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Ingredients:

  • 2 generic brand frozen pizzas (preferably identical)
  • 1 handful of shredded cheese
  • As much of Austin’s pasta sauce as you can spoon out before it becomes noticeable

Preparation:

1.Get home from work at 11 P.M., 12 A.M., 3 A.M., or 7 A.M.

2. Turn on the TV to discover “The Chronicles of Riddick” is on TNT again.

3. Take the two pizzas from freezer and stare at clock in kitchen. Either preheat oven or determine it’s not too late to use the microwave, which is faster, but loud, and people may be sleeping.

4. Place pizzas into appropriately selected cooking device. Cook for time designated on box, plus one minute, because you don’t want to get sick like that one time. Stand and rock on your heels as pizzas cook, likely in just your underwear.

5. Take pizzas out of cooking device. While hot, quickly and furtively spoon out a bit of Austin’s already-open-and-therefore-kinda-fair-game Four Cheese pasta sauce onto the top of one pizza. Sprinkle one handful of shredded cheddar cheese onto the other pizza. Try to avoid eating 1-2 handfuls of shredded cheese in the process, and, of course, fail. Also fail to realize that your relationship with food is incredibly unhealthy and untenable in the long term.

6. Smash pizzas together quickly and confidently, so toppings/sauce/cheese are touching, with the skill and grace you only exhibit in situations where you’re being (short game or long game) incredibly self-destructive.

7. Exclaim “ITS-UH PEET-SUH SAND-UH-WICH!” in a regrettable Mario voice, loudly, to the empty kitchen, and perhaps the mice (seasonally dependent).

8. Immediately try to eat the Pizza Sandwich, which is clearly too hot, burning the skin off the inside of your cheeks and roof of your mouth.

9. Scramble to the refrigerator and snatch out a jug of milk that, through your pain and fear, still recognize doesn’t technically belong to you, but drink directly from it anyway. Upon swallowing, realize that, for the hundred and fiftieth time in your life, it will be impossible to eat anything comfortably for a period of three to five days, or even brush your teeth.

10. Be 21, or perhaps 22, rooming with four other guys in a Victorian house on a tree-lined, one-way street, an easy bike ride to downtown and/or campus, working three jobs, going to school, sleeping exclusively in either 2-hour fits or 18-hour gluts, full of life and hope and want in a way that fills future versions of yourself with hate and regret, growing the bones for a nostalgia so thick and cloying, looking back, you will think these moments in the semidark, poor in money, poor in love, poor in plans, rich only in friends and unwarranted self-belief, standing in your underwear in a moonlit kitchen, somehow certain that life owes you something, not just something, but something important, something great, you will look at these moments as the acme of your beauty, the ideal you should still seek, and trick yourself into believing, because you can remember how it felt to be there, wonder has not left you completely, so perhaps, if you were to just try, something as simple as two pizzas placed face-to-face will suddenly make you happy again, maybe forever, because once, in that grand sense of once, they could and they did and you had no reason to believe that their magic would ever fail, or that anything about you would ever change.

11. Watch “The Chronicles of Riddick,” as god intended.

Zach Straus

Zach Straus peaked at 15 and is mostly held together by masking tape.

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