Title: Pizza From The Glowing Box Of Lies
Author: Mikhail Plungis
Summary: One man’s quest to find life, love, happiness, and olives. His is a tale that moves us all.
I opened the refrigerator door to find nothing. Yes, there was juice, milk, eggs, cheese, meat, bread, and even a beer, but I lacked the most important thing.
There was no pizza.
Specifically, Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Awesome Pizza. Moved by the barren wasteland that occupied my fridge, I fell to my knees and wept. In a desperate attempt to pull myself together from this most heinous of injustices, I retraced my steps.
It really was all commercials. I was vaguely aware that between them was a kind of white noise, and occasional laughter without any apparent cause. But what caught my eye was the commercials.
Specifically, Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Awesome Pizza. Covered in pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, sausage, cheese , olives, onions, green peppers, anchovies, olives, and olives. And pepperoni. And olives. I wanted it. The pictures showed glistening oceans of amber grease covering the reefs of pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, sausage, cheese, olives, onions, green peppers, with shoals of anchovies swimming lethargically throughout.
I hate olives. I think I’m allergic. Even if I wasn’t, they taste awful. I’m really not a fan of mushrooms, sausage, olives, onions, green peppers or anchovies either. Pepperoni I’m indifferent to. But it was all beautiful. On the dim light of the TV in the dark room, Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Awesome Radical Pizza was a work of art. The oceans, the reef- even the olives! -were all gorgeous, wonderful treasures, just waiting to be found in my refrigerator, then cooked for just fifteen minutes in the oven I did not own, and eaten by the smiling, happy family that I did not have.
Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Awesome Gnarly Pizza was all I ever wanted, everything I ever needed, and at my grocery store for $5.99. And it was even fat free, which I believe is some variety of lie.
I began to think then about the nature of lies. The one I had encountered was a benign one, but a lie nonetheless. After all, there is a wide range, not all of which evil. There are the lies we tell ourselves, that prevent us from becoming better people, wasting time and energy when we are fine the way we are. There are the lies that keep marriages together, and the lies that convince people to partake of Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Xtreme Pizza. All exist in a sort of gray area, as they are deceptive, but allow the world to be a happier, safer place. After all, without them, what do we have? Just the sad, ugly truth that we are all generally worthless people with worthless lives, that our loved ones stopped loving us long ago, and that eating sand would be more nutritious than Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Ludacris Pizza, even with the olives.
What harm is there in living a lie that makes you happy? The truth, after all, is merely the lies we choose to believe. Having attained inner peace, I was now safe to love Giuseppe di Borgia’s Ovenready Superfresh Glorious Pizza. Even with the olives.
Sometime during this experience, I was vaguely aware of the commercials ending and the white noise beginning. I seemed to recall this being a show I liked, and so I decided to pay attention. One of the vapid characters had cheated on their bland spouse. “Oh no. How could you?” was what I supposed to think, so that’s what I thought. Then, the scene was over, and the white noise stopped. Once again I was immersed in the happy family, the oceans of grease, and shoals of anchovies, fleeing in terror of marauding olives. The family was smiling and laughing. How could they not?
It was fat free.
This time the longing was too much. I stood up. “That’s it!” I said to the empty room. “I’m getting that pizza!”
“Cool,” said my girlfriend. “I was just getting hungry.” With my life now filled with purpose, I crossed over our one room, to the refrigerator in the kitchenette, and fell to the ground and cried.
There was no pizza of any kind, much less Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Tubular Pizza. How could life be so cruel? What unforgivable crime had I committed, that karma might see fit to award me such a dismal, hopeless fate? There was no God, and the God that wasn’t real was dead, and this was by a wide margin the worst thing that had ever happened to anyone, ever. No pizza. None at all. Not even a single olive.
Slowly, the realization dawned on me that I had never bought any. Indeed, I had only learned of the majesty that was Saint Giuseppe di Borgia’s Heavenly Celestial Fat Free Pizza very recently. Within the hour, in fact. There was still hope! If I could get a few blocks down, to the grocery store, I too could dine on pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, sausage, cheese, olives, onions, green peppers, anchovies, and olives with my happy family. The drive would be only a minute, 30 seconds if I didn’t stop at red lights. Finally, happiness was in my grasp!
Outside it was dark. I had no idea how late it was, but there weren’t any cars on the street, meaning that I wouldn’t have to weave in and out of traffic. The plan was falling into place. My heart aflutter with glee, I pulled triumphantly out of the parking lot, and down the few blocks that separated me from Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Olive Pizza. But as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, my heart sank. The store was closed. I checked the dashboard clock.
Three AM. Damn it.
Luckily, my resolve was unbreakable. I did what I had to do. As the speeding car raced toward the grocery store entrance, I threw open the doors and jumped for dear life. The forsaken automobile sped forward, smashing through glass and metal, and setting off several alarms.
My glorious prize within reach, I followed my now-destroyed car through the convenient new 24-hour entrance the store had so desperately needed. Within were rows upon rows of healthy, nutritious food. But on the far end, past all that worthless garbage, there was the frozen food aisle. It was there that I found my prize.
There, nestled between Digiorno’s, Red Baron, and other false gods whose commercials I hadn’t seen since last week, was Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Awesome Tubular Glorious Heavenly Fat-free Olive Pizza. I grabbed as many of them as I could, and with a feeling that bordered on ecstasy, I sprinted back to my apartment building, running past my wrecked car and people in nearby houses waking up and wondering what on earth was going on this late at night. Police cars came, and they probably saw my license plate, but I didn’t care. I had what I came for. I had pepperoni, olives, sausage, cheese, olives, onions, green peppers, anchovies, and olives.
My ordeal finally complete, I shoved one of Giuseppe di Borgia’s pizzas into the microwave. It wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t need it to be. I didn’t need the happy family, or the nice house from the commercial. All I needed was the pepperoni, olives, sausage, cheese, olives, onions, green peppers, anchovies, and olives. Olives? Who had I been kidding? How could I possibly lie to myself like that? Of course I wasn’t allergic. And I love them! They’re on Giuseppe di Borgia’s Superfresh Ovenready Awesome Pizza! After the moist, greasy wad that was once a pizza emerged from its fifteen minutes in the microwave, I devoured it, and felt as if my life was complete. The pepperoni, the olives- the olives! How I cursed my folly. They were delicious, part of a stupendous whole!
…is what I thought, as I fell to the ground.
I wake now in a hospital bed. In hindsight, the olives may have been a mistake. Now there is no TV, just a window to a nearby park. I can’t change the channel, only close a blind to turn it off. There are no ads, no white noise. Out there, there are no lies, just people living their lives. But they don’t need any lies to sell that. It looks pretty nice from in here.