Tuesday, April 12, 2005


~ A couple of towns over from mine, there are these two pizza and sub shops on the same block. For several years each have been running sales, specials and promotions in attempts to outdo the other. While both are quite busy and profitable, that hasn't stopped their food feud. Pizza Pizzazz and Subthing Else are located in a busy section of the town and tap into the same resources. While has their own regular clients, both depend heavily on the transient customer.
~ Two other businesses separate the two eateries. One, a Laundromat, provides both of them with a steady flow of patrons. While waiting for their laundry, the presence of the food nearby draws them in for a bite to eat. Pizzas and subs fit the bill nicely. Indeed, both shops conveniently plant their menus on the bulletin board and leave them on the tables next to the magazines.
~ It is the other business, however, that they both strive to corner. The clientele there are all over weight women, and the exercise Emporium has no shortage of those on a waiting list for membership. The place provides a service for women who are dedicated to hours a day to lose weight through a regimen of exercise and specialized diets.
~ Depending on which of the employees you talk to at the eateries, there are a number of nick names for the place and the members. I have overheard quite a few, such as the Fat Habitat and the Slim Reaper. One of the grill men refers to the women's workouts as a Leviathon. After each two hour session, there is a massive exodus. The women pour out of the place, dispersing either left or right depending on which of the two restaurants they prefer. It is like a stampede of women in tight jeans strained at the seams, in a road race. Having witnessed the scene, the term Leviathon makes a lot sense.
~ Every two hours, like the changing of the guards, the scene is played out again and again. Although the Running of the Bulls is a spectacle itself, another drama unfolds inside the two rival shops.
~ Sitting in a corner away from the counter, one can imagine a feeding frenzy like the ones on those nature shows on PBS. A little imagination, and you feel like you are watching a pride of lions at a fallen wildebeest. You are Jacques Cousteau witnessing sharks tearing into a whale carcass. Woe be the person trying to place an order amid that herd. The elbows and pocketbooks flail like the contestants in a tag-team wrestling match.
~ It is almost hilarious to see one emerge from the scrum already trying to shove one of two subs down her gullet. You can only marvel at the energy they spend just to run the gauntlet to get at the trough. If they expended that much energy during their exercise sessions, this bevy of blubber will someday be the objects of every man's desire.
~ While some of them leave the scene of the grime to camp out in their minivans and SUVs, several lay siege upon the few tables. The woman in the seat near me has polished off a large tuna sub and an order of French fries. She completes her feast by washing it all down with a twenty ounce bottle of Diet Pepsi. Her remaining sub is stashed into her gym bag, probably to be eaten on the drive home. Perhaps to relax, or for the benefit of her session mates, she scans a calorie chart. Watching discreetly, I think to myself, there is a true dieter if I ever saw one.
~ Meanwhile, Pizza Pizzazz and Subthing Else keep rolling in the dough for their hungry cash registers, even as they are rolling out the dough for another batch of pizzas.

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