I work with a man named Mike at the pizza shop who is probably in his late twenties, early thirties but has a good amount of gray hair already coming in. It’s usually just the two of us behind the counter talking about pointless and random things to pass the time. He tends to mumble a lot so most of the time I’m stuck smiling and nodding and saying “oh yeah?” as he continues. He tells me the craziest stories that I can’t help but think are not actually as true as he tells me they are. Like the time he said once a lady put her cat in a microwave to dry it; I made him stop before he could continue but he only laughed and proceeded to tell me the poor cat’s fate. He’s not really the type to show emotion, so whenever I would say something that is meant to be sad, he kind of laughs nervously and looks at his feet. He’s a strange guy, but he’s nice. I’ve realized he’s actually very smart and whenever I ask him how he knows that or where he’s heard it he almost would always reply “the Discovery channel” or “the History channel”. I guess he watches a lot of TV because his stories always shock me in the most random ways.
One slow day at the pizzeria brought us into a conversation about cars. It was the day I got sent home after driving all the way to the DMV. He laughed as I continued on.
“It’s not that big a deal I guess, it’s not like I have a car to drive yet anyways.” He looked down at his feet and then smiled and took a couple seconds to respond.
“I saw a car for twelve hundred, big van, Chevy. Like mine.” Out of curiosity and sheer boredom I decided to ask him what kind of van.
“Where’s your car? Parked in the back?” I pointed out the back door where his brother and my boss, Mario, was standing just outside talking to an old man.
“Hahyeah,” he said in almost one syllable. I started making my way to the back and I glanced out the door as I waved to Mario. Mario is very friendly and has much better people skills than Mike. I guess that’s why Mike sticks to making the pizzas and Mario does just about everything else.
“Hey Lacey!” He said with a warm smile and big wave. Mike still thinks my name is Stacey.
“Mike! Are you talking about that huge dark green van on the left?!” I said as I laughed in disbelief. As if it would be even a remote possibility that I would ever consider driving around that huge thing!
“No the one over there- wait yeah that one!” I laughed and just told him how ridiculous it was; the thought of me driving to school in a big sketchy Chevy van. We laughed.
“I’ll get a car someday I guess..” I said.
“Better late than never.”
“You got that right.” I stared out the shop window at the cars passing by and did one of those laughs that kind of came out as just a breathe of air. I leaned on the counter and held up my face with my arm, deep in thought.