Marcus Jackson was on his way back to Pizza Cellar, after making his latest delivery, when he noticed a big crowd gathered around the entrance. He hoped that whatever was going on there didn’t make him forget to do what he needed to do when he got back inside. After all, it wasn’t every day that he came across big tippers and he wanted to be sure to mark that address in the computer so he would get the delivery the next time they called. As he got closer to the crowd, he heard the voice of one man yelling. Because of the crowd, and the other ambient noise from the street, he couldn’t hear what was being said. Rolling his eyes, he kept on walking because he needed to get back to work.
He began pushing his way through the crowd and finally saw who was making all of the ruckus. It was a fat guy in tights. Marcus recognized him as the superhero he had seen on the news a few times. Whenever they did a story on him, he always laughed because he thought it humorous that he was in better shape than a superhero. Then again, he was in better shape than most people. Not as good a shape as he had been when he was a star football player in high school, but the knee injury that ended his playing career had made it harder for him to stay in the physique of his youth.
His hand was reaching out for the front door when the superhero stepped in front of him. “I’m sorry, good citizen,” the hero said, “but I can’t let you in there. This is a place of evil.”
Looking around the crowd, Marcus saw some of their regular customers, so he knew he’d have to be careful here. He didn’t want to say anything that could get him in trouble, so he switched over to customer service mode. “I’m sorry that you have a problem with our company, sir,” he apologized. “If you’ll just let me pass, I will be happy to go get my manager who will be more able to help you with your complaint.”
Marcus was surprised he was able to get all of that out without laughing in the man’s face. The hero shook his head and exclaimed, “I don’t need your manager out here to tell you what is wrong with this place. This,” he yelled as he pointed at one of the signs in the window, “is what’s wrong with this place.”
Marcus looked at the sign that the hero indicated and immediately became confused. “Sir, that sign says ’30 minutes or less’. How is that a problem?”
“Hang on,” the hero said. “Excuse me. Hey, you up there? Why am I being called ‘the’ hero and not ‘our’ hero? What gives?”
Not believing what he was seeing, Marcus looked around at the crowd to see how they were reacting to this crazy behavior. Other than him, however, nobody else seemed to notice. In fact, the crowd itself was acting strange. It was like they were going out of their way to not draw attention to themselves, as if they were extras in a movie, or something. The hero began talking to the voices above his head again. Maybe he thinks he’s talking to God, he thought.
“What do you mean, ‘the narrator is on vacation’? Why does that bastard even get a vacation? All he does is talk. Even I wouldn’t need a vacation after that job. He said what? Wait, he said that it was a vacation away from me and not the job? Oh, fuck him!”
The crazy man in tights stopped talking to himself for a minute and started looking around. “You turned the cameras off, right? Shit! You were supposed to turn the cameras off when I told you to hold on. Because now I’m on camera saying ‘fuck’. I’m not supposed to be on camera saying ‘fuck’. I’m a superhero. Superheroes aren’t supposed to be saying ‘fuck’. Superheroes are supposed to say things like, ‘I’m sorry, good citizen’. That’s it. I’m done. We’ll pick this up next week when the damn narrator gets back.”
Turning to Marcus, the hero said, “Look, I’m sorry about that, man. We’ll get it right next time.”
“Who the hell are you, you crazy-ass cracker? And what the hell is going on here?”
“Cracker! Ha! That’s classic. Is it cause I’m white? Ha! That’s great. I guess I’ll have to come up with a nickname for you before next week now, though. Hmm, I suppose it would be culturally insensitive if my nickname for you had to do with the fact that you’re African-American, wouldn’t it? How about Delivery-oso? Or Pizza Man?”
When Marcus didn’t respond, the man in tights answered himself, “You’re right. Those are both pretty lame. Oh, well. I have all week to think of a good one.”
“What the hell is going on here,” Marcus demanded again.
“Oh, well I was supposed to tell you that your company was evil because they put time constraints on you. You were supposed to act like I was crazy. Your boss was then going to come out, me and him were going to fight, and, in the end, nothing would get accomplished. That, however is being postponed until next week when my narrator gets back from vacation.
Say, since we now have all this free time, you want to come hang out at my place? I got a hooker there who’s just dying to try out a new ‘faster than a speeding bullet’ joke. I’ll let you have her after I’m done. I paid for an hour, so that’s 58 minutes you’ll have with her. Oh, and if my mom says anything to you, just ignore her and let me handle it.”
Without another word, Marcus rushed into the Pizza Cellar and ran into the backroom. He forgot all about putting a mark on that address because he was too busy asking his manager for time off…one week from today.