Growing up the vast majority of my friends were creative ‘out of the box’ types. Between my community theatre and gaming circles life was never dull. Even the most ordinary and mundane activities held potential for creative adventures. Ordering pizza became a bit of a ritual with my crew which actually lead to my address being posted in infamy on the staff notice board at the local pizza joint.
It started with a senior team rehearsal for an all-students production of Peter Pan I was a part of my first year of high school. We were meeting at the community theatre group’s rehearsal annex, a black-box space with attached kitchen and costume-prop storage, on a Saturday afternoon to plan out set and prop designs. We decided to order pizza and while waiting we continued experimenting with the black lights we had purchased for the show.
Instead of using wires for the requisite flying sequences we were going use black lights and a strippable black set. One or our missions that day was to test if the costumes we had gathered would show up brightly enough in the black light. As we waited for the pizza to arrive we were testing the visibility of the various outfits our costume person had offered up when someone uttered the somewhat dangerous phrase —
“You know what would be fun…”
With only about fifteen minutes until the pizza was expected we looked through the props and costumes, quickly putting together a plan. When the knock at the door came just under twenty minutes later we were in place, ready, and waiting.
Jeremy, tall and lean with a voice so deep it made the soles of your feet vibrate, greeted our unsuspecting guest in the vestibule dressed in a white cleric’s robe and half-face Venetian mask. The poor man took Jeremy’s somewhat arcane sounding greeting in fairly easy stride but pulled up short when ushered into the black box space.
The room was completely dark but for four floating purple-bluish blobs, hooded ponchos of a light blue parachute fabric being worn by swaying and bobbing forms with their arms tucked in, hovering over the black lights which had been spread around the perimeter of the room. Jeremy let the image hold for a moment before using that signature voice to cue the next phase.
At his call the small mounted spot light perched on a stand in the corner flared to life illuminating me in the center of the room, shrouded in a black hooded monk rob clutching an ornately decorated tribal staff standing behind three black wooden stage boxes lined up to form a sort of alter with the money spread out atop it.
The plan was for Jeremy to launch into a tirade about desecrating the alter when he put the pizzas down to collect his money but Jason our director floating as one of the blue blobs apparently didn’t feel the scene was creepy enough. The delivery guy had only taken a couple of furtive steps forward, a cautious smirk on his face, when Jason began to emit a strange undulating and creaking kind of groan.
Our guest didn’t really seem to notice but the other floating blobs began to visibly twitch and shudder as they tried to stifle their laughter, I ducked my head a little deeper inside my hood, and the spot light illuminating the boxes started dancing around as the young woman aiming it suffered the same affliction as the floating blobs.
Our guest set the pizzas down and quickly counted up the money. Jeremy, feeling it wiser to keep his jaw clamped shut, let the man thank us for his tip and scoot out without any further comment. Just before the exit door closed behind him, and we all burst out laughing, we heard the man chuckle —
“Man, I gotta deliver pizza here more often.”
Once you find a game you enjoy of course you want to keep playing it. I continued the tradition with my weekly gaming group aided by my somewhat extensive personal tickle trunk of costumes and props. Over the years our group staged Darth Vader and the Emperor ordering pizza, we had the pizzas arrive in the middle of a demonic birthing ceremony. My diminutive friend George once put my full Darth Vader plastic helmet on but, unbeknownst to the rest of us, put his harmonica in his mouth first. We abandoned our plan for that delivery after he opened the door, tilted his head slightly to the side, and breathed musically through the harmonica. The pizza guy was stunned speechless and we were all laughing far too hard to carry out any further performance.
One of the grandest events was my eighteenth birthday party. Costume, of course.
When the delivery guy arrived he was met at the front door by my other friend Jeremy dressed as a swash buckler with ruffled shirt and plumed hat. He opened the door with a grand bow and equally grand salutation.
“Welcome to the world I have created. I hope you like surrealism.”
The first thing greeting him in the front hall was my friend Laura, who frequently got mistaken for Neve Campbell, sprawled on the floor atop a velvet cape wearing a full body spandex cat suite with her face fully painted grooming her hair with her paws. It’s incidentally worth noting that night she first went next door to my neighbor’s house by mistake and nearly jump-started the two young lads who lived there into puberty.
Just behind her leaning against the hall door frame was my friend Kip decked out as a medieval mercenary with an eye patch, a Viking axe on one hip, a spiked mace on the other, picking his nails with a large rusty dagger. Visible off to the right in the living room was Doug dressed as a mafia hit man standing stock still in his suit, fedora, silk scarf, and dark sun glasses holding a toy hand gun and a single helium balloon.
Not far to the left Kim dressed as a nun was sternly clapping out a tempo while Michelle dressed as a hippy love child hammered out on the piano The Point Of No Return from Phantom of the Opera aggressively and deliberately off-key. Dawn dressed as a pixie was dancing jubilantly all over the scene which was being conducted with a little red trident from the far corner by Jeremy, the one with the deep voice, dressed as Satan complete with horns and a tail.
We let the insanity marinate for a moment before Kip gave an audible cough, the signal to begin phase two. I was upstairs in full martial arts regalia sporting a pair of training blades with Chris who had decided to test out all his scar tissue make-up appliances. At the sound of the cough Chris stumbled backwards down the stairs looking like he’d been carved up half to death with me hot on his heels accusing him of trying to lay a hand on my woman.
As Chris collapsed on the landing I stopped half-way down the stairs and began snarling the names of different karate katas, the only Japanese I could spit out convincingly, down at Laura who threw her hands up and squealed away into the kitchen out of sight revealing the money for the pizza she had been sitting on top of. I jumped the railing and followed after her where I met up with the nun and the pixie and began leading them in tai chi exercises.
Understandably the poor delivery guy was at a bit of a loss but he did eventually pull it together enough to set the pizzas down, collect the money, and attempt the start counting it. It took him a few tries to add it up, he counted and recounted the first ten dollar bill about four times, and once he realized there was a rather sizeable tip (our contribution to his potential therapeutic costs) he looked to Kip in confused questioning. Kip’s response was a silent shrug before pulling the Viking axe of his hip and starting to rub it and his dagger together like he was preparing to carve a turkey.
The delivery guy made a hasty retreat, thankfully. We were completely out of planned material at that point. Jeremy thanked him for visiting and bid him ‘come again soon’ before joining us back inside. We were only just starting to laugh when our dancing pixie peeked out the window and announced he was running to his car.
The pixie’s brother actually worked at the pizza joint and it was through him we discovered my address had been posted and that whenever they had an order from ‘427’ they would gleefully check to see if any rookies were working before assigning the delivery.