After months of denial, then attempting to ignore it, Tino had to face facts: his pizza oven was haunted.
When his old oven gave out after fifteen years of loyal service, Tino did what he often did to outfit his restaurant: get a replacement from auction. It got him a decent piece of equipment for a reasonable price, and he didn’t have to deal with any annoying former owners. After the problems started, Tino wished he had a former owner to consult.
The incidents started out pretty innocently. A pizza went in with the pepperoni covering it evenly, and when it came back out, all the pepperoni was on one half. Tino just figured one of the guys had messed up the order and got confused. Then a pizza came out where all the pepperoni was in a single stack, tall and charred.
Tino thought Bobby Tucci was playing some kind of joke on him, till the next day, when Mrs. Angarano pointed out that the toppings on the supreme pizza were shaped to look just like Tino himself. Through the week, the rest of the employees’ portraits were painted in the medium of meats and vegetables. On Sunday, the whole crew gathered around to see what would be next, and they beheld a miracle. There, in sausage and peppers, was the Virgin Mary.
The holy pizza was all over the internet, and a news crew from Channel 7 even came out for a quick story. Maybe you saw it. It made Papa Tino’s a pretty popular joint. Till a pie spelled out a four letter word that upset old Mr. Palmiotti so badly that he fell over backwards.
Priests came for an exorcism, but it was no use. Pizza still came out rearranged into indecent suggestions. Finally Tino threw up his hands and said, “You know what? Do whatever you want with my pies. You have my blessing. Happy?”
Apparently it was, because the designs became playful smiling faces or target patterns or pictures of animals, with the bare minimum of occasional unmentionable words or drawings. Tino would just shrug and tell his customers, “My oven’s got Tourette’s. What do you want from me?”