A tumblr I follow posted this, I got inspired (see the bottom of the post) and I hadn’t done a freewrite in a while, so… yeah.
Find this same story on my tumblr here.
I had a bit of fun writing this, and I hope you have as much fun reading it. 🙂
Emmet read over the order carefully. Then again. He lowered the printout, rubbed his temples, blinked several times, then raised the printout to read it again. It hadn’t changed.
“Hey Em! Get a move on or you’ll lose the order. 30-minute guarantee, remember?” Lucas was shouting at him from his post by the pizza oven, the words growling out of his barrel chest.
Emmet could only look at him in dismay. “Uh, when a customer puts in an order, how, uh, strictly do we have to follow the special instructions?”
Lucas frowned. “Pizza’s already done, isn’t it? What, they want a stupid joke on the inside?” He pondered for a moment. “How about, ‘What’s worse than raining cats and dogs?’”
“This.” Emmet replied.
“No, it’s ‘Hailing taxis!’” Lucas doubled over, laughing at his own joke.
“No seriously, read this.” Emmet shoved the piece of paper at the balding chef.
Lucas rolled his eyes but read the paper. He paused, scratched the stubble on his chin, and read it again. “Uh… yeah… your call.”
Lucas shrugged and inched back to the oven. “It clearly asks for a pizza deliveryman to do it. I just make the pizzas – you deliver them.”
Emmet sighed and ran his hand through his hair in frustration. The warmth and humidity left it standing straight up. “I better get going…”
He collected the pizza boxes off the counter, slid them into a bag, and tromped out to his car. He settled the pizzas on the passenger side, with the order printout on top, then took his place in the driver seat. He checked the printout one last time, hoping he’d slipped into an alternate universe on the way to the car and the paper had changed.
Order Number: 88902-0076
49 Marigold Lane
Lg Pepperoni pizza. …………………………………..Qty: 1…..5.99
Med Cheese pizza. ………………….…………….Qty: 1…..4.99
– Added peppers…………………………………………….0.25
Six (6) breadsticks. ……………………………………Qty: 1….4.95
Kill Brutus – he lives next door, in 47 Marigold. Will pay cold hard cash, in small bills. If interrogated I will totally not rat you out.
Emmet thumped his head on the steering wheel in frustration, causing the horn to beep. After a long moment he put the keys in the ignition.
Number 49 Marigold Drive was in a quiet part of town, away from the university. It was an old house with a wraparound porch, with overgrown flowerbeds in place of a front lawn. Between the weeds peeked a few lawn gnomes with cracked and peeling paint, and near the house was a dry birdbath. Next door, 47 Marigold Lane was a tiny little cottage-like affair with a neatly cut lawn and a white picket fence. As he parked the car, Emmet could just hear some raucous parties in the direction of the university, still going in the late night. For once he actually wished he was delivering to a frat house. He killed the engine, collected the bag of pizza boxes from the passenger seat, and then stood tapping his foot on the pavement as he tried to figure out what to do.
It must be a joke, right? The customer wasn’t actually asking him to kill someone, were they? What if they were? Could he actually do it? No, he couldn’t murder someone, certainly not just because someone had asked him to in the “special instructions” section of a pizza order.
Emmet shifted the bag from one arm to the other and considered the two houses in front of him. He wondered vaguely whether the customer expected him to take out the mark before or after he delivered the pizzas. Probably before. He shook his head – he wasn’t seriously considering this, was he?
His feet started moving toward the houses slowly as his thoughts ran ever faster. Maybe the customer was some sort of mob boss, down on his luck and resorting to pizza delivery boys to be his hitmen. Or maybe this “Brutus” was the mob boss, and the neighbor knew the police were bribed not to touch them, so was hiring an outside man. No, that didn’t make any sense – he’d have called a professional, right? Emmet wondered how you’d find a professional hitman anyway – phone book? Google? Craigslist?
He stopped in front of the property line, eyes flicking back and forth between the houses. He fidgeted. He shifted the bag again. He took a deep breath, but before he could take a step in either direction, a side door on 47 Marigold Lane banged open.
A woman’s voice called out into the night, “And stay out there until you learn not to poop on mommy’s new rug!” A small ball of fur was ejected into the lawn, and the door slammed shut.
