The Kilroy All-Star Christmas Spectacular: Same Old Lang Chapter
I have rules about pizza. I call them Kilroy's Rules About Pizza. Mom calls them Jeff's Nonsense About Pizza because she doesn't take pizza as seriously I and she doesn't like calling me Kilroy despite the importance of pizza and the name in my life. Whatever. I have a code and that code includes rules. One rule in my code: you don't get out of the car until the song is done, as I've already mentioned. Another rule in my code: socks don't have to match. I just added that one last month when I lost some socks in laundry. My code, which contains my rules, are written in a journal that I keep on hand so that I can amend said code and rules as needed.
Kilroy's Rules About Pizza
St. Louis Style Pizza is the best.
New York Style is a close second.
Pizza rolls should be appetizers at pizza places.
Pineapple belongs on a fruit plate, not a pizza.
I have a whole other section about frozen pizza, too.
So, yes, I take pizza very seriously, which is why I'm deeply offended to my very core that Herpezoids have included one of nature's most perfect foods in a list of demands in exchange for my mother. If I'm not willing to exchange pizza for your mom then what kind of son am I? That's part of my code, too.
We pull into Caligula's Pizza, which is probably the greatest pizza on this planet. The best pizza in space is from a place call Zilzab's on Bi Xiu Prime in the Jaqrillion sector. It's St. Louis style except they call it Bi Xiu style and when I explained to them about St. Louis style, they just looked at me like I had tentacles for ears. Ironic, considering the aliens that run Zilzab's literally have tentacles for ears. Caligula's is on the north end of town by the high school. Tony and I used to go every day for lunch. The rain persists. My anger seethes. I need to pee. I pull into a parking spot and pull out my phone to double-check the Herpezoids order while Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne" plays from the A Very Kilroy Christmas Playlist.
"I don't think this is a Christmas song," Tony says.
"Are you trying to pick a fight?" I ask.
"I'm just saying. It's a song about two people lamenting their lives while they get drunk in a car."
"On Christmas Eve," I add. "It takes place on Christmas Eve. Ergo, it's a Christmas song."
"It's depressing. How can you listen to this depressing song when it's raining and all this crap is going on?"
"Catharsis." The song ends and I'm about to turn off the song when Tony freaks and ducks down in his seat.
"Shit, shit, shit. Double shit."
"What is your problem?"
"Triple shit." He wallows in his seat and I'm pretty sure he would crawl into the glove box if he could fit. "Marlene just walked out with her dad."
I look around and spot Tony's ex walking with her dad out to his truck. They're carrying what appears to be a large pizza. I don't know Marlene's dad but he doesn't look like a pineapple person. Probably a Meat Explosion. Marlene can make quick work of a pizza. I've seen her do it more than a few times. It's impressive. Respect a girl who can eat more pizza than you. That's part of my code.
"Quick," I tell my panicked friend, " go say hi!"
He stops squirming and falls still. The fright in his eyes gives way to a sadness I've seen too many times. Tony loves Marlene and he knows breaking up with her is the dumbest goddamn thing he has ever done or will ever do. He lives with the regret every day. We talk about it and even when we don't it's always there.
"No." His voice is barely audible. "She doesn't wanna talk to me. She hasn't texted me back. I know what that means."
I don't know what to say, but catch a glimpse of them driving by in my sideview mirror while the Dan Fogelberg song starts up again.
"Holy shit, dude. This is your Same Old Lang Syne moment."
"What are you talking about it?"
"Seeing Marlene is just like Dan Fogelberg seeing his old lover in the grocery store. See? It's a Christmas song."
"There is so much wrong with your statement," he says to me. "And I'd rather not think of Marlene as my old lover. Let's just get the pizzas, go meet up with Kelly Clarkson, and rescue your mom."
"Hold on." I point to the stereo.
We sit in the silence listening to the song as the rain intensifies.