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Collin woke up ready for another day of sixth grade. He was a normal kid, very small and
unimposing but normal just the same. He did have one outstanding feature though, Collin loved
pepperoni pizza; he had loved it ever since his Grandpa Sonny had given him some as a young kid. But
after Grandpa Sonny passed away Collin didn’t get to have any pepperoni pizza. Collin grew up on a
small farm with very little money but he went to school with lots of kids, many of which had lots of
money and had for many generations. Most lived much closer to large pizza ingredient distribution
plants where kids who made pizza did it with much more talent than those who grew up on farms
similar to Collin’s. So every day Collin went to school with his peanut butter and jelly sandwich and ate
lunch with the other kids who didn’t have much money and looked on in envy at the table of cool eighth
grade kids who always got to eat pizza.
One day Collin had had enough envy and wanted to buy a piece of pepperoni pizza for himself
so he asked his father how he could make some money. His dad let him work on the farm for some
money but it was hard work. Every weekend he would go out there and shovel cow shit and bale hay, he
was so tired of the work but each weekend he would get a little more money and he kept thinking ‘next
weekend I’ll finally have enough.’ Well after 4 or 5 weekends he finally had earned enough to buy a slice
of pepperoni pizza at lunch. He was even more excited to finally show off his pizza to the super hippie
kid who lived next door to him but that was beside the point.
Around the same time that Collin had begun working on the farm a rich redneck kid from Florida
had transferred to Collin’s school. His name was Jeremy and like any other kid his age, he loved pizza.
The rumor was Jeremy used to live right next to a pizza shop owned by the local pastor, Father Timothy.
When Jeremy lived next to Timothy he got to eat pizza all the time, in fact he used to get the very best
pizza as Father Timothy had won the national pizza contest twice when Jeremy lived there.
Unfortunately Father Timothy had sold the shop a few years back and Jeremy wasn’t able to get pizza
So the day finally came that Collin was going to buy a slice of pizza from the school cafeteria for
lunch, he could hardly contain his enthusiasm. He strode confidently up to the counter and gave the
lunch lady his order and his money and reaped his reward. He could smell every drop of grease and he
loved it. Collin then figured if he had pizza then he was able to sit with the cool kids so he headed their
direction. Jeremy’s family had spent a lot of money to move to their new home and Jeremy hadn’t
gotten to eat pizza in a very long time and so he did what the other big eighth graders would have done,
he punched Collin in the face and took his pizza. Collin couldn’t believe what happened, he had worked
so hard, shoveled so much shit, and patiently waited each weekend so he could achieve his goal. But just
when he finally put all the pieces together and had a short lived ecstasy from smelling the pizza and
looked forward to how delicious it would be, it was all taken from him by Jeremy.
Collin didn’t think he could feel any worse about what happened until the brigade of pity and
fake sympathy fell upon him. Each kid that had witnessed what happened was powerless to stop Jeremy
but still each one came up and offered their condolences. One kid named Nicholas told him ‘chin up
kiddo, if you keep working hard and shoveling shit for 4 to 5 weekends at a time and letting the big kids
punch you in the face and take your pizza then eventually they might stop doing that.’ For the first time
since he lost the pizza Collin’s eyes shimmered with some hope and replied, ‘Really?’ Nicholas looked
back and before he could say anything Collin’s classmate whose family were steel mill workers from
Pittsburgh interjected, ‘Nope, they won’t stop. But don’t worry, it’s just The System.’