Voting closes at 11.59pm on Sunday night 28 July
- Nothing To Lose
‘Mmmm pizzzaa.’ Ben said in his best Homer Simpson voice whilst rubbing his protruding stomach. Ironically, after spending the last twelve months with his bottom melded seamlessly to his recliner, pizza was one of the few things that got him out of the house. Delivery is fine until you’re down to your last ten bucks. At those times, the magic of pizza would lure Ben out of his chair for the three block walk to the pizza shop.
Head down, hands in pockets, he would with purpose place one foot in front of the other until a whiff of bread and herbs opened his nostrils, then he would tilt back his head, take a deep breath and grin briefly at the neon sign. Returning to his customary sloughed position he entered and in an almost unintelligible mumble, ordered his usual BBQ meatlovers pizza.
Scuffing his feet along the store floor, Ben walked outside. He never waited inside, preferring instead to sit on the fire hydrant post at the front corner of the shop. People were less likely to talk to him there, that said, today someone was definitely talking.
Ben took a quick look around, but couldn’t see anyone.
‘Psssst. Mate! Ya got a smoke?’
Ben looked up to see a boy, no more than ten, arms folded leaning on top of the fence beside him.
‘Go away, kids shouldn’t smoke!’
‘I’m not a kid, I’m a leprechaun.’
Ben couldn’t help but have a chuckle.
‘Well I am. Give us a smoke and I’ll solve all your problems. Leprechauns have magic powers you know.’
Ben reached into his pocket and with nibble fingers moving seemingly without direction, flicked out a cigarette. He smirked and passed it up to the kid.
‘What the heck. I’ve got nothing to lose.’
- Pineapple on Pizza
Barry and Chi are standing with their backs against the front window obscuring the faded lettering of Pauly’s Pizza. The light from inside casting their shadows out into the dark of the parking lot.
“Pineapple on pizza is just wrong.”
“It was in his will, so we’re doing it.”
“A strange food request for a wake, but Evan did like to make people think.”
“You know why he’s doing it right?”
“Nah man no idea, but it’s the kind of guy he was.”
Chi sticks his head through the multicoloured plastics strips hanging in the doorway.
“Hey Pauly pass us one of Evan’s pizza boxes can ya.”
“Chi ya know no one is meant to see it till after they’ve eaten it.”
“Yeah man I’m just going to show Barry I’ll bring it back.”
“Fine but if he tells anyone early he might be joining Evan.”
“Chill man, chill he’ll keep it a secret.”
“Here ya go Bazza get a load of that.”
Barry opened the empty pizza box and spent a few moments reading Evan’s final words.
“Shit man that’s deep.”
“Yeah it’s going to make people think.”
“And cry. Ya ever think we’ll impact people like he did?”
“Ya think his dad knew how much impact he’d have on his life when he adopted him?”
“Nah man I guess your right. We probably never really know the difference we can make.”
Pauly wheels out the trolley with all the pizza’s.
“She open mate?”
“Yeah let me give you a hand. Ya knocking off in time to see the fireworks.”
“Yeah man I wouldn’t miss saying goodbye to him.”
“He lived life like his fuse was always lit it seems fitting he goes out with a bang.”
- Love’s First Meeting.
I am standing in front of the pizza shop called June’s pizza waiting for my wife Lucy. We met on this exact spot thirty two years ago today, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a wonderful spring day, the birds were singing and I had just gotten a great mark on my maths test, so I decided to celebrate by getting a slice of pizza. I had just brought a meat lovers pizza and left the store, when I quite literally walked into Lucy. I know as soon as I saw her I knew she was the most beautiful girl in the whole world. “Hi” she said and me being the absolute fool I am just stood there with my mouth hanging open. “You had better closed your mouth or the wind will freeze it like that forever” she said with a laugh. I snapped my mouth shut and then introduced myself to her. Then like magic we ended up sharing my pizza and talking for hours. I found out later it was magic after all because Lucy is a the great great granddaughter of Venus, the Roman goddess of beauty. Which means she can use magic to make herself look like as beautiful or as ugly as she wants. But I don’t love her just because of her beauty, I love her for being the most kind and compassionate woman I have ever known. We come here every year on our anniversary to celebrate. Just then I see her coming up the street and I thank my lucky stars yet again that I bumped into her all those years ago.
- Shazam Pizza
“You do it.”
“No, you do it.”
“Yes, you can. Just concentrate and summon it up.”
Jerry sighed, closed his eyes and puffed his cheeks as if blowing out a cake full of candles.
