I was at Leo's Pizza with a friend yesterday when the Ninja called my cell. He got out of work early so I encouraged him to meet up with us. Nothing unusual there.
Things got weird when he walked into the pizzeria with two slices from Leo's chief rival, Imperial Pizza! Apparently, the Ninja had already ordered the slices before he got in touch with me. Not wanting to waste the food or risk eating it cold, he brought it into another pizzeria in the same neighborhood. The whole thing reminded me of something Kramer might do on a Seinfeld episode. When he arrived at Leo's, the Ninja did order an Italian Sausage Sub and a drink (he's been on a health kick lately.) Although he did his best to cover the box, an acquaintance of his was nice enough to throw him under the bus and alerted the girl at the register, who in turn, told the manager.
I have to admit I was a little uncomfortable sitting in one pizzeria, while my friend was sitting across from me, eating food from their main competitor. The manager came out from the back. As regulars, we knew the manager by face and have shared brief, pleasant conversations with him.
What the Ninja had done could only be described as bizarre. However, we thought the manager might take it all in good fun. After all, Leo's doesn't seem to be hurting for business, and anyone who knows the Ninja, knows he has a crazy sense of humor. This was not to be the case. The manager gave the Ninja a piece of his mind in front of the whole restaurant. It got so bad, the Ninja even asked him if he wanted him to leave. You could hear a pin drop as the standoff unfolded. Later on, the Ninja would go on to say as a longtime patron of Leo's on Seneca St, next to Recchio's, and the current location, he felt blindsided. The manager told him it was ok for him to stay, but said his act was disrespectful. Needless to say, the rest of the meal was very tense. For the record, I like both Leo's and Imperial.
The next night, in an effort to extend the olive branch, we went back to Leo's. As the Ninja often says, "A man who doesn't shop in his own neighborhood, can never be a man at all."