Song of the Red-Legged Birds: Chapter 2: Into it
Chimera and a pizza
Last week, in chapter 1 we met Takeda and Triscuit.
Chapter 2: Into it
“Wipe that fackin happy look off yah face, yah simple muthafucka!” Ralph said from behind the worn and weathered counter.
“Oh get fucked,” Takeda shot back with a smirk and a nod.
“Happy birthday, jerkwad,” Ralph said. He sliced a pizza into eight triangles without looking and closed the box. “Order up for forty-two Fairfield, Jonesy!”
Jonesy sat in a corner booth, looking at his phone with fascination. He held up a hand, “Dude! She’s fuckin into it!”
“Into what, you lazy m-fer?” Ralph said. He shot a fake smile at the growing line of customers at the counter.
“Jesus, man, have some class, you Southie stereotype; you have customers. You, meaning the guy whose name is on the box theyah. And by into it, I mean into Jonesy!” He aimed finger guns at himself.
“Dude, I fackin told you I’d cut your shifts if I heard you calling yourself Jonesy.” Ralph made a motion with the pizza slicer across his throat.
“I’m sorry, folks,” Jonesey said to the customers at the counter. They were a mixture of hungry, amused, and nervous.
A little girl who couldn’t quite see over the counter said, “Your mama named you Jonesy?”
He turned to the innocent voice, “Well, no, Jones is my last name, sweetheart. Jonesy is a nickname that my friends call me.” He glared at Ralph.
“Hello, Mr. Jonesy, my name is Chimera, and my daddy is getting us a pizza.”
“I’m pleased to meet you, Chimera. Might I say what a lovely and interesting name you have?” He gave an exaggerated and theatrical bow.
“Thank you, Mr. Jonesy.” She blushed a color close to that of her red dress and hid behind her father’s leg.
“Okay, now that we’re all acquainted. Mr. Jonesy, would you please deliver this blackened chicken pizza to forty-two Fairfield? I’d like to continue pretending I’m a successful Boston pizza shop owner.” Ralph gave a mocking half-bow.
“Pleased to meet you, Chimera, and good evening,” Jonesy said as he grabbed the pizza bag with ‘Ralph’s’ printed on it. He hustled out the front door and dropped his phone.
“I dropped my phone,” he mumbled, stooping to pick it up.
“Yeah, we all saw it, dummy; now get going! I’ve got two more incoming since you’ve been genuflecting!”
“No disrespect, sir,” Ralph said to Chimera’s dad.
“None taken, dude,” the stone-faced man said.
“Takeda, please cash the gentleman and the lady Chimera out.”
“On it,” Takeda said.
The girl’s father squinted at Takeda as if recognizing something in his face. “I know you?”
“Hmm, I don’t think so. At least I don’t recognize you. I do have one of those basic faces though... Oh, and today’s my birthday if you’re one of those that believe it changes a person.”
“Ah shit, yeah man, birthday, that’d do it. How was it for you?” the girl’s father asked while taking out his wallet.
“It was, I don’t know, pretty standard? Everything’s great, and the world has hope and meaning. I have no fear and am as relaxed and happy as I can imagine - since my last birthday, I guess.”
“Cool,” said the man, half distracted by his little girl pulling on his pant leg.
“My birfday is September 7th!” Chimera beamed.
“Well, happy almost birthday to you, young miss!”
The girl’s father paid for his food and turned to leave, taking her by the hand. Chimera waved with the other as she hurried out the door.
“Kids,” Ralph said, slapping Takeda on the shoulder.
“Yeah.” Takeda smiled as they watched the door slam.
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Next week in Chapter 3 “Meaningful tattoo” we meet Holly and the birds.