Chapter 5:

Cheese and Pepperoni

Pizza College

Where in the actual hell does the phrase, “It’s pizza time” come from?

“T-that’s ridiculous! You can’t just kill my mom! Let her go!”

“Oh, but I can. She signed away her life to me in order to capture you. Tell him.”

“I-It’s true. Honey… turn yourself in. Do the right thing.”

Like, we don’t say “It’s burger time” or anything of that sort. It’s a colloquialism referring only to the Italian cuisine of pizza, and I’ve been hearing it my whole life.

“I… I… no. Stop this. Please, stop this! Don’t hurt her!”

“Her life is in your hands, Timothy. Not mine. Time to show some responsibility.”

“Please, Tim…”

Was it from that scene in Spider-Man 2? I think that might be the most memorable usage. It feels older than that though. Right?

“She doesn’t deserve this! She doesn’t have anything to do with this!”

“Your mother is our last resort, young man! Our other methods have all failed to get a confession out of you.”

“You have to stop running. Please, honey. You’re a good boy, right? You’re my good boy?”

Wait. I got it. The Ninja Turtles. Didn’t they always say that? I can’t think of anything before that to use the phrase. Then again, I could be wrong.

“That’s it, Timothy! If you don’t surrender in the next five seconds, your mother is contractually obligated to die!”

Mom is crying.


I can’t take this. It’s not fair. I can’t even think straight anymore. None of this should have happened. If only I wasn’t so stupid. If only I wasn’t so unlucky. It’s not fair. None of it’s fair.

“FOUR! Hey, are you listening, kid?”

I’m useless. I can’t do anything right. Is that why I’m being punished so harshly? If that’s the case, I guess I deserve this. I mean… I killed someone’s infant child. I’m like… the biggest piece of shit there is, aren’t I? No wonder this guy hates me so much. No wonder my own mom’s turned against me.

“Three. Don’t test my patience, Timothy. I’ll blow her head clean off. Do you really need even more blood on those filthy hands?”

Maybe it’d be better to let him shoot her. I deserve to suffer for what I’ve done. I could watch him blow her brains out, and then have to live with that for the rest of my life until I inevitably commit suicide. Sure sounds like a fitting punishment. I didn’t have to watch that baby burn up in the ovens. I didn’t have to feel the pain it must’ve felt as they grew hotter and hotter and its skin melted off. I’ll never know what that was like.

“TWO! Time’s running out, you little shit! End of the line! You’re on thin ice, buster!”

But maybe I could at least feel half that bad, if I let my own mom die right in front of me. That’s one way to get back at this piece of shit I’ve become. I hope it scars him forever, really. He ought to live the rest of his despicable life in pain. Because that’s just how worthless I am.


I’ve always been this worthless… haven’t I?

Oh, yeah. There was this one time that proves it.

I was outside during recess. I think it was third or second grade. Or maybe it was only first? Things were a little wet, and the sky was grey. I was playing with some kids whose names I don’t remember. Never really got to know any of them after this. I can’t think of many friends I’ve had in life.

I was “it.” We were all playing tag. Me and three boys. But one of the boys was weaker, and he was my target. I was hot on his trail. Through the damp grass, I chased him all around. I just wanted to win so damn badly that day. I told myself that, if I didn’t win just this once, I was even weaker than this kid. If I didn’t win, I wold have never respected myself ever again.

I chased him for so long that eventually he started to run out of gas. It was only enough to just barely catch up to him. He was weak, but he wasn’t slow. The black-haired boy wore athletic shorts, and… what was it? What kind of shirt did he wear? Oh, yeah. Haha. It was Ninja Turtles.

Anyways, I just barely got close enough to grab the collar of his shirt from behind. With only two fingers, I seized it like the pin of a grenade. We both came toppling over, but he got it worse.