Emmet froze, watching the ball of fur. It stayed perfectly still for an instant, then suddenly popped up and revealed itself to be a small, fluffy dog. The dog sniffed the air, then started up a high-pitched bark.
“Great.” Emmet muttered. “Even better. Not only have I been contracted for a hit via pizza order, but now I’ve got to listen to that while I figure out what to do.”
Either the dog heard him or just finally smelled the pizza he was carrying, because it jerked sharply then made a beeline for Emmet. It hit the fence with a small thump, momentarily silencing his barking, but it wasn’t long before he rolled over and started up again.
Emmet grimaced and looked at the house, seeing if anyone would check to see what the dog was barking at. After about a minute in which nothing happened, he looked back at the dog. “Uh…hi there. Nice boy.”
The dog kept barking. Emmet balanced his bag on one arm and bent down with his free hand to pet the dog. Its barking subsided into a growl as it sniffed his hand. Then it opened its tiny maw and sank a row of pearly white teeth into his sleeve.
“Hey!” Emmet cried out, more in shock than in pain – the dog’s fangs had thankfully only grazed his wrist as it buried them in his jacket. He lifted his arm, attempting to shake the dog off, but the little fluffball held on gamely. He stood there, pizzas on one arm, tiny dog on the other, wondering what exactly he had done to the universe to deserve this.
“Bad dog!” he tried. “Bad, bad, bad dog! Drop it!”
The dog just growled.
Emmet sighed and tried a different approach. “Look, why don’t you just go back to yapping in your little corner of the lawn, and I won’t carry out the hit on your owner. I drop the pizzas on the neighbor’s porch and run and everyone goes home happy, alright?”
The dog gave him a look that could only be described as “are you kidding me?”
He tried again. “Look, puppy, I’ve been sent to rub out the guy who lives here – what makes you think I wouldn’t take out a rat like you?”The dog’s look of incredulity persisted, and Emmet sighed. “Yeah, I don’t buy it either.”
He craned his head around his arm to read the dog’s tag. “C’mon, just let the sleeve go. Be a good boy, uh…” he stopped as the streetlight reflected off the tag and illuminated the name. “Oh. Oh you have got to be kidding me.”
The tag was a little pink metal heart. Printed in flowery little script on a tag was the name Brutus.
Emmet rang the doorbell of 49 Marigold Lane and rocked back and forth on his heels, making the old wood of the porch creak.
After a minute the big front door opened, revealing a wrinkly old man in a stained shirt. “Well?” he asked.
Emmet unzipped the bag and produced three boxes. “Pizza’s here!” he said cheerily.
The man – Larry Smith, if he’d used his real name on the order form – gave him a sidelong look. “And the… special instructions?”
“All taken care of!” Emmet said, trying not to let his nervousness affect his cheery tone.
Larry nodded. “Good, good…” he tilted his head to the side, listening. “Ah, yeah, that damn dog is finally quiet. Eh heh heh…erm, I don’t actually have a lot to pay for it. Wasn’t sure how much these things usually cost.”
“Uh, well, I’m actually a bit late due to the, uh, special request. How about we pretend I was here within a half hour, you pay for the pizzas and we’ll call it a wash?”
Larry smiled a broken-toothed grin. “Yeah, yeah that’ll work. Here.” He forked over a 20 and some change, mumbling something about wishing he could give a bigger tip.
“No, no, it’s fine, everything’s fine.” Emmet swallowed to keep his voice from quavering. “Just. Fine.”
Larry raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. He checked the boxes and frowned. “Hey, there’s only 5 breadsticks. Isn’t there supposed to be 6?”
“Is there?” Emmet began to sweat. “Cooks must have missed one. Uh, I can go back and get another…”
“No, no,” Larry said, shutting the box and leaning out to glance around the street nervously. “Best not to look suspicious. It’s fine.”
“Yup!” Emmet said, slowly backing away. “Fine. Fine fine fine. Super fine.” He swallowed again. “I’m gonna go now.”
And with that he took off, past the dry birdbath, past the weathered lawn gnomes, past the overgrown flowerbeds, away from 49 Marigold Lane and past 47 Marigold Lane.
Past a white picket fence, behind which a small dog was temporarily silent as it tore into a tough breadstick.
Emmet threw himself into his car and jammed his key into the ignition and roared off down the street, silently praying his next delivery would be a nice, normal, frat party.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!