Thursday, August 23, 2012

rapidfire


John lives in Ghana.  His life writes its own short story collection, but he hates reading. The only way he'd ever read it himself is if it were written in bullet points. So, here's a start.

  • ·      Keys. He’d forgotten his keys.
  • ·      He was outside the door, the locked door. Keys were all he needed. Keys.
  • ·      Ice cream. In the grocery bag, on the floor, next to him, outside the locked door.
  • ·      Nightstand. In the green glow of the digital clock, in the back bedroom, on the nightstand. Glinting a little, reflecting the digital ’10:07’ onto the dark wood of the nightstand, were his keys. Inside the door, the locked door.
  • ·      Sighing, he heaved himself onto the floor and fumbled for his phone.
  • ·      PHONE!
  • ·      The phone, though he imagined it to be lying on the nightstand in the back bedroom, next to the keys (only logical, right?) was not actually lying there.
  • ·      Jeans pocket: laundry basket, left corner, walk-in closet. That’s where the phone hid.
  • ·      It was: Jeans off, thrown in the basket: inside the door. Running shorts on, shoes tied, wallet grabbed: outside the door.
  • ·      Toenails. Clicking on the floor of the apartment above, the dogs ambling contentedly, room to room, inside their door.
  • ·      Month old pizza coupons, on the ground, outside the door. He picked them up, read them for lack of anything – ANYTHING – else to do. His brain revved, slowly at first, still annoyed with its own negligence, and then:
  • ·      PIZZA! Imagine, he imagined, how much money you could make selling PIZZA where no one else sold it! Not here, no, not here in the land of locked doors and melted ice cream and fugitive phones. But THERE!
  • ·      Spreadsheets. That’s what this project would require. Pizza research, plotted neatly into color-coded spreadsheets. Where did one go to learn spreadsheets?
  • ·      Business school! MBAs learned spreadsheets and all the accompanying spreadsheet lingo. It was so obvious, so smack-you-in-the-face apparent. He needed to go to business school. To learn the spreadsheets. To sell the pizza.
  • ·      And, then? School, spreadsheets, pizza: there. But there was…where?
  • ·      Globe! He needed a globe. Global Pizza? No, just Pizza in Place.
  • ·      Not Italy. No, not Italy, though the women there were lively. Italy had plenty of pizza already.
  • ·      Asia? Yes, Asia. Tiny women, not much pizza. Perfect.
  • ·      But then? Who did he know in Asia? And weren’t there already people plotting pizza spreadsheets – plenty of those people, MBAs and all, in Asia.
  • ·      Fine, then. Africa it would be. Pizza Africa. With uniforms. Gardens. Trucks to cart the pizza to and fro. An exchange program for pizza tossers here and pizza tossers there to learn what they could from one another. A Pizza Exchange!
  • ·      School! And a SCHOOL! A school of pizza posturing, teaching invaluable skills of crust and cheese and pizza precision.
  • ·      He checked his internal spreadsheet – not yet color coded, the hue codes would come with the MBA - but roughened out enough to reckon the rate of success. Yes, yes, Pizza Africa, School of Tossing Dough.
  • ·      In his head, the place was already built: shining, shimmering, dazzling in the African sun. It would be churning out graduate after graduate, tall and confident pizza chefs, filling both the countryside with discs of delectable culture, and his pockets with big, fat wads of dough.
  • ·      Creak. Slam. Someone came through the door, the unlocked building door, and clomped down the stairs.
  • ·      “JOHN! What the hell are you doing in the hallway?”
  • ·      Keys. He’d forgotten his keys. But the presenting situation was remote, now, whisked away in the surge of pizza planning.
  • ·      “Oh, right, my keys are inside. But anyway, the spreadsheets will be green and blue, I think, but I have to check on that. And pizza is universal, right? I think the school will take the longest but we can start on the others right away. Papa John’s has a great campaign. I bet the yield for each one of these door hangers is something like .5%, yeah? Before tax, I guess. And that’s what really matters, because there are no pizza taxes in Africa. Hell, there are no pizzas in Africa! This is going to be great!”
  • ·      “No, seriously, John, what the hell are you doing in the hallway? And why is the carpet all puddly? Is that ICE CREAM?”
  • ·      ICE CREAM! Pizza AND Ice Cream! This was going to be great.
  • ·      Keys. He’d forgotten his keys.