I stood up. Patted myself off. I wondered if that counted as a tag. Hoped it did. When I looked down, the kid was crying. He hurt his arm in the fall. None of the other kids were here yet because they thought I was still “it,” but I could see them start to slow down and check out what was going on from a distance.

The hurt boy didn’t say anything to me. He just wanted help for his arm, probably. But I thought he was glaring at me. He looked so angry. Like I had ruined his entire life.

Before I knew it, everyone else was there. All of a sudden, like they teleported. They wanted to know what happened, and the kid wouldn’t answer. Soon they were all looking at me. I had never felt so guilty in all my life.

Instead of explaining, I hung my head and left the boys. They didn’t deserve a guy like me who hurt other people just to get ahead.

For the rest of that day and every recess to come, I hid out behind the bushes where nobody would find me. I didn’t like it there. It was extremely uncomfortable and everyone who found out about it thought I was unthinkably weird.

I stopped talking to my classmates after that. I knew they secretly hated me, so I chose not to speak to them. I couldn’t possibly stoop to bothering them after all I’d done. Eventually, I stopped talking at school altogether.

It was a shit year. A shit life, more accurately. Because after that, nothing seemed to go right ever again. Even when I got into this school, I wasn’t happy. And look where that’s gotten me now.

Feels like time’s stopped. Or maybe he’s just hesitating. Either way, the guy hasn’t pulled the trigger. If I wanna do something about this, now’s my only chance.

If mom dies from me pulling this… it’s not my fault.

I swing my foot up to his hand. Feels like I pull something in my already-tired leg, but I kick the gun straight out of the bastard’s grip.

“Holy shit, it worked?”

“What the-“

“Ahhh!” Mom screams and runs as fast as she can to get out of here.

I freeze. I didn’t plan this far ahead. I don’t really know what to do, but…

“What do you think you’re doing?!”

“It’s pizza time, motherfucker!”

I tackle the headmaster and beat on his head. I’ve never fought someone before, but it’s now or never. I punch him and keep punching him. We fight like this for so long I start going numb. For some reason, I eventually begin to hear murmurings all around me as I wail into the Dean. 

“Is that the guy…”

“What’s his name again?”

“Who is that?”

“Should we stop him?”

All around me, it seems the whole college has come to see our final showdown. Doesn’t make a difference to me. I don’t know these people. Don’t care about them.

“Holy shit, that’s Tim!” The chubby blonde guy calls out.

Taking advantage of my distraction, Mikalas shoves his fingers in my eyes. The lids close just in time, but it’s not enough to save me from the pain of having parts of your face pushed in farther than they’re supposed to go. 


“Get him, Headmaster Mikalas!”

“Yeah, crush that guy!”

“Kill him!”

Why are they cheering for the authority? Look, I get there’s no telling for them that he’s the bad guy, but you’ve clearly got the underdog right here! Am I that unlikable? Do these idiots just wanna see me die that badly?

I spot my driving instructor Crew at the front of the crowd, cheering for my demise. What an asshole. For some reason, that riles me up more than anything else.

Mikalas turns the tables, rolling over on top of me as I’m forced to raise my arms to defend from his blows towards my face. But in between his strikes, I get a clear punch right towards his nose. I strike true, feeling bone shatter as I hit him so hard he falls off my weak body.  We’re both standing at equal ground now, facing off at the edge of the cafeteria, where the tables end. Things are even, or so I think.

He laughs.

“Nice try, kiddo.”

The headmaster picks his gun back up off the ground. This time, he points it right at my head.


I run as fast as I can towards the nearest cover, the kitchen. I really should’ve headed straight into the crowd, I immediately berate myself, fearing I’ve made a mistake- not like I care if he shoots one of the other students by accident. But if I’d gone that way, they’d probably just’ve pushed me away and let him pop a cap in my ass. Not to mention I’m certain the police are still coming from that direction, if they’re not here already.

