The pizza pickup truck I’m driving rattles as it crunches over snow chunks. The springs are stiff, the steering is loose, and at any moment a wheel could come undone from its axle.
Holiday season is in full swing, students are home from school and the New Jersey radio stations are playing Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song.
I’m in an upscale neighborhood where they hire people to shovel their sidewalks. I find the house and park the truck. I grab the two-liter bottle of diet Coke and run to the back ovens to get the pizza and garlic bread. I hustle up to the door. It’s a balancing act but I manage to ring the bell.
No one answers. A gust of cold air blows up my jacket giving me the chills deep into my bones. I ring the bell again. A girl's voice shouts from behind the door.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming already.”
The thick wood door opens and the girl is standing with her arms crossed over her high pointy chest. She’s in her mid-twenties and looks like those actresses you see in the black and white films when women had classic beauty instead of big tits. She is lovely.
“It’s about time you fucking got here,” the girl says. “It’s been more than a half hour. Do we get it free now?”
“No. We don’t do that. That’s Domino’s I think.”
“Hang on. I got a coupon,” she says slamming the thick door.
My brittle fingers hold the hot food. Steam comes out the sides of the pizza box. My breath is visible. Snow blows around me.
The girl reopens the door. She grabs the food and soda. “It better not be cold,” she says.
“We keep it in ovens,” I tell her. To show that I’m human I have to say something to stick up for myself. But I’m a coward dwarfed by her beauty so under my breath I add, “if you would have let me in and didn’t keep me waiting it wouldn’t have been.”
“What did you say?”
“Nothing. It shouldn’t be cold.”
“Here’s a two dollar coupon.” The girl counts out twelve dollars and slams the door.
I look at that big heavy door. The division of wealth always went hand in fist with the lack of compassion when it comes to money. But this isn’t some far away fairy tale where there are kings and princes and evil stepmothers that ruin people's lives. This is New Jersey and we only live ten miles apart.
I turn to walk away and bump into a middle-aged couple. They smell of eggnog and pine needles. The man has a lush cashmere scarf wrapped around his fine black cashmere winter coat. The woman has an almost life-size broach of a wreath on her chest and glossy candy cane lipstick on. The parents are home.
“What did you say?” the man asks.
“I think you called my daughter a bitch,” says the man.
“It was a fucking bitch, dear,” helps the man’s wife.
I walk away. There is only one more delivery left. I really want this night to end. I can’t wait to get to the Blue Rose.
“Young man I want your name.”
“That’s not a very pleasant attitude now is it? Some people just don’t have the Christmas spirit,” the mom of the fucking bitch says.
“Your daughter ripped me off seventy-five cents, not even a tip,” I say walking back to the truck. “I love how you people can afford winter vacations in Florida and spend the summers at the beaches and not have enough to tip a dollar.”
I’m a foot from the pick-up when a snowball pelts me in the back of my head. It knocks my hat off and snow gets down the space between my scarf and skin.
“You got the Grinch dear!” yells the woman.
I swing around and pick up a snowball. I fire it at the man but the couple escapes behind the thick wood door. I’m too slow. The snowball splatters against the outer glass. I was never good at sports. From behind the comfort of the bay window the daughter gives me the finger.