My story starts in a pizza emporium and ends in a shopping centre
car park, with something sad and happy finishing it off at the
same time. It starts with me wondering whose foot is nudging me
in the ribs, and smelling cracked pepper.
I woke up wondering whose foot was nudging me in the ribs, and I
smelt cracked pepper. My side was sore, presumably from the bare
foot at the side of the table, which was kicking at me, in short,
five-centimetre bounces. The foot had turquoise nail polish on
it, and a few bunions, which was enough to make me stand
I banged my head on a wooden table, and yelped. After this, I
woke up again, but not in the actual waking up sense, but in the
sense that I almost knew where I was.
A napkin under the table read; Pizza Hut of Broken Dreams. The
tale above me was shaking back and forth, and bending on its
metal centre. Two bodies above me were obviously making this
occurrence happen, and as I listened harder, I heard one humming
and slapping the table wildly, while the other was kicking em in
4/4 time and playing a ukulele. I could pick out a few words of
Alicia, do you need a shoulder?
A strong one to be your boulder?
Do you want to kick a can, do you want to find a man?
Do you want a skirt in colours that are bolder?
Sway, sway, Alicia, sway,
Sway, sway, Alicia.
It was now I decided to come out from under the table. I could
not bear the song any more, and a large, cornflower-blue bruise
had appeared between my hip and my shoulder.
Things did not make more sense as I stood up.
The two people who were singing and playing were a rather obese
woman with over fourteen lei's on, and a muscular man with a
tiny, blue guitar and dreadlocks. They both had olive skin, and
were starting to get faster and faster in their song, until all
you could hear was,
After they had finished their song, a man behind me clapped
slowly but politely. He was a tall man in a grey pinstripe suit,
with pink, orange and yellow stripes, and his suit had a Rose in
the lapel. His hair was dark and spiky, with peaks like the type
you get after whipping cream. When he spoke, he had an English,
almost cockney accent.
"Very good, very good. Although, technically, "boulder" doesn't
rhyme with "bolder".
"Why not?" said a girl who I hadn't noticed until then, which was
peculiar because she was quite distinctive. She had a black
newsboy cap on, which was hard to distinguish from her raven
black hair, apart from the white lightning bolt earrings she had.
Her clothes were black, but you could barely see that; they were
covered in badges. Badges from various organisations, badges that
were simply one colour, badges that flashed and glowed in the
dark. She was obviously of Asian heritage, and had a neon smile
that seemed to make you feel like she was your best friend.
"Why not?" she asked again. "They both end with "older", don't
they?" She then lifted a badge on her wrist that said, "Give me a
"Well, that's exactly the point," said the suit, holding a cup of
exotic-smelling coffee in mid-air. "They don't rhyme because
they're different words. It's like "me" and "me" don't rhyme;
they're exactly the same thing."
The two musicians, who were not listening to the fight, were
simply looking at each other. The obese woman finally spoke,
after twirling pink-and-purple lei around her finger.
"She's gone, boy. Let her go."
The man did not seem fazed by this, but instead shook his head
sleepily, and spoke as if in a dream.
"No, she isn't. I bet she's out there, just tapping her feet,
waiting for me."
I looked at them both with my mouth slightly open for a while
before the woman turned to face me.
"He's going through the six stages of grievance, luv. After
Alicia, he hasn't been the same."
"Alicia?" I asked dumbfounded.
"Our steel drum player."
I don't know how to respond to something like that, so I say
something clichéd, but warm.
"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that she passed away."
"She didn't pass away, luv. She quit. Y'see, we're a traditional
Hawaiian Hula band. The Cabo's."
The British man chugged down his coffee, in a hurry to say
something to them.
"Yes, apart from the fact that you are half Caribbean."
The muscled man raised an eyebrow. "Wait, Caribbean and Hawaiian
are different things?"
A decrepit old woman with a large mop of white hair came dashing
out of the door in the counter, carrying an enormous plate the
size of a BMX wheel, and on it, an even larger pizza covered in,
what looked like, peanut butter and Coca Cola.
