Trudging into the dingy pizza joint, she saw the writing on the wall, "And that's the way the pizza crumbles."
"Two slices of cheese please."
She sat down, waiting around for a good ten minutes, listening.
Her mind was hazy, as she'd just wasted an hour of her life, shuffling with the collective metal herd on the freeway-- like hideous track marks scarring the California landscape. They keep spiking the vein, and like a fix that'll never be satisfied, they build another, and another and another. Swollen with contempt, they invade like an insidious cobweb.
Checking back in, there was a familiar cadence around her. When she let her mind wander (which it so often does) it sounded like a song. As the echoes and inflections came back to focus, she understood.
"Quieres correr en el pinche parque, despues, guey?"
They went on, talking about the neighborhood.
Pizza in hand finally, she sunk her teeth into a slice, burning the roof of her mouth. The soft, spongy tissue went numb, but the throbbing remained. A dull ache.
The dough was browned around the edges and she had to gnaw through the crust like a stray dog trying to get the marrow out of a bone.
"La delgadita, la negrita...darle otra pieza."
She had recently dyed her hair black. She looked sick.
A young guy from behind the counter walked over and shoved a to go box with two more slices inside and said, "We burned the other two."
She looked up at him and forced and awkward, nervous smile. It's a shame that a nice gesture comes with a price these days.
"Thanks, I really appreciate it."
Whooping and hollering erupted as the kid walked back to his station. The teasing was incessant.
Clenching her jaw, she broke a sweat.
No one ever knows she can understand. She's a sleeper cell, a halfie as white as a loaf of wonder bread on a shelf at Walmart. Little do the unsuspecting hoards know on either side of the fence is she can slip between two worlds. She's stratified. Alienated by both parts of herself.
She's Colombian and Scotch-Irish. Someone recently said to her, "That's a passionate combination. You're like the FARC meets the IRA."
"Busca su numero! Cual es su nombre?"
Shifting uncomfortably in her seat, she felt the fissures in the plastic seat pinch her ass viciously.
She got up, smiled, nodded and scuttled out-- the pizza burning her hands through the box.