Pizzeria Roma. It’s a nice place. Friendly service, good pizza, not too smoky most days, it’s a place to go and get things done. fuego and I met there Wednesday with a full agenda. Vacuum cleaners to sell, scripts to discuss. Writer stuff. I got there at about four in the afternoon to find fuego marking up some copy for the vacuum catalog.
I settled in across from him and tried to get my brain around another in a series of short stories that begins with Moonlight Sonata. This one, I have a character and I have the theme, but the story was stuck. So while I rambled on in the hope of stumbling across a story fuego was pounding his head against why this particular vacuum cleaner is superior to all others.
Time passed. Since neither of us was enjoying tremendous success, we were starting to interrupt each other, to talk about more interesting things. fuego punted on Zepter and hauled out his laptop, and produced an item that can only have negative long-term consequences—a splitter to allow us to plug in to the already-occupied outlet. There is now no limit to how long we can stay.
And when I say no limit, I mean just that. Roma never closes. So we sat and discussed a short screenplay adaptation of a thing I wrote you have never read, discussed the script competition it is targeted for (which may not even happen this year), and came to an understanding about the feel of the whole piece. We thought about shots but didn’t really get into the dialog so much. This story will be much more adaptable than other things I wrote. So we got some good stuff done on that.
Then, out came Zepter again. There’s a big pile of copy here for just one friggin vacuum cleaner. Naturally, being me, I had many opinions to express and now I’m a co-writer for this crap. We spent some time bashing our heads against that. (Copy writing is hard—not only do you need to be interesting, you have to be informative and not provably false.)
fuego and I wrapped up at last, having advanced the art on many fronts but without a breakthrough. The last phase of the evening was spent marking up paper, so I didn’t have my computer’s clock in front of me. fuego checked his phone, and his eyes bugged out, just a little bit. “Do you know what time it is?” he asked me.
I knew by the way he asked that it was way later than I thought. I thought it was probably about 2 a.m., so I added a couple of hours and guessed “Ummm… four?”
“Almost six-thirty,” he said. “Dang.”
As I walked the two miles home in the dawn’s early light, I reflected that Pizzeria Roma has done something that Einstein and his bunch had given up on. There in an innocuous semi-subterranean all-night restaurant, the laws of the space-time continuum as we know it have been suspended. Perhaps there is a black hole in there, somewhere near the oven, that they installed to hasten pizza service, and its effects are felt throughout the bar. Perhaps the pizza sauce is laced with a subtle psychotic drug that deadens the consumer’s sense of time passing. Whatever it is, I want the rest of my Wednesday back. Not that I was doing anything useful with it—it’s just the principle of the thing.