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The Great International Pizza Disaster This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Everyone has ordered a pizza, right? It's easy: you dial the pizza parlor, say you'd like a large with everything, and hang up. Thirty minutes later, they deliver it (guaranteed). Anybody can do it - except, apparently, me. Need proof? Well, our Spanish Club went to Mexico for ten days. Everybody loves Mexican food, right? Yes, but after five days, we had grown tired of burritos. We decided to order a pizza, but the idea quickly turned into a disaster, with no survivors.

Actually, we did very well ordering the first pizza, probably because I wasn't involved. Unfortunately, there were a dozen of us so one pizza wasn't enough. I, the only male, was reduced to slavery and sent to get more pizza. From the start, it went badly. The first brave souls who ventured out for pizza apparently used the front desk phone to order. When I asked, though, the attendant pointed to the phones across the lobby that needed a special card, which I didn't have.

I staggered back to the desk, defeated, and casually mentioned I just wanted to order a pizza and would be willing to sell my soul if necessary. One of the attendants took pity on me, dialed Domino's, and tossed me the phone from behind the desk. This was the first success of the night, and suddenly, I felt somewhat cocky. Gripping the phone, I prepped myself for a pizza-ordering spectacular. That's when things went terribly wrong.

The first thing I heard was a female voice speaking at a rate of roughly one million words per minute. Think of the typical high-school girl talking to her best friend: it was at least that fast. Since I was outnumbered 13 to one by girls on the trip, I was starting to get used to the speed. The pace wasn't the only problem, though. Being in Mexico, the mysterious voice on the other end was speaking Spanish. You would think that I, a member of the Spanish Club, would be able to understand the language, but you would be wrong.

I tried, I really did. Feeling slightly less sure, I proudly (and slowly) said, "Un grande con pepperoni, por favor." I was rewarded with another million words I couldn't understand. I gamely tried again: "Mas lentamente, por favor. Soy un turista y un poco estupido" (Slow down, please. I am a tourist and a little stupid). I suppose she might have slowed down, but a half million words in a foreign language is still a lot to understand. It's like being suddenly dunked under water where everything washes over you, and all you can hear is your burbling.

All traces of cockiness gone, I turned to the only source I could think of - the desk attendant. That's when the situation hit record levels of bad. See, I realized that perhaps he wasn't looking out for my best interests. Remember the unusable phone at the beginning? That was him, but that didn't occur to me. Instead, I asked him politely for help. No, let's be honest - I dropped to my knees and begged him. He grabbed the phone and spoke for several minutes about, as far as I could tell, the upcoming Oscars (I told you I wasn't very good with Spanish).

Finally, he shoved a slip of paper at me and told me I had to make a choice. One pizza came with Coke and breadsticks, the other was just the pizza. Oddly, the second was more expensive. I pointed to the second, waited for them to agree on Adam Sandler for Best Actor, and told him "Muchas gracias." Wiping tears from my eyes, I retreated to the room to bemoan my fate and wait for the pizza, which would make it all worthwhile.

When the pizza arrived 30 minutes later, as promised, I almost choked. It was as big as a car (well, a small car). And there were breadsticks. And a liter of Coke. To top it all off, it cost about 150 pesos ($15). I had expected it to cost a lot less. I paid, of course, and took it to the room. I swear I heard the evil desk attendant chuckling as I left the lobby. If I hadn't been so angry, I might have felt embarrassed that I had failed so miserably.

It wasn't over yet. When I opened the box, I was shocked to find slices of ham skulking among the pepperoni. It wasn't just a few pieces that had accidentally fallen among the requested toppings. No, no, the entire pizza was covered with shreds of ham. Everywhere I looked scraps of ham glared back at me. It looked like a war between the pepperoni and the ham with the ham definitely winning. How can you mistake ham for pepperoni? It couldn't be an accident. I knew the desk attendant was out to get us. We ate the pizza anyway. The only alternative was burritos.

We made it back from Mexico without any other major incidents. We have gotten together afterwards to talk about the trip and invariably, someone always says, "Hey, do you remember when you tried to order pizza and it didn't go too well?" Then I invariably burst into tears and change the subject. I hope that someday we can all laugh about this little incident. After all, the girls have been laughing ever since it happened.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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