Busting out pizza she stands behind the counter taking money and throwing dough to the beer shooters and the whiskeyed corduroys. Out in the world the night’s jawline tingles and stars ripple above the smokestacks. It is warm for December but not in here, not in hells kitchen where the ovens bake the bread and the meat curls and blackens. Blackens perhaps to a shade of her hair, light in age but heavy in grease and cardboard smears. She groans as she looks through her hair at the beergut in front of her, demanding something that isn’t on the plate, something that is wholly inconvenient at this point in her life, at this point in her shift, at this point in pizza history. “We don’t have the artichoke pizza tonight” she explains. “Huh? Are you telling me that you don’t have artichoke pizza anymore?” he asks, as if artichokes on pizza were commonplace, like condom machines in ladies washrooms. No we don’t. We have pepperoni and spinach. We’ll have yellow pepper and ham in ten minutes. That’s it. She’s frazzled and fading but she holds it long enough to dish out a slice of pie to her only patron. Beergut leaves and the music from the club down the street seeps behind her hair and pulls a smile across her face for the first time today.