“Painful Pizza,” by Michael A. Kechula

Nov 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Prose

Frank received a letter reminding him that as a resident of Grand City, he was legally obligated to purchase and consume one medium pizza per week . The letter, signed by the city clerk, stated that city ordinances mandated all pizzas had to be purchased from a restaurant owned by the mayor.

Frank yelped when he discovered he was in arrears for $250 for failing to order one pizza per week over the past twenty weeks. The letter offered two resolutions, or Frank faced arrest within seven days: (1) that he go to the restaurant and buy twenty pizzas all at once; (2) that he accept twenty pizzas (mushroom, pepperoni, or olive) in a single delivery to his residence.

This is the looniest thing I ever heard, Frank thought.  Nobody told me about this when I moved here. Who do they think they are? This is a free country. I’ll eat whatever I want.

He tossed the letter in the garbage.

Frank despised pizza, considering it the most disgusting concoction ever invented. Tomato sauce made him itchy. Olives were tasteless. So was the crust. Greasy pepperoni stank and gave him indigestion.  He hated the feel of slimy mushrooms in his mouth. He didn’t like the idea that cheese teemed with bacteria.

A week later, cops smashed Frank’s front door.

Illegal alien house invasion, he thought, running for his pistol.

Somebody tackled him before he reached the gun cabinet.

“Frank Brown, you’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent…”

He didn’t hear the rest. Somebody had whacked the side of his skull with a gun butt.

“Where am I?” Frank mumbled when bells in his head stopped clanging.

“Grand City Pizza Reeducation Camp,” somebody said.

“How’d I get here? Last thing I remember was getting whacked.”

“You arrived three days ago. After your trial. They sentenced you to twenty weeks of intensive reeducation. One week for every week you didn’t order and eat a medium pizza.

“I don’t remember any trial.”

“You were unconscious the whole time. That’s how we handle radical pizza resisters in Grand City. Now you know we mean business.”

“Who are you?”

“Your primary reeducator. Here drink this. It’ll make you feel better.”

“What is it?”

“Pizza sauce.”

Frank’s eyes cleared. He almost jumped out of his skin when he saw a guy wearing a giant tomato costume offering him a cup. Only a head and extremities protruded.

“I hate pizza sauce!”

“Either you drink this, or we’ll feed it to you through a syringe rammed into the most sensitive part of your body.”

Frank took a tiny sip and vomited.

A door opened. A woman wearing a giant mushroom costume entered. “Open your mouth,” she ordered.

Frank got the dry heaves when she shoved a ladle loaded with mushrooms toward his mouth.

“I want to exercise my constitutional right of freedom of movement. I’ll leave Grand City forever. Right now. I don’t care what happens to my house.”

“Too late,” someone said.

In walked a stick of pepperoni, a giant black olive, a super-size pizza crust, and a stick of mozzarella cheese.

“I’m your friend,” said the pepperoni.

“So am I,” the black olive said.

“Me too,” said the huge crust.

“Ditto,” said the cheese.

Then, they sang a jingle, repeating it over and over. “We love you.”

“And I hate you!” Frank screamed.

They began his reeducation using Dr. Pavlov’s psychological conditioning process. They forced him to watch endless slides of pizza set in the most idyllic locales and situations, with upbeat background music. Soft, reassuring voices kept repeating, “We’re your friends. We love you.”

After every hundred slides, he was required to taste a tiny bit of each item. At first, he strongly resisted. But strong charges of electro shock soon broke his opposition.

Curiously, he began to feel stirrings of affection for his tormentors. Their 24/7 loving entreaties became difficult to resist. Especially when the wires they’d imbedded in his brain’s pleasure center sent small jolts of delight through his reproductive organs whenever he reacted positively to pizza images. It was so good, he wanted more, and more.

Eventually, the mere sight or smell of pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, cheese, crust, and pizza sauce threw him into paroxysms of bliss-even after they removed the wires from his pleasure center.

By the end of twenty weeks, Frank was cured.  In fact, he was so thoroughly cured he ordered a medium pizza every day for the rest of his life.

“Bless you, Pavlov,” he’d mutter after munching his nightly pizza.  Then he’d lie back and enjoy the side effects.


Michael A. Kechula is a retired tech writer. His fiction has won first place in eight contests and placed in six others. He’s also won Editor’s Choice awards four times. His stories have been published by 109 magazines and 30 anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, India, Scotland, and US.  He’s authored a book of flash and micro-fiction stories: “A Full Deck of Zombies–61 Speculative Fiction Tales.” eBook available at www.BooksForABuck.com and  www.fictionwise.com Paperback available at www.amazon.com

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