I just stopped in a pizza place for a slice on the way to the PATH train. It was raining out, so rather than risk a soggy slice, I sat down with my plain slice.
And had a flashback. To being 19 years old and eating pizza in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, with Andy and his high school buddies.
I knew Andy from Antioch. I still know him. He's in Seattle, where he's been for almost 20 years now, playing guitar (sometimes as Joe Spleen, which is the name he worked under in the "Scorched Birth" comic book) and working at various web and copywriting jobs. He was an anomaly--a classical guitarist who played attack metal or punk rock blues, an accented poet in the body of a Brooklyn boy weaned on The Warriors and Coney Island.
When I first lived in New York, staying briefly with Andy's family, he and I would go out for "a slice." The first time, I got pizza with some mushrooms and pepperoni. I hadn't yet worked out the traditions or the lexicon. You don't buy a piece of pizza with stuff on it. You just buy "a slice." You don't even have to say it. You can just point. He taught me to sprinkle a little garlic and oregano on it, fold it in half, and walk on down the street to the train.
These days, I've long since given up the garlic salt and I don't eat much pizza. And anyway, I prefer Benny Tudino's slices in Hoboken (and that's where my cousins and I watched the televised OJ Bronco chase years ago). I almost never stop in for a slice alone. But when I do, I always think of Andy, and wonder how a Brooklyn boy handles Seattle pizza.