You may recall that last year the Executive Committee Holiday Dinner took place at MOD Pizza. We chose the location for 3 reasons:
- Everbody loves pizza.
- It was fairly close to home.
- I thought the place was named after me (my role in the EC is Mean Old Dictator) and I would get free pizza. It didn’t work out that way.
This year we decided to return to MOD Pizza for the following 3 reasons:
- Everybody still loves pizza.
- It’s still fairly close to home.
- Yellow was too lazy to come up with an alternative.
And so it was that Thursday night I drove the fairly short distance to MOD Pizza. I arrived to find Stevie and Gabe had already staked out the big table. Good for them. The place was more crowded that I remember from last year. Erica and her family had staked out a booth nearby because the big table was too big for her small children.
We were soon joined by Melfy, Fagan, Trent and Yellow. Cindy was, well, who knows where Cindy was? Rachie was sick. Prewitt had to work. Pokin lives in Springfield, so he might as well live on the moon. And Spaulding might as well live on the moon for all she cares about the EC. So overall, not a bad turnout.
I devoured my buffalo chicken pizza while chatting with Stevie and Melfy. I then left the big table to visit with Trent, Erica, Pete and the kids. Had a nice long visit then decided I should check in with Yellow and Fagan back at the big table.
“What’s going on?” I says
“We’re all freaked out,” Yellow says
“Don’t turn around now, but right behind you there is a guy sitting by himself and staring strangely at people.”
“And he has a gun.”
“Well, this is Missouri. He’s probably not the only person here with a gun. Heck, Pete probably has a gun. How do you know he has a gun?”
“He’s not concealing it. You can see it. Is it even legal to carry unconcealed guns?”
“So it would be OK if the creepy, staring guy had a gun but you just didn’t know it? That does it, I’m leaving.”
“We are too.” And everybody at the big table stands up and starts putting on their coats.
“Whoa, there! I was joking.”
“I’m not. I have a very bad gut feeling about this,” says Stevie.
Everyone else at the big table also had a bad gut feeling. I thought maybe it was the pizza, but then I felt fine. I mean, I’m the biggest coward alive but I’m not really afraid of being shot to death at MOD Pizza.
So now I’ve got to go to the booth and tell Erica and the others that we’re leaving. And why.
“There’s a strange loner in the corner with a gun,” I says.
“Well, this is St. Charles,” Erica says.
“That’s what I said — only I said Missouri. But your point is even better.”
Erica didn’t seem too concerned, despite having the most to lose if it all went down, what with her husband and two offspring in tow. By this time the others had already left the building but Erica still had to bundle up and corral two kids and all their stuff. I had to decide whether to go out to the safety of the bitter cold and wait with the others or take my chances and risk my life staying in the warm restaurant with mysterious loner with gun.
As I waited for Erica’s clan to get their stuff together, the man in question walks past us with his tray. Someone says “Hi,” he smiles and says “Hi” back. He dumps his trash and puts his plate away. He walks out the door, into his truck, and drives away.
Why the f— are we leaving?
Still, once you’ve bundled up the kids and their crap it’s too late to back out, so we went outside to join the rest of the gang. Took the annual group photo, then debated what to do next. Erica and family left for home, as did Melfy. After some talk, we decided it was too cold to debate outside so we headed back to MOD. Turns out, as soon as we had walked out the door, they closed the place up. Apparently my friends were not the only ones afraid of mystery loner with gun.
We eventually settled on regrouping at Trailhead Brewery. We each had a beer and talked about TV shows, the RFFC and the dangers of living in New Town. I’m guessing we won’t be going back to MOD Pizza next year, which is OK by me because it doesn’t look like they sell T-Shirts. I really want a “Keep MOD Weird” T-Shirt. But I don’t want to have to work there to get one.
Happy New Year. Stay safe.