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Tonight I attended a musical showcase at Tammany Hall, afterword I was a little hungry so I went for a slice of pizza. As I stood on the line placing my order, this relatively young guy came to the door and asked me “Yo, can you get me a slice?” I don’t know what happened to me today, but something pushed me to nod. So I said yes, and I agreed to get the guy a slice of pizza.
Once I said that, I saw something change, his look went from pleading to let me see what else I can take this sucker for. So now he comes into the store, then he says “Yo, can you also get me a beef patty?”
Just like I noticed his demeanor change moments before, I guess now he saw mine change too. I moved in and said “What? You are asking me for a beef patty too?” He changed his words and said “No man, I was asking if I can trade the slice of pizza for a beef patty.”
Now I’m getting annoyed cause it’s obvious he’s trying to play me, and I said that the pizza was in the oven already. Next… “Okay, can you give me a dollar for a soda.” Now I’m starting to get pissed off, I looked at him and said “Do you want a slice or not man, stop trying to play me.” He realized that he was about to lose his slice and get nothing from this sucker. So he waited for his slice, thanked me, and left.
After I got my slice and ate it, I ran into my fellow performers from the earlier show. I went over and I said hi, and shot the breeze with them for a few minutes. The pizza shop owner then called over to me and asked me if the guy was harassing me before, I told him no, that I took care of it. I could tell that he was annoyed with that guy coming to the shop. I guess they have history, I’m sure I’m not the first guy he’s asked for a slice.
Anyway when I left the pizza shop, I see the same guy walking towards me, I scooted over and avoided eye contact, but this guy was intent on cutting me off. So I looked up to confront him, he says “Yo man, I know you got 50 cents, come on man.” I shook my head and said “I’m done with you man. You are a young guy, get it together.” Then to solidify that he wasn’t willingly getting anything further from me, I told him to stop following me in Spanish. I think when he heard me speak in Spanish, he picked up my tone and realized that I was not the complete sucker he thought he had found.
So, have you ever, or would you ever buy that slice for the guy that sticks his head into the pizza shop? I guess he caught me off guard today. But I learned a new lesson, when buying food at pizza shop in a hybrid hood area, don’t stand by the door. You might get caught off guard like I did.
Growing Up Bronx