“His body was discovered in an ex girlfriend’s backya–”
Dejected, I changed the channel. I hated watching the news, but the customers liked to stay up-to-date so I let them indulge every once in a while. Not today. I understand that as an upstanding citizen it would behoove me to follow local events and happenings, but it’s never actually made me feel any better after watching it. I’m usually left feeling anxious, skeptical of the world I live in, and overwhelmingly depressed by the thought that things are only getting worse.
My name is Devin Jacobs, everyone calls me DJ. If I’m not flipping through TV channels I’m usually flipping dough at this pizza place called Poe’s Pizza Palace. You may have heard of it. I personally think it’s a terrible name, but apparently the owner is obsessed with alliteration.
“Where the hell is ticket 27? It’s already been 20 minutes since we’ve received the order! Is anyone here doing their damn job?” Randy yelled, turning red with anger. Randy is a super nice boss to work for.
“Relax Randy, the order is gone. Travis hasn’t cleared the screen yet.” I calmly reassured him.
“Damn, I swear that kid has the worst memory. He’d forget his ass if it wasn’t attached to his legs. Hasn’t he been working here for like a month now?” Randy asked irritably, face slowly returning to its natural pale color.
“It’s his third day.” I said.
He took a deep sigh then calmly asked, “I’m overreacting to everything again aren’t I?”
I didn’t need to answer his obvious question.
Randy is not usually an assbag, but his current divorce has been stressing him out. I watched his conspicuously oversized gut heave up and down as he tried to diffuse his irritation. He was a real life version of Peter Griffin from Family Guy.
“I’m sorry Devin. My life has been a mess ever since Lisa left me.” Randy admitted totally unprovoked.
“Why don’t you just take the day off? Travis and I can run the store.” I offered.
Peaking down his nose through his broken-then-taped-over black framed glasses, he asked, “You sure? It’s only Travis’ third week, can you handle it?”
“It’s his third day.” I repeated. “Yeah we can take care of it. Business is kinda slow anyway.”
At that, Randy almost skipped to the office and was right back out in what felt like literally 4 seconds carrying his jacket with his laptop bag slung over his shoulder. He couldn’t wait to get out of there.
“I’ll see you later Devin. Make sure you’re working closely with Travis. If I get chewed out by customers because of his negligence or inexperience you will be the first to know about it. I know he’s new, but I don’t need any more stress right now. Things have been hard enough since Lisa left me.” Randy explained almost bursting into tears. Again, totally unprovoked.
Right on cue, Travis glided through the door, not a care in the world.
Travis is our newest delivery driver. He moved here about half a year ago and studies criminology at the local community college. He was still training here at Poe’s, so it would likely take him a couple more shifts to remember to clear the order screen whenever he took a delivery to a customer. It drove Randy insane when a pizza didn’t get to a customer on time. But shouldn’t it?
Without a word, Randy zoomed right past him, nearly running him over.
“Geez, where’s he in a rush to? It’s not like he has a wife to get to or anything.” Travis quipped, tossing his pizza delivery bag on top of the shelf full of carelessly organized pizza bags.
“He’s on his way to your mom’s house. By the way, you forgot to clear the screen when you took your delivery. You gotta slow down, man. I know it’s only your third day, but little things like that are unforgivable to Randy.” I explained.
“Oh right! Sorry about that, I must have been rushing.” Travis replied.
“Just take your time, man. I don’t need Randy bitching at me for your rookie mistakes. Just stay focused okay? It’ll make both of our jobs easier.” I coached.
“Gotcha.” He assured me. “Hey, did you hear about that guy who was murdered not too long ago?”
“Which one?” I asked unamused by his lack of specificity.
“The guy who was found stabbed and buried in his ex girlfriend’s backyard. They say he was alive when he was buried!” Travis excitedly detailed. He picked the perfect major.
“No I haven’t.” I lied. “And why do you seem so happy about that?”
“It’s just so crazy that something like that could happen here in town, ya know? Terrible way to go.” Travis explained.
It was crazy, nothing like that ever happens here. Clintville was such a regular town, nothing particularly special about it. I had to admit to myself that it was, indeed, a terrible way to die. I could only imagine what it was like for the poor guy. Mounds of dirt being tossed on you as you take your last, desperate breaths. The weight bearing down more and more as you choke and gag on that dirt which has replaced the oxygen you’ve taken for granted all your life. The hopelessness that you will never see the light of day again. A chill went down my spine.
The phone rang.
“Poe’s Pizza Palace, this is Travis. Pickup or delivery?” Travis answered, quite efficiently. I was proud that I trained him and watched him efficiently take the customer’s order. Travis, just turning 19, was a really smart kid. He picked up things fast and understood how the business worked. He was just careless sometimes, missing details here and there. I suppose that’s a luxury of youth.
I heard the bells ring at the door notifying us we had a customer who just walked in. I approached the front counter and my heart nearly stopped as I gazed into the most gorgeous ocean green eyes I had ever seen.