On a Thursday night in the first week of November or so, I decided to order a pizza from the Papa John’s a couple of blocks from my house. I rarely use the front door to the townhouse, but that’s where 99% of my deliveries come, and so when I’m expecting a delivery I’ll go turn on the porch light and crack that door so that when the guy arrives, he won’t have to watch me dislocate my shoulder trying to open the front door (which is heavy and sticks frequently). The back door faces the parking lot, so you actually have to go the long way around my row to get to the front door, but that’s what people who don’t know me do, rather than coming into the patio and to the back door.
So I nearly jumped out of my skin when someone knocked at the back door that night (which is about two feet away from the couch where I usually sit). It was the pizza guy, an older man in his 60s or maybe older, and he was very friendly and I paid him and he went on his way.
A few days later I came down with the flulike bug that kicked off my Month O’Maladies. On the rare days when I went to work, I’d usually take a very late long lunch and go home and nap on the couch for a while. One afternoon, I was dozing on the couch when I heard a knock at the back door. I got up, worried that I’d slept too long and thinking that maybe one of my work friends had stopped by to check on me. I opened the door.
It was the same pizza guy. I definitely hadn’t ordered a pizza.
I told him so, and he was like, “Well, I remember you liked plain cheese pizza, and no one at the store likes it, and someone didn’t pick this up so we were going to throw it away anyway so I thought you might like it.”
I thanked him for his kindness and accepted the pizza and he went on his way, and it was only a little while later that I got a little weirded out by the whole thing. It was nearly 3 in the afternoon – how did he know I’d be home? Most people who work aren’t home at that time of day. And it wasn’t like I ordered pizza from Papa John’s regularly enough that I knew any of the delivery people. In fact, I think I’ve only had pizza delivered from there twice or maybe three times since I moved in, and this guy only delivered it the one time.
So I told some people I know about this, and their responses varied from “Oh, he’s just a nice old guy” to “He totally wants you” to “He’s a crazy killer man, get artillery and padlocks ASAP.” Others have suggested I try to get his name and/or his license plate number and run a background check. In the end, I just decided not to order from there again and didn’t do anything else.
Last night, just after Survivor, someone knocked on the back door again. I was sitting on the floor sorting through CDs and thought, “Surely it’s not the pizza guy,” and got up and answered the door and saw that it was the pizza guy, standing out in the sleet.
He had an extra-large cheese pizza with him, and told me it had been in the cooler for a while but was totally fine, and I should heat up one piece at a time for a minute in the microwave, and have a nice night, and then he was gone.
I called a friend who insisted I call Papa John’s and complain, and when I told her I felt really uncomfortable doing that because he honestly seems friendly and unthreatening and doesn’t linger around like he’s expecting anything, she suggested I call the place today and ask them if it’s normal to give unclaimed pizzas away to random customers. Then I called my parents.
They agreed that it’s weird, but no one’s quite sure what to do about it. My mother reminded me that crazy pervert killers come in all ages and appearances, and suggested that he’s scoping the place out to find out what times of day I’m there and if I’m always alone. They said if he comes by again I ought to refuse the pizza, but I feel weird about that too. What if he’s just being nice? I would absolutely hate to make someone feel bad if he’s trying to be friendly and do a nice thing, but on the other hand I don’t really want to spare some dude’s feelings and have him come back and murder me.
Then my mom said that he probably poisoned the pizza with the date rape drug and I shouldn’t eat it. And I’m like, “right, Mom. He’s going to stand there and wait for me to eat the pizza and pass out and then come back and drag me away. Maybe he’ll tie me to the train tracks, too.”
Jamie freaked out and asked me if I had a baseball bat or something else I could whack him with. I don’t have a baseball bat. I have a stabby knife, but it’s upstairs. Well, damn, I actually have a whole block of knives in the kitchen, but still. I have a broom and a Swiffer Wet Jet. I have two colorguard flags. None of these are really saying “weapon” to me so far. Jay’s like, “Don’t you have a rifle too?”
Oh! I do have a rifle. But not a rifle that you shoot people with – it’s also a piece of colorguard equipment. The problem with the rifle is that I haven’t really been trained to whack people with it. I’ve been trained to use it artistically. So maybe I could just whip out one of the more impressive body tosses in my repertoire and while he stands there dumbfounded I could take the pizza and kick him and lock the door and run.
I think I’m more likely to injure myself in the process, though.
Maybe I could throw a kitten at him. But the kittens have had their front claws clipped and are not quite as deadly as they used to be. Also, they’ll probably just stick their butts in his face.
Honestly, I don’t really know what to do about it. The guy seems harmless, but I know that doesn’t always mean much. I think that when it really gets down to it, the thing that bugs me most is that he’s coming into the back patio and I don’t know he’s there until he knocks. And that door is glass panel and opens right into the living room, so I can’t really avoid answering it. I am intensely uncomfortable complaining to the place or to him about it, and if I did complain and he were to get fired or something, he knows where I live, so that wouldn’t be good. I think what I’m going to do is install an additional latch or lock on the inside lower part of the patio gate, where it can only be reached from inside. I’d feel a little safer having that there, and then if he wants to come around to the front door every once in a while with a free pizza, maybe it won’t bother me so much.
And the front door’s closer to the closet where I keep the rifle, anyway.