Aug 7, 2008

At Ocean Pizza you can’t hear anything over the hum of the cold drinks refrigerator. You can’t hear anything over the screaming of the couple on reality TV. And just now the owners are having it out; a Greek couple. Something bad has happened and they’re snarling it up. You can’t hear anything. There’s only one customer, an old man sitting under a dirty mural with some tagging somebody tried to wash out. This place is not clean or well lighted. A waiter is sitting at an angle in a booth. If it weren’t for the noise you could hear him sleeping. BTW, the booths appear in good shape. The one new thing in the whole place. Everything else is worn. But the booths look like they’ve been redone. The plastic table tops are red to match, and some weird paisley design like there was just a surgery here and nobody cleaned up the blood yet. “Whatiya want?” the owner’s wife wants to know. The only customer gives an order. It's all he can do to get the words out. Pizza boxes are stacked up against the front window. Oven’s nearly covered over in newspaper clippings from Greek newspapers. There’s a fan set in a panel over the front door. The blades move, but just barely. Like the single screw of a disabled submarine. It’s also cold as hell outside. The waitress/wife is Sandy. Her sister is the psychic next door at Ocean Psychic. All the fortunes are good. “You’re going to get some money… You didn’t know that? It’s coming. I can’t tell you when without doing some more work? Can you come back tomorrow? This is serious. You’re going to receive a lot of money. You’ll never have to work again.” Sandy takes the order and doesn’t say, thank you, and she doesn’t linger. She puts the order down on the counter. “Those people are stupid you got,” she says to her husband in English. It’s a running conversation. It goes on all night. He picks up the order and says something in Greek. “I gotta go,” his wife says in English. “Where you gotta go,” he says in Greek. She tells her husband what to do. There’s only one customer. Wednesday night in August. City College is closed. It’s nearly 9:30. Brett Favre just got traded to the Jets. Man comes outta the kitchen. “No fuckin’ way,” he says. “No fuckin’ way. They’d give him $25 million not to play. Can you imagine? I’d take the $25 million and not play. You got everything, why would you play. You take the $25 million and play with that. Fuckin’ play with yourself and take the $25 million.” All of a sudden it’s time to close. Everybody’s speaking Greek. The last customer is rushed out. He doesn't want to go; he was hoping to stay in place, stay hidden. But they won't let him. You can’t hear anything but the place is definitely closing.

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