Pushing through the kitchen, I feel the heat of the ovens surrond me as they suddenly flick on. Guess orders are already up again. These goddamn things that ruined my life. They’re the ones to blame. These cooks, too. I shove many of them into walls just trying to get past. And all those students that blocked my way out? Them too. And the cops that made even that idea pointless. They’re all responsible. Not to mention my mom and that son of a bitch Mikalas. All of the world is responsible. I blame them all.

He’s still shooting from behind me as he grows hot on my trail. I couldn’t possibly know how much ammo’s he’s carrying in that thing, but it seems like a lot. The most likely future for me right now is probably having one of those stray bullets lodge itself right in my brain and end things any instant now.

One hits an oven door. They’re more like cages, iron bars hiding the infernal flame inside. Pretty hellish. I suppose it’s fitting.

“Give it up, Tim! It’s over!”

I keep running, but he’s right. I’ve reached the end of my rope here. I should just stop and give up. Maybe I won’t have to literally die that way. But for whatever reason, that seems like the most ridiculous choice I could possibly make right now.

I turn another corner in the massive labyrinth of ovens, praying they’ll be some emergency exit. School kitchens have those, right? Public places have those! There has to be one!

There is no exit.

In fact, I’m at a dead end. All that’s in this room is a white wall and like six freaking pizza ovens.

Six freaking pizza ovens.

Mikalas enters the room, panting. The slide on his gun isn’t locked back, so I assume that means he’s still got more bullets in there to fill me up with whenever he wants to.

“Alright… son. You had your fun… now turn yourself in. Or… do I gotta up and put you down, like the dog you are…?”

I raise my hands in the air, like a good boy.

“Good.” He utters, a relived smile growing on his face. Looks like I really tired the old man out.


“What?” He stops as he begins to search me for any weapons.

“I’m not responsible for the crime.”

He sighs.

“Jesus, lord… do you not understand just what the hell is wrong with you? Look, I… I gotta keep this school looking good. We can’t have psychos like you running about killing babies.”

“Never killed any babies.”

“What’s that?”

“I never… killed any babies.”

“Oh, is that right? Is that how you’re gonna justify it yourself? So you can sleep at night once you’re locked up in your tiny little cell?” The bastard sneers at me.

“It’s a fact. Nothing that happened before… was my fault. Not a single thing.”

He points the gun at me again, seemingly out of pure, shallow anger.

“Another word out of that deluded mouth of yours and I swear I’ll…”

“…but this is.”

I swing open the closest oven door and put all my strength into lifting up the Dean’s full body. Grabbing the bastard by his suit’s shoulders, I toss him into the fire, gun and all. In moments, I slam that cage door shut like my life depends on it.

“Ah… AH!”

I can literally see his skin melting like parmesan cheese.


He tries to squeeze the trigger, but he can’t even move to point the gun at me without burning even more.


His clothes are on fire. It’s so hot in there I end up having to step away a bit, but I keep watching.


“Sorry, sir.” I tell him. “I’ve already accepted that I’m the one who kills you.”


His last scream is just as annoying as it is satisfying.

I got arrested after that. Served a pretty long sentence. But… you know, it wasn’t so bad. College makes prison look like a freaking theme park. Things weren’t half as boring there, and I still got free food. I don’t know where Mikalas got off offering that as an incentive to go to his school. 

Most of the people I met there were pretty awful, but we respected each other a hell of a lot more than they did over at Northeast. I even made a few friends. Everyone thought it was pretty funny how chill I was for being a murderer and all.

Once I got let out early for my good behavior or whatever, I didn’t care so much about the things that used to worry me or make me anxious. Living life as I pleased, things have been pretty awesome since then. In time, all the friends I made there got let out too, and these days, we spend most of our time doing whatever it is we feel like doing.

I eventually made up with my mom, but she runs a pizzeria now, so I don’t go see her all that often. The stuff still makes me wanna throw up. All I can ever think about when I eat it is melted headmaster.

Then again, I’ve come around to a lot of things in life. Maybe pizza will be next.