In this short work of fiction, you will encounter a small city rumor mill, an unfaithful husband, and a smackdown at the O.K. Pizzeria. #Tucumseh #Indiana #rumor mill #adultry #smackdown
Smackdown at OK Pizzeria
The bad thing about living in a small city like Tecumseh is everybody knows your business. That’s why the smackdown at OK Pizzeria became inevitable. favorite pass time in town is to scrutinize your neighbor for evidence of deviant behavior. This can be as simple as buying a red car when you should have purchased a white one because everyone and his brother knows cops are more likely to pull over a red vehicle than a more neutral color. It gives the person passing judgment an air of superiority because they convince themselves they’d never do something as stupid. Every incident which follows your wrong choice is your fault and fresh fodder for the rumor mill.
The rumor mill lends energy to the Smackdown at OK Pizzeria.
There’s nothing better in Tecumseh than a juicy piece of information with a hint of sin attached to it. The nastier the story, the faster word traveled. Conditions like that make it hard to cheat on your wife without folks blabbing about your liaison.
This is especially true if the woman you’re sleeping with happens to be her best friend. When Rodney Olson started meeting Emma Kellogg at the budget motel out on the highway, tongues were wagging before fresh sheets were put on the bed they shared.
The grumpy old men at the Liar’s table over at the Cup & Spoon began taking bets on how long it would be before Bertha Olson shot Emma Kellogg if she spotted the adulterous couple coming out of one of the rooms at the rent by the hour motel. The common consensus was Rodney was a stupid man.
If he was going to cheat on Bertha, he should have had enough sense to rent a room somewhere out of Tecumseh. To make matters worse, the two women decided to open the O.K. Pizzeria together a month before Rodney was spotted escorting Emma out of the motel’s front entrance. This upped the odds of murder coming out of the affair by a whopping fifty percent. Bertha finding out about Rodney sleeping with Emma created an atmosphere for the smackdown at the O.K. Pizzeria to take place.
Bertha wasn’t a stupid woman, and Rodney was a careless man. It wasn’t going to take her long to figure out he was sleeping with her best friend. The ladies opened the door of The Pizzeria on the first of May. Luther Pigg III wagered Emma would be lying in a pool of blood by the fifth. Paul Henry’s bet was it would last until the seventeenth. Tom Collins figured Bertha would be serving time in jail by the twenty-first. Jimmy Young thought the partnership would last until June.
June first came and went. The waters were still calm over at the O.K. Pizzeria. The combat date was stretched, more bets were taken, and the deadline was extended to the end of August.
Meanwhile, things were heating up between Emma and Rodney. Everybody in town was watching for signs Bertha was getting suspicious. There was even a side bet going on that someone would send Bertha a secret letter informing her about what her husband was up to.
If truth be told, Emma and Rodney had a thing for one another since high school. They had managed to keep their passion under wraps for over twenty years. The catalyst, which caused the release of the monster craving in Rodney was his youngest son’s graduation from high school. He’d be leaving for college in September.
Nothing was holding them back.
There was nothing to hold him back now that the kids had all left home. He knew Emma was the one he should have picked years ago, but Bertha always had a way of getting what she wanted. She came onto him in the back seat of Wilber Small’s GTO. Rodney was young, stupid, and full of zest. Nine months late, Rodney Jr. was born on a foggy April morning, and the rest was history.
Bertha was facing an empty nest and a lot of time on her hands. The one skill she acquired during raising the kids was learning how to make the best pizza in town. You had to have one good dish to feed five teenage kids and the pack of teenagers who hung out at the Olsen house.
She counted her egg money, made a trip over to Tecumseh Savings, applied for a small business loan, and rented a storefront over on Monroe Street. She knew she was going to need help, so she asked Emma to be her partner. The passion between Rodney and Emma propelled them toward the smackdown at OK Pizzeria.
How the Pizzaria got its name.
Once the partnership formed, the two women decided on a name. Bertha thought about calling the shop The Best Pizza in town, but she was a little worried about bragging. She came up with the idea of combining the two letters of their last name, which would make the restaurant OK Pizzeria.
