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Gil C. Schmidt was born. Lucky for him and some 416 people, many of who don't seem to know it. Lives in Puerto Rico, which is convenient because he also works from there. Gil writes about dozens of real things (with relish) and dozens of imaginary things (like phantasmagoric pickles), in separate forums. Author of several books and a son, Gil gets in trouble when he's bored. Please head to the egress now.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Pizza Inn

Everyone in college seems to have a hangout or seven. A popular one for Bill, Don and me was Pizza Inn, across the road from Rebel Deli, just catty-corner to Kiamie Lanes and the useful Mr. Quik. The advantage of Pizza Inn was more location than Italian cuisine.

Going through management like Italy went through Prime Ministers, Pizza Inn went from hangout to job site and back to hangout. Bill and I worked there, and speaking for myself, my only gain was learning how to make a pizza, though in mediocre fashion. I’ve gotten much better.

As a hangout, Pizza Inn gave us a place where we could go play some video games, watch the big projector TV and just annoy the waitresses for hours, because there were always empty tables. (Sign number One about management changes.) The menu was simple: pizza, salads, pastas, soft drinks and beer, though beer wasn’t part of our diet. Bill and I were such regular customers that we were often given free pitchers… of Dr. Pepper. I hate Dr. Pepper. I said it every time. We kept getting free pitchers of Dr. Pepper. (Sign number Two about management changes.)

Walloped by the grand opening of Domino’s, Pizza Inn tried to match the “30 minutes or its free” deal, but with nowhere near the resources the delivery specialist had. So every night during that month, we’d brace for “The Big One,” an order that strained our manpower and oven capacity in a race against time. Sure enough, the phone would ring and we’d hear: “Six extra-large, with the works,” and an address on campus.

Dough and toppings would fly and pies were shoved into the ovens almost like shingles. Fifteen minutes later they’d be yanked out, slashed without mercy, dropped into boxes and the designated driver would race out and peel rubber…

And come back, pizzas congealing in soggy boxes. “No one there,” he’d say, shrugging. A few times he sold the pizzas at discount to guys who happened to be standing outside the dorm and eventually Pizza Inn dropped the charade. (Sign number Three.)

The buffet, Tuesdays and Sundays, then Wednesdays and Fridays and then some Mondays and then some Saturdays from 4 to 6 PM then only on Sundays from 11 to 2 PM (sign number Four) strangely ended every time with a large extra pepperoni pizza coming out one minute before the buffet closed and thus, to avoid wastage, was shared by the employees. Didn’t matter who was tossing pies: that pizza came out like, well, clockwork. You’d think management would figure out the logistics of pulling that off consistently and yes, apply it to the rest of the operation. Never happened. (Sign number Five.)

One Sunday evening, after eating like starving bears, Don and I walked out of Pizza Inn and spotted a group of about 10 people getting out of their cars, possibly after attending a church service. At that moment, a stray cat raced across the parking lot. Without a second’s hesitation, Don and I began chasing it at the same time yelling ”Food! Fooood!”

We chased the cat out of the lot and over a fence, then turned without a word and walked away.

The church group looked at each other, got back into their cars and left. I guess that could be taken as Sign number Six.

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