly as she stood, expectant and pigeon-toed and holding his next twenty-four hours’ worth of non-liquid nourishment in front of her.
And, oops! What’s this? Goddamn if he wasn’t getting a little excited, right here and now and with Mr. Deeds blaring away in the background…
NOT TO BE CONTINUED