Kitchens, as a general rule, are always hot, crowed and chaotic; Bertucci’s was no exception: there was a great deal of shouting, clanging, roaring and clattering. In the midst of the pandemonium a stony-faced young man slouched in a corner out of the way of the stereotypical anarchy, sweat beading on his brow as he waited for his order to be prepared and packaged.
From the waist down his clothes had the rough, tattered look of a comfortable outfit worn many times; whereas his black polo-shirt was undoubtedly new, the red, green and white stitching on his breast marking him as a Bertucci’s driver. He was allowed to use his own vehicle and a portion of the delivery charge was allocated to him to reimburse him for the use of his car. While Fionnlagh was happy to drive his own car instead of a miserable scooter, it did mean that there was a very visible Bertucci’s sticker on the driver and front-passenger doors. He’d also been slightly alarmed when his supervisor had told him that he was not allowed to carry a weapon and that he was now in the fifth most dangerous job category. The idea of carrying a weapon was alien to him and, he reflected, it’s not likely that he’d need one in his ‘condition’. However, the stories he’d heard about delivery people being assaulted, mugged, murdered and raped on the job had made him a little more wary of his customers.
Fionn gave a barely perceptible sigh and fidgeted in his corner; he had finished his shift (10pm on the dot) and was waiting for his dinner to be boxed up and handed to him so he could go home. So far his food had proved elusive. He moved again, catching the eye of a flustered waiter,
“Go wait out front,” he snapped, “and keep out of the way!”
Fionn slunk out of the kitchen like a scolded hound and into the pizzeria proper; it was busy for a Thursday but not unmanageably so. He was lucky enough to steal a table in the corner as a group of students left. By sitting in the corner he could pretty much see the whole restaurant, most of the customers looked to be university students, though Bertucci’s occasionally attracted other clientele.
It was a proper old school, traditional pizzeria right down to the brick ovens, and more importantly for the students, it was cheap. The walls were bare, grey stone with pictures and paintings left, right and centre; wooden planks made up the floor; the tables looked like great slabs of tree, and the chairs and booths were also wood with faux red leather cushions. At night the artificial lights were turned off in favour of softer, fire lanterns and – weather permitting – outside furniture often sprawled out onto the sidewalk. Music played mellifluously in the background, mixing with the laughter and banter coming from all corners of the building. Fionn liked Bertucci’s, even though he had made little to no effort regarding his colleagues, and whether they liked him or not had no bearing on his life. While this job didn’t pay nearly half as well as being a courier had been, it was at the very least interesting and somewhat dangerous.