Stuart Green walked into Island Pizza. Charlie and Eddy were manning the ovens. Charlie, at sixteen, still had a chance to grow out of the go no-where-ness of the pizza shop. As for Eddy, who was almost forty, it was too late. Stuart was twenty-one. He was on the fence, but more than likely he was going nowhere. The year was 1995, and nowhere seemed plenty cool enough.
Eddy said, “You’re late, Stuart.”
There were many things about Eddy that bothered Stuart. The two main ones were: One, he hated the way Eddy always called him by his whole first name, whereas most people just called him Stu—and it was the way he said it, like his mouth had just bitten into a lemon. And two, he hated how Eddy always tried to sound like he was some wise and worldly older man-in-charge. Worldly enough to have never even been off Mystic Island. And wise enough to now be in charge of two pizza ovens. Asshole even called himself a G.M., like he was running some high-end restaurant. Eddy figured that, because out of the three of them, he was the only one with a high school diploma, he was fucking Yoda.
Stuart rushed past Eddy, saying, “Don’t even start with me today, Ed.”
Eddy watched Stu rush past him, Eddy saying, “Wasn’t starting with you there, slick, just stating a fact.”
Charlie said, in his sincere, sycophantic kind of way, “What happened at court today, Stu?” Charlie was a lost type of soul, and he looked up to Stuart’s particular brand of life-stagnancy. To him, Stu was a god of slackerdom, as if Bart Simpson had grown up to now live on Mystic Island.
Eddy, raised his eyebrow and said, “Court? Finally busted for dealing, Stu?”
Stuart rushed by Eddy again, this time in the opposite direction. He was holding two pizza boxes, and he said, “Eddy, I swear to god.” This was Stuart’s way of telling Ed to shut the fuck up.
Charlie asked, “Did you lose your license?”
Stuart ignored the boy and he finally looked at Eddy, holding up the pizza boxes. Stu said, “Where are these things going?”
“Try reading the slip,” Eddy said.
Stuart looked down at the delivery slip and said, “Oh, they’re going to your mother’s house, Ed. Good, I wanted a little anal sex to start my shift.” He turned and left the shop.
Outside the shop, he grabbed hold of a ten-speed bicycle with a paint job so faded, its color was unidentifiable. He balanced the pizza boxes on the bike’s handlebars and shakily peddled down the street.
To Be Continued