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by Beau Johnson

If there’s anything you need to know about me it’s this: I have always been open to trying new things. All told, it’s the reason it’s me standing here and not Clive or Mitchy D. Coulda been either one a them in a heartbeat, sure, and maybe things woulda turned out better for you in the long run had this been the case, Sal. I can certainly picture something like that. Sure. No problem. I’ve never been particularly good at declining these types of situations though. Better suited at going along than getting along if the truth is what we’re attempting here.

You’d think this wouldn’t be the case, with me jawin’ up a storm like I am, but things have a way of turning opposite to what you want sometimes. Know what I mean? S’okay. I know you know it’s coming. Can tell you see it in my one good eye. Good thing or bad, it’s inevitable is what this is — something the both of us will come to agree upon.

What I won’t do, Sal, is take the blame. I’ll take some, sure, as I am a man who enjoys his work immensely, but I will not take it all. If you woulda just paid what you owed when you owed it nothing like what I represent is put into motion. But no. Not you. You choose an alternate route and boom, here we are, the two of us in the back of your kitchen, these big bad ovens selling their wares.

Oh come on now, it’s not like you didn’t know something like this could occur. You own a pizza joint for crying out loud. It would be damn well remiss of me if I didn’t use the tools you use on a daily basis to send the message I have been paid to deliver. Above all else, it’s this that I am: professional to my core.

A person like you doesn’t want to believe such a thing, and I can’t blame you for that, not fully, not with you sittin’ here listening to me as you are. Then again, it’s you who are in the wrong here, Sal, with no one to fault but your pretty blue self. One hundred and ten grand might not be as huge as it once was, no, but once you factor in the juice and extra week Big Ron already gave you it turns into something only men like me are able to dream of.

Means I was called the morning of, Sal.

Means I went and got your wife and daughter before I went and got you.

Means I prepped them before you woke up and each should be ready just about the time I pop open these doors.

I like these pizza retrievers too. Very authentic, Sal. Lets you get right in there, all the way to the back. And lookie here, just look how the cheese and the sides of their faces have blended themselves together. Seamlessness is what we are witnessing here, Sal. It took more than a steady hand, too, but you know what wouldn’t leave my thoughts once the peeling process began? Sticky tack. You old enough to remember sticky tack, Sal? Of course you are. You know what else you’re old enough for?

Advice, Sal. Free or otherwise.

It means it can get worse than this. If you don’t take to heart what I’m saying to you now. Means your parents could come into the equation, or your brother and his wife for that matter. Maybe those triplets they had the misfortune of having as well. That happens, a trip may or may not have to be taken to that other restaurant you own, the one where I’m told the steak ain’t half bad.

You understand the picture I’m painting for you here?

If anything, it makes you out to be smaller than I know you to be. A pretty harsh assessment, sure, but still a thing which needs to be considered, especially when coupled with the type of man I feel you believe you are.

It’s how you keep people like me out of your kitchen, Sal.

More importantly, it stops us from attempting new things.


Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town. Such fine establishments might include Out of the Gutter Online, Shotgun Honey, Horror Sleaze Trash, and this place right here, Spelk. Despite this, Down and Out Books has signed him to a collection due out in late 2017.

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