Searching for Peace (a story about pizza) (and peanut butter) (on hot dogs)

Hot Dog-2

“So, Biff,” said the fox. “Where are we off to now?”

“I’m not sure,” I said. “Any suggestions?”

“You’re asking moi for advice, Biff?” said the fox.

“No, Fox…I’m asking that crack in the wall behind you,” I said, with great relish. And mustard. And peanut butter. (I worked with a guy, a long time ago, who put peanut butter on his hot dogs. Gross.)

“I’m sensing a lot of animosity in you lately, Biff,” said the fox.

“It’s Christmas. It brings out the worst in us,” I said.

“I don’t think you really believe that, Biff,” said the fox. “I know how much to love to stare at the decorations and be still with your soul when everybody else is in bed.”

“Not putting a tree up,” I said.

“OK, Biff,” said the fox. “You want moi’s suggestion?”

“Kind of interested in what the crack in the wall has to say,” I said.

“I’m going to ignore that because I know you don’t mean it,” said the fox. “So…let’s go to the beginning.”

I thought about this and it occurred to me that maybe the fox had an idea. So, I rubbed my new worry stone and presto…I was at the beginning. And…oh shit…

Yesterday morning, I woke up and decided it was time to search for peace. It had to be somewhere. I started in the kitchen, looking inside jars and bottles, under the table, in the cabinets and down the drain. I didn’t find peace, but I found some leftover pizza. Yum.

“That’s where this search began,” I said. “We’re right back where we started. Shit. I was expecting something a little more esoteric, something like universe’s exploding into being, ancient columns stretching into the red timeless sky…you know…shit like that.”

“Hey, Biff,” said the fox. “You know as well as I do that it’s always a good thing to return to beginnings when the story starts hitting too many potholes. It keeps the boat straight.”

“Fox,” I said. “I have no idea what that means.”

“Hmm…me too,” said the fox. “Try reading it again.”

So I read the stuff I’d written a few weeks ago and it occurred to me that this whole thing had started with me finding pizza. I love pizza. It’s one of those things that can adapt to infinite tastes. Almost like a canvas or an empty screen, and you create a new one with every mixture of and combination of toppings.

“Biff! You’ve got it!” said the fox. “Life is pizza!”

“Yeah!” I said. “Pizza! Pizza is PEACE.”

And suddenly everything made sense. Life is pizza. Pizza is peace Really. Think of it. How many possible toppings and combinations are there for a pizza? Salami and pepperoni, mushrooms and cheese are just the beginnings. I’ll bet some people would eat peanut butter on a pizza. (Gross.) (Not that I mind people putting peanut butter their pizzas. I know people who put it on their hotdogs.) (Still….gross.) I rubbed my worry stone a little more and I was suddenly standing on a plain of pizza dough. It spread, golden and moist into every horizon. It spread beyond the horizons, oozing into the viaducts of infinity. It spread across an ocean of possibilities. It was as deep as the earth. I was standing on the past, present and future of all the…

“Did you hear that, Biff?”

“Yeah, fox, I did,” I said. “I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like it…interrupting my pizza dough reverie. There it is again.”

The fox looked up. I looked up. The sky was deep blue, stretching into…you know…the horizon thing. But it appeared to be split right over us, a giant gash in the sky, something like when you see war movies with some guy lying on the ground with his stomach sliced open and his intestines spilling hopelessly out of his body. Something like that.

“Holy shit, Biff,” said the fox.

“Ditto that, fox,” I said.

It gurgled out of the gash in the sky in spits and spurts at first and turned into something like vomit from the bowels of hell. It was every pizza possibility of all time: pepperoni, salami, chedder cheese, mozzarella cheese, peanut butter, bananas, ham, pineapple, tomato sauce, anchovies, bacon, hot peppers, goat cheese, red onions, ground beef, chicken, apple, tuna, roma tomatoes, zucchini, hot banana peppers, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, sliced wieners, chicken beaks, orange slices, pomegranates, moose meat, pork chops, vitamin pills, lost souls, late trains, overdue promises, missed chances, long goodbyes, passings on the sidewalk of something that might have been beautiful, the color red spreading over a symphony of regret, guilty eyes rising like moons of darkness in the blue sky, songs from the beat of drums around midnight fires, whispers gliding through hot breezes, fingers losing their grip around a thread of truth, minds blazing into full realizations, sorrow spilling like sweat across the keyboard, joy sinking into the skin like the roots of a tree searching for a last outpost of…what?

I was sinking in toppings. The fox was sinking in toppings. Drowning in toppings. Awash in toppings. Battered and bruised by toppings. Kicked in the stomach and bashed over the head by toppings.

“Hey, Biff,” said the fox.

“Yeah, fox,” I said.

“Pizza analogy didn’t work,” said the fox.

“No kidding.” I said.

“What now?” said the fox. “And better make it quick…I’m drowning in pizza toppings.”

“The middle?” I said.

“You’re still searching for peace?” said the fox.

“Nothing better to do at the moment, fox,” I said.

“But, Biff…it doesn’t get any better than pizza,” said the fox. “If we could just get a menu and order a few less toppings.”

“I like my new worry stone,” I said. “Maybe we’ll let the stone find a good place in the middle.”

(To be continued. Without pizza.)

(And peanut butter.)

“Aw, shit, Biff,” said the fox.

“Language, fox,” I said.

“Yeah, look who’s talking,” said the fox.

“I didn’t hear that.”