Best Pies

So I took my imaginary great uncle up to the Best Pies Pizzeria in Truckee. I wanted to continue my quest to stop by every restaurant in the county and I thought if I brought along Leadbelly, then that moocher, Bertie, wouldn't show up and eat half my food.

Of course, the trade-off with my imaginary great uncle (on my sister's side) is that Great Uncle Leadbelly is kinda cranky in public. Still, he kept quiet when we walked in and got on stools at the bar. He didn't speak up until I ordered.

"Pepperoni? I thought we were going to the 'best pies' place," he complained. "I like pie."

"Ah, but what kind of pie?" I asked after the server had moved on. "These are pizza pies, man."

"I was hoping for cherry."

"Don't," I waggled my finger at him.

"I didn't fight against the Italians in the war to come back to eat their food," he said. I sighed.

"Pizza's not Italian," I said. "And you didn't fight the Italians."

"Sure, we called them Romans back then, but I helped hold the line at Hadrian's Wall."

I stared at him. "You've been vague about your war experiences, but that's ridiculous. There weren't any Americans fighting the Romans.""

"What, you think the US would shirk her duty to an ally like Scotland?"

"It's not that--"

"Sonny boy, who do you think created the shout, 'FREEDOM!'?"

"Shh, Great Uncle, really."

A different server arrived with the slices of pizza. My face fell.

"That's cheese pizza," Great Uncle Leadbelly pointed out. "We ordered pepperoni."

"Is everything OK?" the server asked.

"Well," I mumbled and stumbled (I'm not good with confrontation), "I think I ordered pepperoni from the other one, but whatever."

"Oh, no problem, I'll take care of it." She took the slices away.

"You sure you're related to me?" Great Uncle Leadbelly asked. "I don't know what shape we'd have been in if you'd been leading the charge against the Brits. You'd whisper something like, 'I wouldn't object to a bit of freedom, if it's all right with you chaps and whatever.'"

"I thought we were fighting the Romans."


The server returned with slices covered in pepperoni. "Don't worry, I'll take her out back and give her a good beating for messing up your order," she said.

My eyes went wide and I blushed, I'm sure. But Great Uncle Leadbelly had a ready response, "You know--"

"Don't," I said. I was sure he was going to ask if he could watch.

"I'd take her outside with the threat that I was going to beat her and then give her a big hug. Really freaks them out. That's what I used to do for him."

"Huh?" the server asked.

"That explains why I don't like people touching me," I said. The server just shook her head and walked away. I forget that other people can't hear my great uncle's voice.

The pizza was good. It was New York style, and you could actually fold it and eat it with one hand in the proper way. I tried to ignore my great uncle and watched some game on the TV over the bar.

After I paid the bill and we walked out onto the street, I told Leadbelly that we were going to visit Great Aunt Iva next. His eyes went round as saucers and he mumbled something.

"What?" I asked. "Couldn't hear you."

"Nothin'" he said very quietly. We walked to the corner where there are four entrances and three stop signs. I pointed it out to Leadbelly.

"I guess it's because of the train tracks," I said, "but there are a lot of these (n-1) stop sign intersections in the county. We've started calling that a factorial intersection."

I turned to see how he took my wittiness and saw Great Uncle running down the street away from me.

"Great Uncle!" I shouted. "It's only your sister!"

And I could only hear one word, shouted lustily back: "FREEDOM!"

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