Bertha said If anyone complained about the quality of their product, the disclaimer resided in the name of the Pizzaria. She could point at the store sign and say, “I told you so.” She no experience with the famous corral in Tombstone, Arizona where several gunfighters conducted a shoot out. Emma just watched the movie about the famous OK Corral, but she knew better than to argue with Bertha when she thought she had a good idea. The restaurant’s name became the first foreshadowing of the smackdown at the O.K. Pizzeria.
Elba Mae tells the story
Elba Mae Johnson took Winston for Pizzeria the night the smackdown happened. She’d taken her adopted grandson, Winston, to a movie he was excited to see. The way she told it the next morning at The Hen House was she couldn’t remember the name of the movie, but there were a great number of superheroes doing some interesting fight scenes. She took the first bite of her slice when she noticed Bertha stomp through the door. Thus, Elba Mae had a front-row seat to smackdown at OK Pizzeria.
The look on her face cued Elba Mae the woman had figured out the secret about her husband everybody in town was talking about. Bertha placed her balled-up fist on her broad hips. Elba Mae’s money was on Bertha.
Elba Mae thought full-figured women had to stick together in situations taking place in the pizzeria. She’d placed a hundred dollars on Bertha coming out the winner.
She tried to protect Winston.
Elba Mae told how she put her hands over Winston’s ears to protect him from the language coming out of the sandy-haired woman’s mouth. She explained to Naomi and Colleen the next day at the flower shop she might as well have not bothered. There was no way the child could have escaped hearing the string of words Bertha Olsen yelled over the counter at Emma Kellogg.
Things might not have ended badly if the progression of events had ended with the stream of name-calling, but it didn’t. Bertha jumped over the counter in one leap. Elba Mae claimed she’d never seen a big woman move so fast.
It was almost as if Bertha flew across the room like one of the superheroes in the movie she and Winston just went to see. Bertha started pulling Emma’s hair, and the fight commenced in earnest. Flour filled the air when Bertha hit Emma over the head with a twenty-pound bag of the white, powdery stuff.
Emma reached for Bertha’s secret recipe pizza sauce. She smeared the red liquid on Bertha’s face before she ground pieces of pepperoni into Emma’s eyes with her massive fists. There was so much garlic, oregano, and flour in the air it filled up Elba Mae’s nostrils.
Meanwhile, a John Lennon song played in the background.
It was hard for her to catch her breath. She reached into her purse for her cell phone. The John Lennon song Give Peace a Chance was playing in the background while she dialed 911. She claimed she didn’t care if she lost a hundred bucks on the bet. Somebody was going to die if the law didn’t show up fast. The two women had slipped on the pizza sauce coating the floor by the time the first cop arrived. He tried to break up the fight, but they drug him to the ground with them. A second cop burst through the door. He managed to break the fighters apart.
Elba Mae and Winston were finishing the last slice of their pie when a third officer reached for the lights and told her the O.K. Pizzeria closed for the night.
The Henhouse ladies discuss the Smackdown at OK Pizzeria.
Elba Mae heard Rodney made bail for both women. They have a court date at the end of the month. “I’m telling you right here and now, if they don’t show up for a trial, Mr. Chopper had best not send us after them. One of us is liable to get hurt.”
“The two of you should have thought about situations like this when you agreed to work for Chopper. If you ask me, Bertha and Emma aren’t our problems,” Colleen O’Brien said from behind the counter.
“Well, me and Naomi don’t know how to do any of that Karate jazz you’re famous for. If you flip your wig, we can’t protect ourselves, Wonder Spy?”
“I guess that part of the operation has always been up to me.” Colleen slammed the cash register drawer and moved toward the backroom.
“There she goes off to play with her flowers. I swear you can’t ever get an idea through the stubborn redhead she has on her shoulders.”
Naomi didn’t bother to make a response. It was never a good idea to get in the middle of one of Elba Mae and Colleen’s spats. It was better for her to not remind her friends it was her brain which hatched the bounty hunting idea in the first place. Her partners loved to remind The Henhouse was her idea when the flower shop faced trouble. The last thing they needed was a chick fight at The Hen House to spoil a perfectly good day.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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