Keno eyed the uniform with a sigh of resignation. This wasn't exactly how he'd pictured his homecoming. Not that he wasn't happy to be back. He'd been stuck with his grandparents for almost two years. He loved them dearly, but any more time living in their senior community and he would have lost it.
The funny thing was that he'd only planned to visit for a long weekend. And then the invasion happened. He thought he'd go home after the aliens mysteriously vanished months later, but his parents had told him to stay, while they worked through some…issues.
He'd never know exactly what happened because not mentioning it ever was rule number one, but it must have been bad. They were still jumpy and paranoid and both had needed to transfer to less stressful jobs. Also less lucrative jobs. Hence his current situation if her ever hoped to attend college.
Still it was good to be home. He caught a whiff of stale pizza grease wafting off of his uniform. Well maybe not that good.
He finally sucked it up and put the uniform on. Pizza delivery might not be the most glamorous part time job, but at least he'd mostly be out and about. The idea of being stuck inside a fast food restaurant for hours on end made his stomach twist. It could always be worse.
Now dressed, he left the employee locker room to meet the senior delivery guy who was supposed to be training him. How much training could this job possibly require? Don't drop the pizzas and find the address within twenty minutes without breaking too many traffic laws. What else was there?
He was actually waiting outside by the bikes with a stack of pizza boxes and looked more nervous and twitchy than Keno's parents, if that were possible. He started a greeting, but stopped as he realized that he didn't know how to address the guy. Pizza delivery guy probably wasn't going to cut it. Mental note: learn co-worker's names.
"Beware the pizza monsters. They strike out of nowhere. Beware." Whatever Keno had been planning to say was gone. Of all things he was expecting during this orientation, that wasn't it. Ok, maybe he could just call him Captain Crazy then.
Before Keno could actually respond, the guy shoved part of the stack of boxes into Keno's hands before taking off on his own bike. Well that was a much shorter orientation than he'd been anticipating. Shorter and weirder. But at least it wasn't boring.
Atop the stack of pizza boxes were the keys to his delivery bike and a chit with the customer and address. It took him a minute to pull up the GPS on his phone and get a route. Easy. He'd be there in less than ten minutes.
Granted New York traffic was a little less manageable than he'd thought it would be but that was on him. It's New York. He should have known better. So it took more like twelve minutes after he started weaving between cars.
Grabbing the boxes, he ran up the steps to the townhouse and rang the bell. It took three rings in total before a disgruntled, middle aged man finally answered. Geez, the guy acted like he wasn't even expecting him.
"Pizza delivery." The man frowned.
"I didn't order any pizza."
"Well this is the address. It's for Hugh Jass." It took all of Keno's will power not to start swearing as the man glared down at him. Now that he'd said it out loud, he got the pun. In fact, he recognized that whoever had called, ripped it off of The Simpsons. Without responding, the guy slammed the door in his face.
Gritting his teeth, Keno returned to his bike with the pizza and began wheeling it back towards the road. He probably wasn't supposed to have parked on the sidewalk either. Was this going to come out of his paycheck? It wasn't his fault someone had pranked his work.
"Hey! Over here." Keno stopped as the voice coming out of the alley caught him off guard. What the heck? Against his better judgement, he went to go investigate. It was a bad idea, but he was curious. Besides, he could take care of himself.
Nothing. The alley was deserted. Had he imagined it? Frowning, he returned to his bike to find the pizza boxes gone. He'd been robbed! Now it definitely was coming out of his check!
"Haha! Stealth and misdirection!" The thief! He charged back into the alley after the voice.
"Get back here!"
"Oops!" He could barely make out the silhouette of the thief in the dim light and dove to tackle him, missing as the guy leapt impossibly high to grab onto a fire escape. Keno turned his momentum into a roll, but still rammed into the wall at the end of the alley.
Shaking it off, he now had three directions to pursue as the alley ran behind the buildings. Or, more likely, up, if the creep had really managed to get on the fire escape. Then he heard noises to his left. Clever.
Without giving himself a chance to second guess, he pursued the sound. It wasn't the pizza thief, but they were criminals. There were two guys with nylon stockings over their heads, hauling boxes out of the back of a store, the door obviously broken.
"Hey!" Two heads swiveled towards him and they dropped the box.
"What's this, a citizen's arrest?" Keno shrugged.
"Something like that. You gonna put that stuff back?" The men laughed and came at him, one with a crowbar and the other with fists. Keno caught the crowbar arm mid-swing, ducking under the attack and redirecting it into the other guy's solar plexus. He was down for the count.
Then he kicked the back of crowbar man's knees and hammer-fisted his temple as he dropped. Two for two.
"Did I mention I study martial arts?" He couldn't help boasting a bit, even if they were unconscious.
"Get the little punk!" Keno turned and his stomach dropped as twelve more guys poured out of the back of the store. This might be a bit more than he could handle on his own.
Suddenly pillowcase came down over his face and someone picked him up, then wedged him into what felt like a trash can as he thrashed violently to get free.
"Chill dude, you'll thank me later." That voice. Pizza thief!
"Arrgh." He cried out as he struggled, hearing the sounds of battle nearby. Finally tipped the trash can, spilling him out of it. Ripping the pillowcase, which smelled of things best not mention, off of his head, he looked around wildly.
All the nylon thieves were out cold. How? Remembering the fire escape, he looked up, scanning the rooftops and froze. Was that the silhouette of a…turtle person? Beware the pizza monster. No way. It wasn't possible. Then it was gone and he could hear the sirens.
Not wanting to explain his presence, he hightailed it back to his bike. Well, he was out four pizzas. Slamming his fist onto the carrier attached to the back of the bike, it tipped spilling out some wadded up cash. Enough for the pizzas and a modest tip. What?
Beware the pizza monster. Shut up Captain Crazy! And now there were voices arguing in his head. Great. But he wouldn't be so quick to dismiss urban legends anymore.
Leo glanced up from his episode of Space Heroes as Mikey hopped the turnstiles into the lair, balancing four pizza boxes.
"Got a little sidetracked. Dinner is served." Typical Mikey. Mikey launched the pizza boxes out to his brothers like Frisbees, then opened his own and inhaling deeply. Before digging in, he looked unusually thoughtful for a moment.
"You know, I think I'm really going to like the new pizza delivery guy. He's fun."
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