“He’s only being friendly!” Mrs Speck cooed from the doorstep as Tommy struggled up the path carrying pizza boxes while Mrs Speck’s ugly little terrier tried to sink its teeth into his ankles. Tommy handed over the boxes and while Mrs Speck counted out notes and coins into his hand, the dog persisted in its attempts to jump up and bite any hint of Tommy’s bare skin.
“Someone smells like dinner,” Mrs Speck laughed. She always said this. Every Friday when he made her usual delivery. Tommy longed to give the mutt a swift kick to the chops but he was sure Mrs Speck would be straight on the phone to complain and old Mr Marconi would have his letter of dismissal printed out and signed by the time Tommy got back to base. Tommy couldn’t afford to lose his job; he needed the money to get him through catering college.
And another thing: Mrs Speck never gave him a tip. For months, Tommy had been delivering pizzas, garlic bread and battered mushrooms to this idiotic woman and she had never given him so much as a brass farthing to acknowledge his trouble or to compensate for the distress her precious little Munchkin always caused.
The transaction complete, Tommy headed back to his car. Munchkin gave chase, yipping happily and snapping at Tommy’s trainers. Tommy slammed the door shut and started the engine. Munchkin sprang up at the window, leaving a smear of saliva on the glass and, no doubt, scratching the paintwork.
Little bastard, Tommy snarled. He drove off with a screech of his tyres. He noticed that the little bastard had drawn blood; there was a bite mark, albeit a faint one, on the side of his little finger. Little bastard ought to be shot, Tommy sucked at the wound. Someone should bite a chunk out of Munchkin and see how he likes it.
The following Friday Mr Marconi boxed up Mrs Speck’s order as usual and Tommy set off to deliver it. Half an hour later, he rang Tommy’s number and said the customer had complained. Where was Mrs Speck’s order? What was Tommy playing at? Had he got stuck in traffic?
“Um, something like that,” said Tommy, locking his front door. “On my way now, boss.”
This week Mrs Speck wasn’t laughing. In fact, she looked tearful and her eyes were circled from lack of sleep. All over her garden fence and gate were photocopied photos of Munchkin and the offer of a generous reward for his safe return.
“Somebody must have taken him,” she sniffed as she counted the money into Tommy’s hand. “But who would want to hurt my little Munchkin? Such a friendly dog.”
Tommy shook his head in a show of sympathy. Mrs Speck tucked the pizza box under her arm.
“Someone smells like dinner,” she said sadly and closed the door.
Tommy strolled back to his car. For a second he was tempted to go back and peer through Mrs Speck’s window. But that might give the game away.
Oh, how delicious it would be to see stupid Mrs Speck sink her teeth into the pizza to which he had added a very special topping.