Shut Up, Little Man!

The Burned Pizza Incident at the Pepto Palace : Stories and anecdotes : Shut Up, Little Man!

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The Burned Pizza Incident at the Pepto Palace —

Once upon a time when community still existed, it certainly must have been a comfort now and then to talk with one’s neighbors about issues of common concern, about the neighborhood, and about how a local problem could be collectively solved. Of course, this has become unthinkable in most modern metropoli, and engaging with our neighbors was totally out of the question at the freak hotel that was 237 Steiner. Come to think of it, we only knew one of the people who lived in our building beyond the requisite nod of acknowledgment or a cool "What’s up?" The other apartments were filled with down-and-out drunks, lunatics and losers, misfits and colorful characters: a crackhead, a male prostitute, a child-beating single mother, and our friend: a young gay black man with a six inch stove-pipe starched straight-up haircut died bright flourescent blue (we called him "Bluehair"). And, Pete and Ray.

"Shut up, little man."

"Shut yer fuckin’ mouth, you fuckin’ queer!"

"Shut up, little man."

"Don’t call me ’little man,’ you fuckin’ piece of shit!"

"You are a little man."

"I’m a lot tougher ’an you will ever be, you lyin’ cocksucker!"

"SHUT UP LITTLE MAN!"

Pete and Ray were fighting. Pete and Ray were always fighting, but this one had carried on day and night for over three weeks. This one was epic. As the arguments continued ceaselessly, there was a palpable menace in the air. It was as if Pete and Ray’s irritability had become airborne and infectious. The whole apartment building was on edge.

"I despise you."

"Good!"

"I mean it, Peter Haskett, I really despise you!"

"You already said that, little man."

"Good! Then, shut your fuckin’ mouth, cocksucker! Shut your fuckin’ mouth."

The verbal fight then came to blows. Then, there was a tremendous THUD against the wall that cojoined our apartment to that of Pete and Ray. A rumbling, another thud. And, then silence.

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