Doug watched intensely. His mouth salivating, anticipating, as Jerry went blue trying to conjure up their favourite pizza from the shop-front window: a mega-sized meat-lovers delight with cheesy thick crust.
They were starving after bush-bashing BMXs up and down Mount Warrenheip all day then riding back to town on sunset. Their mums’ meat and veg wouldn’t suffice that night.
“Hey, what’s that? A spark. Your ear,” Doug said, jumping back.
Jerry shrugged and rolled his eyes. They both knew he could do it; ever since he subscribed to that comic book series and they sent him a package with a mysterious green rock inside. Since then, he’d been able to conjure up whatever he desired, as long as he wanted it bad enough.
He had to be careful though or his parents would start asking questions. Like when that gorgeous Instagram influencer was in his room. She was difficult to sneak into a taxi back to her house. Luckily, Jerry was a good talker.
Now they wanted pizza. Badly.
“Try harder, Jerry.”
Jerry leered at his mate, turning a darker shade of blue.
Suddenly, a bright flash struck the ground in front of them. On the charred footpath sat a humungous pizza covered with every slivered meat, sauce and olives on a two-inch golden dough filled with oozing melted cheese.
A note on the top read:
If you want me bad,
Just one thing, bud.
Eat me in five seconds flat,
Or I’ll evaporate.
They shook their heads and laughed.
“Meat and veg aren’t that bad anyway,” Doug said, both pedalling away.
There’s a man, alone, walking around a street corner to the front of a pizza shop. It has sufficient umbrellas, tables and chairs, kerbside, for him to take a seat and order a soft drink. He has glanced about the rest of the street and checked his watch. He is early but this does not bother him as he can observe the passing pedestrian and motor traffic as well as the clientele of the shop itself. He is still the only solo person in the vicinity.
He doesn’t have expectations but the woman he has arranged to meet had a good voice on the telephone last night. She didn’t give too much away though they had discussed the peculiarities of the service. If, one day, there came to be some way of seeing what the other presented as, it could help though there were arguments against that agreed to by both. The agreement was that either could walk away without engaging in more conversation if that look wasn’t acceptable. He chose to be early so he just had the waiting game.
The waitress had asked if he wanted to order if he was dining alone but he said he was expecting company. The waitress gave a smile that he took as complimentary. He wasn’t keen on pizza and generally preferred to dine at home with preparing well-balanced meals a particular delight.
Many people came past in pairs and groups but no one asked about the large book he had as signal for the expected company. Several women of the right range, but attached, appeared to notice him and though he appreciated that, the passing time became tedious.
Forty-five minutes after the appointed hour, he got up, went around the corner to his Ferrari and drove home to a better meal.
- All in the Name
They stood outside Marcello’s Pizzeria. Ben held a tin of pears, covered with aluminium foil; they’d eaten some for breakfast and nothing since.
He smoothed his girlfriend’s long blonde hair. ‘Marcello’s the one doing all the dough tossing.’
‘Yep. Can’t miss a moustache like that!’ the beautiful woman said. ‘I’m going in.’
He watched her proudly: her shy smile and the way she tentatively pointed to the list of pizzas on the wall. Marcello dusted his hands on his white apron, swiftly appearing from behind the counter to guide her choice. She laughed, gently tapping his arm with her small hand. Ben was not surprised to see Marcello make the micro-muscle movements that puffed his chest out slightly. And then he watched Marcello’s surprise and laughter when his girlfriend left her name with the order. He could see Marcello’s lips mouth out the name. ‘Margherita! And you wanna Margherita?’
His girlfriend nodded. Marcello, who regularly used a mirror to choreograph his pizza-making moves, bellowed it out for the benefit of the patrons at other tables. ‘Hey, it’s Margherita and she’s ordered a large Margherita!’
A table of people draped in the local footy club’s colours cheered. ‘Hope ya not thinking of charging her, mate!’ said the club’s president.
And then what could Marcello say? The football club was his biggest client.
‘Nah, you’re right. This is on the house, Margherita!’
Ben’s girlfriend effused gratefulness, surprise, and even kissed Marcello on the top of bald head. She waved at the other tables and swept out the door with the pizza.
‘Nice work, Sally!’ said Ben. ‘Daylesford tomorrow. Lorenzo’s Pizza Palace sponsors the footy club and I’m guessing they’ll be there after the game. I’m thinking Lorenzo would like to meet Margherita.’
‘Yep,’ said Sally. ‘No doubt!’