"Coming through! Entrance in twenty seconds! Out of the way, out
of the way!"
Nobody made any effort to move, but instead lifted up their
glasses of various beverages without looking down, and continued
I sat down in an empty booth, and felt my head slowly depress. I
decided to ask a few questions.
"Who are you?"
The badge-bedecked girl raised one finely shaped eyebrow, then
pulled at a badge on her shoulder that read, "Duh!"
"You expect me to know? I don't know anybody's name here. Heck, I
think I've forgotten my name. And I don't know yours. But I don't
think I want to. Don't feel offended, It's just…this is the only
place some of us can go. We might have done bad things, we might
be doing bad things, or we might be searching for good things,
The bell at the door rang loudly as another man burst in. Before
I could see what he looked like, he let out a flurry of words,
while sitting down and, apparently, munching his way through half
the enormous pizza.
"Oh, man, am I hungry. I've been searching all morning. And all
night. Had to keep myself awake with twelve cups of coffee.
That's a record even for you, right? Am I right, man?" he said,
looking at the suited Brit and nodding his head.
"No. My record's 108."
"Yeah, well…anyway, this place in the centre, they give out
pizzas that are, what, the size of a two-buck coin, and I was
like, what the heck? You expect me to not want more than twenty
of these? They kicked me out later on, and there was this other
guy in the street, and he was all, "you're gonna get diabetes, or
you're gonna have a heart attack, live life" and I was all,
"dude, don't snap your crayons, I'm fine, I run from place to
place every night, that has to be some kind of weight-loss."
After he settled down for a while, I saw that he, too, was a
strange personage. He was wearing layers and layers of many
different types of clothes, but they were all torn, stained,
tattered or scorched in some way. He had a wide-brimmed Akubra
hat on, and wild eyes, crazed, but with a tad of irony in them.
"So…you didn't find it?"
"Nope," said the newcomer. "But this…"
He finished the last bite on the pizza.
"No. No, I'm sorry, all, but this is not the perfect pizza."
The girl with the lightning bolt earring leant in to whisper to
"That's…uh, I don't know who he is, but his life mission is to
find the perfect pizza. He looks for food like a Segal. Every day
he comes here, just like the rest of us, and the chef cooks up a
random pizza for him to taste, in hope that it'll be the best
pizza he's ever tasted. We all kinda root for him now, we want
him to find it. And at twelve-o-clock p.m., he goes to all the
other restaurants in the city, looking for it elsewhere. He's
She gestured to badge on her hat that read, "I've been
There was a moment of silence as the woman with the lei's patted
the dreadlock-ed man's shoulder, just as the song stated.
"She's out there", he said, while chewing a piece of salad.
"Alicia. She's out there."
I didn't want to ask any more questions. I wanted to run, and run
back to where I came from. I didn't know where I came from…but I
did run. I ran to the nearest light; a castle.
It was the "Sir $ave-a-lot's Grab N' Buy" logo, but I had seen it
before, and I knew that it was one thing I was familiar with. But
how? What had this had to do with my past?
Where had I come from?
The night before had been rainy, so the car park was wet, and
shiny, like the slimy back of whale. Wherever I walked, tiny,
slapping sounds appeared as well as quiet sprays of water, flying
up off the ground and into my hair.
I kicked the ground angrily, sending a minituare tsunami up ,
then into harmless sprinkles back where they started.
It hit me. I had to be like the rain. I was hurt, and rebuilt,
and I would find somewhere that was a sanctuary.
I had to be like the "perfect pizza" man, I had to brave any
condition until something hit home.
I had to be like the man with the ukulele, and keep telling
myself that I'd get what I wanted.
I had to learn to fly.
And with the gaudily coloured castle of Sir $ave-a-lot's behind
me, it was easier to take flight than I thought.
I was far, far away from the Pizza Hut Of Broken Dreams.