ARIES Abandoned gas stations, beholders of tumbleweeds and roadside tales, filled with dead fuel yet frozen in time, eyes on the passengers with their hands and hair out the window, haunted by old desert songs and engines revving behind it.
TAURUS: Abandoned bars, stools turned over, a ripped flyer shouting BABES BABES BABES hanging off the bulletin board, a lost motorcycle tire, glass shattered, and the spirit of hell still living somewhere inside.
GEMINI Ghost towns, at the base of old mountains, houses with shutters like eyes and doors like mouths, swallowing stories whole, convenience stores still stocked with stale bread, cabins and headstones still peeking out from behind fairy wood brambles, nature stretching into steel, ready to come alive with a shift of the wind.
CANCER: Abandoned motels, empty pools filled with deflated flamingos, the sign out front screaming VACANCY forever, each room a different anthology of guest book tales, smashed television monitors and a love note ( or goodbye note ) caught up in the rust of the honeymoon suite.
LEO: Abandoned theaters, stages dented with the ghosts of performances past, torn scripts scattered across floorboards in a mess of Playbills and shattered eyeglasses, broken lights and tattered dress hems, mannequins poised at an eternal act one.
VIRGO Abandoned train stations, cars sprayed in a kaleidoscope of graffiti, drifters still starting fires in some of the shells, grass growing over old gears, ghost conductors with no destination, rails intersecting at odd angles like flowers and bones.
LIBRA Abandoned campgrounds, rattlesnakes and desert blues, dead hot and forgotten, a shelled-out RV and the dry lake where the kids used to play, swallowing up broken toys and flat tents, showers crawling with critters, vintage t-shirts printed with campground bears promising that it’s still “the happiest place on earth.”
SCORPIO Abandoned amusement parks, soggy coaster cars paused mid-ascension, cheap thrills and screams still stagnant in the air, ferris wheels trembling in the wind, clown faces distorted and torn down the middle, a mascot head smiling out from the overgrowth.
SAGITTARIUS Abandoned renaissance fairs, an acre out of time, fake pirate ships swinging, fairy wings trying to fly, dead flower crowns tangled with bright ribbons and peasant blouses shed by the lake, empty squares and old stage buildings, Arthur’s sword caught at the entry, still waiting to be pulled.
CAPRICORN Abandoned toy stores, broken pinball machines, ghost clowns, and popped balloons, playing cards stuck to the floor, a crooked house of childhood horrors, teddy bears bleeding stuffing, and a funhouse mirror distorting the distorted.
AQUARIUS: Abandoned piers, driftwood split down the middle, coastline the last alive thing, neon lights still calling Gatsby home from the horizon, but promising only the ghosts of mermaids washed ashore, tires and bottles filled with sand, dead trees spouting from old rocks, branches a wind chime of ripped dresses, forks, and seashells on strings.
PISCES: Abandoned waterparks, slides overlooking entire old cities, perfect for climbing, hoses and pools now scrawled over and used as skateboard ramps, kids climbing over the old towers and ladders in their bathing suits when it rains, pure want as their tickets in, yelling, “We’re still here, we’re still here, we’re still here!”
TalesFromThePizzaGuy: Miscellaneous stories about my time as a delivery driver.
I delivered for two separate businesses in two separate towns nearly a decade ago. Nothing mind blowingly interesting to report, but I do have a few decent stories.
TL;DR: Smoked some weed, almost died, wrecked and abandoned a shitty car, pissed off a skateboarder, touched a butt, killed a deer.
Story one: Took an order to a house on the outskirts of town. Delivery instructions were to go to the garage. Get to the garage, it’s a man-cave of sorts. Customer is a 30-something dude, clearly stoned. Immediately notice a joint sitting on the table. As he hands me the money he says “Money’s a little tight right now, wish I could tip you more, man.” I point to the joint and reply, “No worries. You could burn that with me.” He goes “Oh shit! I thought I put everything away!” We have a good laugh, we smoke the doob, he ends up pulling a huge bag of pot out of the fridge and sells me an 8th. Good times!
Story Two: Had a driver in the oncoming lane fail to yield and turned left right in front of me. Wish I had a dashcam because I pulled the most epic evasive maneuver of all time, avoiding a serious collision by a matter of inches. Words cannot do this moment justice. It’s one of the proudest moments of my life.
Story Three: Same town, a few weeks later. Wasn’t super familiar with this town, hadn’t lived there long, had been GPSing every address. This particular order was to an apartment complex I had been to a few times, and I knew there was a shortcut through the mall parking lot. It was dark and raining that night. I attempted to take the shortcut. Noticed a few seconds too late that I was barreling into the dead end of a 3 way intersection. Tried to brake and steer out of the way, but hit a curb at a roughly 45 degree angle going around 30mph. Completely obliterated my front passenger side tire and wheel. Had the car towed to a shop. Spent two hours the next day at a pull-and-pay junkyard trying to find a replacement wheel. Took it to the shop. Wrong size. Two more hours at the junkyard. Back to the shop. Wheel fits but the collision bent my control arm. Tire would rub against the inside of the wheel well whenever I turned left. Horrible screeching noise at all times. The wheel literally fell off while I was driving it a few weeks later. Grabbed all my valuable belongings (which included a guitar + small amplifier), called my friends to come get me and started walking. Left the car there, never saw it again.
Story Four: New town, new business. Some teenager seemingly on purpose flung his skateboard into the road as I was driving by. Ran it over, broke the deck in half. Yelled “dumbass!” out the window and kept driving. I get back from my next delivery and the kid and his mom are standing in the lobby yelling at the manager. They’re accusing me of running it over on purpose. Demanding a new skateboard. I was agitated by the lack of honesty and sense of entitlement so I reply, “what if I need new tires? You gonna pay for those?” She didn’t like that very much. Rest of the details are hazy, but the owner ended up buying the kid a new skateboard. The kid came out ahead on that because he only needed a deck but got a whole setup.
Story Five: One of the servers lived in a neighborhood about half a mile away from the store. We had a little fling. If she wasn’t working, I’d routinely stop by her house on my way back from a delivery and fool around for a bit. Good times!
Story Six: Hit a deer on the way to some apartment complex. Two lane highway, busy traffic in both directions. Had somebody tailgating me pretty hard. No idea how the deer even got half way across the road, but he came from the left. Clipped his back legs pretty square as he was jumping across the road, he spun at least 720 degrees through the air and landed on the shoulder. Just kept driving, didn’t even touch my brakes. Had to look hilarious from the guy behind me’s perspective. Pizza guy is on a mission! Get to the delivery, my grill is destroyed. Deer fur stuck in my hood. Pieces of my bumper hanging on by a thread. Got a decent tip. Filed a police report. Insurance ended up doing roughly $3000 worth of body work, I didn’t have to pay a dime.