“Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?
I know it’s tuna, but it says ‘Chicken of the Sea.'”
— Jessica Simpson
Chapter 4: Add a Piece of Fish
There was a knock at the door, and Melantha wondered if the pizza had arrived or if something darker lurked beyond the threshold. Had metaphoric tendrils of darkness gathered outside of her apartment to literally pull her deeper into the groping embrace of the tenebrous night? She opened the door by disengaging the lock and twisting, then pulling on, the knob. It was an act of grace and defiance.
“Hey lady,” the pizza delivery guy said. He was tall and mysterious, shrouded in a trench coat with thick-rimmed, hipster glasses and a bristling mustache. He reminded Melantha of a virile groundskeeper she had known back when she had been reincarnated as Judith Pamplona, a syphilitic 9th century viscountess with severe nut allergies. “I’ve got a large pizza with . . . unh . . . extra bloody, raw ground beef on half and pineapple on the other half, a two liter of diet cola, and an order of breadsticks . . . ummm . . . broken in half so that they don’t resemble stakes. That’s quite a special order.”
“But that’s not all we ordered,” Melantha said out-loud in her most perky tone, which was the opposite of what she had intended, having meant to think it in an ominous tone. Half of the pizza was for Salvador, her vampire lover, but all of the delivery man was meant to sate his dark appetite. “Please come inside.”
“I smell anchovies!” Salvador shouted from the couch, where he convalesced. “I told you I just want pineapple.”
“I don’t think you understand, dear. The food has arrived,” Melantha countered.
“No, it hasn’t!” Salvador shouted from the couch, where he sat wrapped in Melantha’s most recent (and wackiest) quilt creation. “Even without eyes, I can smell it! That’s a fucking gillman wearing a trench coat and a fake mustache like some kind of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle reject. He only came here to crush your skull and hide the remains in his lagoon. Why did you let him inside?”
The pizza man breathed an audible sigh of relief and removed his novelty Groucho glasses. “Wow, wrapped in that quilt over there, I thought you were a mummy for a second, the natural enemy of my people. Vampires I don’t mind, and that quilt is as gorgeous as it is whimsical. Well, your order is twenty-eight-bucks, which includes tax and delivery. Don’t worry. I’m not going to crush your skull. Let’s just say, don’t be the fist person to place an order on Thursdays.”
“I had no idea,” Melantha said. It was such a strange coincidence that a creature like this would work for Pizza from the Black Lagoon, the restaurant just down the block, adjacent to the lagoon. His large, strong hands certainly seemed equally suited to crushing skulls and holding hands on a long, moonlit walk along the shore. His scales were like flecks of passion. She found herself inexplicably drawn to this supernatural sex bomb. She paid him thirty dollars and told him to keep the change. It was a crappy tip, but Melantha always deducted the delivery fee from her tips, because that fee should have been rescinded when gas prices dropped back down.
“Fine.” Salvador sulked. He changed the television channel to an old Doctor Who episode on PBS. “Someone tell me if this is the episode with vampires in it. They are hilarious.”
“It’s amazing. I’ve met three different types of supernatural creatures today,” Melantha said sensually to the delivery guy. Her life had changed so much in such a short time ever since she had found a magical lamp and wished to be true to herself, an individual, and for supernatural creatures to exist postdated to 1673. Then again, this change of events could be attributed to her pushing Stephenie Meyer into the Large Hadron Collider (now, the Meyer Collider) during her visit to Switzerland last year.
“Cool. I’ve met three different kinds of people tonight — four, if you are a lesbian. Isn’t life crazy that way,” the delivery guy replied. He stared deep into her eyes as though noticing them for the first time. His own eyes were like aquarium glass, a transparent barrier behind which underwater life teemed. Melantha felt like he could see into her soul, perceiving the dank darkness that dripped there. Could he smell her, like she smelled him? Could she . . . touch him?
Melantha touched him, and he did not recoil.
“Why is your hand on my face?” he asked.
“What? Why is your hand on his face?” Salvador asked, his passionate voice was engorged with curiosity.
“You are such an old soul,” Melantha replied. She felt torn, like her heart had been divided into three equal pieces and hurled into the waiting hands of a vampire, werewolf, and fish creature. Yet, the pizza delivery man could not offer her the promise of eternal life. Neither did he live a life of apparent affluence without any visible means of support. Unlike Salvador, the pizza man would live a mortal lifespan earning blue collar wages. Also, she could not breathe underwater and was not a very strong swimmer, even if she did enjoy long, scented baths in candle-lit rooms, reading Amish romance stories under the watchful eyes of her cats.
“Totes. We fish folk are servants of Xenu, so I’m filled with a crap-load of Thetans,” he said, as though reading her mind — was he? “I’m all about reincarnation and living multiple lives at once with the intensity of someone who only lives once. YOLO, right?” Fish man laughed. “Not me, but I like the message. This pizza thing is just something I do on the side, kind of to keep a low profile, because I make millions selling the identities of my victims and turning their crushed skulls into bizarre sex potions that I sell on the Deep Web, or whatever it’s called.”
Melantha felt her world change yet again. She had assumed so much about pizza delivery guys, but now all of her preconceived notions were undermined. She wondered if she would feel differently once Salvador’s horribly deformed countenance was restored to its former hotness.
“Well, time to drive my Gibbs Aquada amphibious car back to the sandcastle,” the pizza guy gurgled charmingly. “Hit me up some time if you ever want to crush some skulls together . . . or watch French Kiss, the one with Kevin Klein and Meg Ryan. The only thing I love more than that movie is keeping a diary.”
Melantha loved that too. Almost as much as cats.