Mr. T decided to challenge himself by using two prompts in one of his stories:
So Rick said, “Hey, what about that new pizza place that just opened on 5th?”
We all agreed. Pizza sounded great. The fact that Rick and Ty had just eaten there the day before and already wanted to go back sold me on the idea. Rick Shaw and Ty Ming had been two of my best friends since we were kids, and all three of us were really into pizza. We had eaten at EVERY pizza place in town. Well, except me. I’d eaten at every place in town but Platypus Pizza on 5th. I would have gone yesterday with Ty and Rick, but I had to help my brother move into a new apartment. I was sort of skeptical about the place anyway because they had a weird gimmick.
They kept a platypus in a cage on display in the middle of the dining area. Supposedly, the cage was all glass and had a small hole in it so you could feed any unwanted pizza crust or other scraps to the platypus. It was supposed to be good luck to feed the platypus a whole piece of pizza. Ty even had a special way to fold up his slice so that he could fit it in the hole. The hole was about 3 1/2 inches in diameter and the pizza slices at Platypus were rather large, so this was no easy task.
Ty was one of those math super nerds that always had some genius scientific way about everything he did. Sort of like Shortround from the Goonies. Come to think of it, he actually looked a bit like Shortround. He said that the only way to get the whole slice of pizza into the hole fully in tact was to fold it the way he folded it. He used this weird-looking, rolled-up “s” shape, and it really worked. Every time he’d push the slice through the hole, it landed face up, nice and flat, on the floor of the platypus cage. Then the overfed, fat…no, really fat platypus would shuffle over and slowly eat the greasy slice of cheese and bread pie.
It was actually really sad to watch. There were always a few kids that would point and laugh, but Ty, Rick, and I hated what this pizza place was doing to this poor animal. This poor, magical, healing creature of alien descent. We were all strong advocates of animal rights. Well, except maybe Rick. His family owned fighting opossums. Rick said he didn’t approve of the sick practice, but he’d always laugh when he brought it up. Funny enough, Rick was the only one who would feed any of his pizza to the platypus. He said he didn’t believe in luck, but I think maybe he just didn’t want to waste any pizza. He’d always eat every last crumb off his plate, and after the plate seemed totally gone over and cleaned, he’d lick the pizza grease off of it.
Rick’s family was really poor and they would get mad at him when he went with us for pizza. They’d tell him to give them the money he made working at the dry-cleaning plant, and he did, but he always hid a little bit for what he called the “pizza fund.” Since the plant couldn’t legally hire him, they paid him cash. Every Friday, after he was finished filling the machines with a chemical called “perc,” he’d go over to the table in the boss’s “meeting room.” There were twenty little white envelopes under the table and he was allowed to take one. Each of the employees were allowed one envelope every Friday, and no one ever dared take more than one envelope.
There was a story that went around the plant about the little girl who took two of them one Friday afternoon. Singh I think was her name. She was never seen again. Supposedly, she took the second envelope because the one she got the week before only had three dollars in it. The envelopes always had three bills in them. You never knew what you were going to get. Sometimes it would be three ones. Sometimes it would be three twenties. Sometimes it would be three hundreds. Then on Christmas every year, each envelope would have thirty-three bills in it. The idea was that over the course of fifty years the employees would each make about $300,000, or about $6,000 per year. It never worked out this way though. It always seemed like some of the kids were luckier than others. Poor Singh was one of the unlucky ones. Rick said that she picked a three-dollar envelope for six weeks in a row. Her whole family was starving and she took that second on that sixth week out of desperation. No one knows what was in the second envelope, but she never did return.
No sir, Rick did not believe in luck. He was on track to make his $6,000 this year and he wasn’t about to feed one crumb of pizza to the fat, fat platypus. Ty and I on the other hand were scared to death of leaving that pizza place without offering some to the good-luck gods which apparently the platypus was good friends with. Even though we despised the atrocity bestowed upon this poor animal, we wouldn’t dare leave without feeding him…at least our crust.
– Written by Mr. T on January 11, 2013