ZYGOTE IN MY COFFEE.COM
| ***BIO*** KARL KOWESKI: I'm a 31 year old displaced Chicagoan, now living on top of a mountain in Alabama for reasons that involve a woman. I was the lead singer/banjo player of the now defunct country/punk/disco band The Screaming Shits. Now I just work in a machine shop and write articles for porno mags.
|© 2006 zygoteinmycoffee Ink.|
|Vengeance Is Mine, Sayeth the Lord of Lowered Expectations|
|by Karl Koweski|
| I was five hours into my pizza oven oblivion when I received an order for a Pasquale Special from HER.
I recognized the phone number. Of course, I did. Those digits were indelibly stamped on the ventricles of my heart. I loved those numbers the way a prisoner learns to love the identifying numerals that come to define him.
Then there was that rotten name. Rogus.
Surely to god she’d have more sense than to order a special from the one pizzeria where the only sorry bastard who’s heart she had the ability to rend manned the pizza oven. But, then again, at the time of our break-up, I flipped burgers at a McDonalds.
My employment was a topic of contention between us. She thought at my age I should have been graduating college or firmly nestled in the bosom of a factory working my way toward back surgery. This coming from a woman who treated her job as an assistant manager at Midas Burger as the end all, be all of existence. So much so that she forbid me from coming around the Midas Burger for fear that I might somehow jeopardize her job by “just being me”.
That was two years ago. As much as I hate to admit it, she’d likely forgotten all about me. But I’d remember Renee Rogus forever. My memory for rejection knew no bounds.
I choose the pizza pan with the oldest dough stretched thin and gray across the pie pan. I stepped out of my ratty sneakers, the toe blown out of the right shoe, laces like sun-shriveled worms. The shoes looked like satin slippers compared to my sweat socks, emphasis on sweat. I dumped the grated cheese into the bottom of the shoes and stepped back in them.
I took equal parts tomato sauce and oily anchovy juice, mixed them together and spread the uneasy concoction across the dough. I picked hardened kernels of dried sausage clinging to the top of the sausage grinder since the beginning of the shift and flung them across the pizza like so many boogers.
I removed my shoes and dumped the spoiled cheese across the pizza foundation. For good measure I unbuckled my pants and scratched out some ball hair dandruff.
I scoured the floor behind the prep tables and along the oven for fallen pepperoni and dealt the pile of discolored meat on top of the pizza. I clenched a few mushrooms between my ass cheeks and I sauteed the green peppers in urine.
My Frankenstein creation complete, alive with all manner of bacteria, I set the pizza on the conveyor belt and watched it slowly devoured into the belly of the oven.
“Pasquale Special coming up.”
Keith, standing at the other end of the oven, leaned against the counter.
“Ex-girlfriend?” He asked.
“You catch her sucking your buddy’s dick?”
I shook my head, no.
“She take all your money and run off?”
“No. I can’t recall ever having any money.”
“Then what the hell could she have done to deserve that?”
“She was real judgmental.”
Keith sighed like he knew where I was coming from, but I doubt he did. If he cared what others thought of him, he’d never leave the house. Here’s a man who wore concert T-shirts from the likes of Poison, Stryper, Warrant, Slaughter...
“Yeah,” he said. “She had a mouth on her.”
“You knew her?”
“Renee Rogus? Oh yeah, man. In the Biblical sense, even. She use to be an assistant manager at the Midas Burger. This is going back a couple years when she worked closing and I ran grill. We didn’t date or anything. She was seeing some McDonald’s fry cook.”
“You could tell she wasn’t getting enough dick at the house. You know, how you can tell that about a woman. Can’t even walk past her without her grabbing your junk. Always talking about sex, sex, sex, fucking.”
I thought back to all the headaches she use to have at the most inopportune moments.
“I remember one night,” he continued, “she put an ice cube in her mouth and sucked me off in the freezer. That was wild. And cold.”
“Yeah, man. But I feel for you. It wouldn’t have worked out for me and Renee, either. Even with my lowered expectations. There was that time I ran down to the stock room for some bacon bits and croutons and caught her down there fucking Fillipe, the clean-up boy. They never heard me coming. I hid behind a pile of cup boxes and watched them going at it, I don’t know, five, ten minutes. You can’t trust a bitch like that.”
“Yeah, but that’s not to say she wasn’t loyal to you. How long ago did you say you dated her?”
“Uhm... back in high school.”
“Damn, man, and you’re still holding a grudge? She was probably no where near as wild and ragged-looking back then, I bet. I’m sure she treated you a lot better than that poor bastard she dated when I knew her. That’s not to say he didn’t have it coming. I remember for Valentine’s Day she was so pissed off cause he bought her a book. I’ll never forget that. ‘Of Human Bondage’ by W. Somerset something or another.”
A good book, I thought morosely.
“Bitch didn’t even like to read. She was so damn mad. That night, she took him home a chef salad for dinner and she had all of us spit in it.”
“Yeah, but I guess what goes around comes around. And now she’s finally getting her’s, eh?”
I nodded, mutely.
“You ok, man? I ain’t upsetting you, am I?”
“No, I’m fine. Just... bad memories, you know. I’m ok.”
“Yeah, exes can do that to a man. It’s best to let go. Cleanse your mind of her. With drugs if you have to. Even though she was your high school sweetheart. Especially when it’s your high school sweetheart.”
We stood there a moment, thinking our thoughts. The pizza emerged from the oven like a rattlesnake from its den. Keith scooped it out, boxed it, and taped the order to the top. “Pasquale Special, up!”
As the pizza delivery dude grabbed it to go, I couldn’t help but feel he was carrying away a little piece of me. A couple little pieces of me.
I turned my attention to Keith. And plotted.