The door chime was on constant ring. Patrons began to fill every table and booth we had. Orders were coming in quicker than our hands could flip the dough or swirl the sauce. That’s what happens when you own the premier pizza joint on Harvard Square. After the Celtics collect another W, there’s barely even standing room.
Steaming hot pizzas sizzling with peppers and onions fly through the doors. Pizza lovers from all over town dive right in. You have your regulars who eat the classic, enormous slices. There’s the typical white collar eaters over in the corner digging in with forks and knives. Toward the back of the parlor are your blue-collar roughnecks who just roll it up and shovel it down.
Then, there’s me in the back room, making sure every flatbread is cooked to perfection, keeping an eye on every swirl and topping placement as my cooks create Boston’s most famous pizza. It’s been a long time since the streets of Brooklyn, playing guitar for change before and after I whipped dough into the night air in one of the thousands of pizza shops in the Big Apple. After saving up enough money for culinary school, then cooking up five star dishes on a daily basis, I realized my true passion was providing food that hits the heart and soul. Something that is about the customer more than their wallet. Years later, here we stand in the prime spot in town to get a slice of true Italian pizza in Boston.
As my cooks continued the pizza conveyer belt, there was a quiet knock on the back door to the alleyway. I cautiously opened the door to a familiar face beneath the alleyway’s murky light.
“Do you have the money?”
DeAngelo was here to collect his weekly ration again. I reluctantly handed him a one-hundred-dollar bill, but not before I firmly grabbed his wrist to stare him down.
“Get some help. If not for me, do it for Mom.” He glared at me for a fast second, ripped his wrist out of my grip, and was around the corner before I could even close the door. Who knows if I’ll see him next week. I never knew where he went beyond this alley wall anyway. Ever since Mom passed, from her own lifelong drug addiction, DeAngelo had never been the same. I’m never sure why he’s always without money. But I see more and more of our Mother in him, though. It wasn’t his look that threw me off, this time. He always looked reasonably well kept, his slicked back, black hair, leather jacket, and blue jeans. No. It was more his demeanor that had me worried.
“Order up!” Now that the weekly hardship was over, it was back to tending to the best customers any Executive Chef could ask for. The door chime continued to ring off the hook and the late night crowd filed in for another strong night in Boston.
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