Riverbend Pizza is this awesome place that I worked at from the time I was 15 until sometime during my senior year of High school. Aside from mowing my grandma's lawn, it was my first real job - and it ruled... a lot. So here's a huge collaboration of some of my memories. This is going to be long and I'm not a terrific writer, so I'm sorry if it sucks.
I worked with a lot of people while at Riverbend, so let me preface by introducing them. The most memorable/prominent were Krut, Shirley, Randy, Joey, Boone, Wingert, Morris, Tom, and Bunky. Yeah there are a couple nick names there - we had nicknames for everything really. The giant machine that we used to knead dough and grind cheese was named "Grog." The knives and dough cutters had nicknames that had to do with splitting molecules. And the little brillo pads were named "scrubbies." Eventually everything that had anything to do with cleaning became a "scrubby" - which got very confusing. Aside from that, here are the characters in this story along with nicknames: Shirley, Randy, Kurt LeCleir (aka Krut), Derek Brooks (me), Joe Haymaker (aka Joey), Boone Ebel, Jeff Wingert, Tom McClain, Ray Terhune (aka Bunky), and Jason Morris.
Randy and Shirley owned the place - their son Kurt managed it and eventually would take it over. Kurt was there nearly every night, but the owners only came in on weekends... That is, until Randy quit due to our retardedness, haha - imagine that. Kurt's a cool guy - funny, weird, has tiny nipples, etc. He and I got in fights at times, but overall, he was a pretty rad boss - which no one ever realizes until after they've worked with a few horrible bosses. He always had these phrases that he used all the time - so often in fact that I still remember them like 8 years later. Those phrases included (but are not limited to): I'm thinkin', Christ people, from hell, 2 foot nothin', and oh God yes.
Other than the official management though, Boone, Joey, and I pretty much ran the place - socially. Tom probably ran things more as far as responsibility. In fact, he was pretty insane about his job. He would work up a sweat like none other; his shirt would be wet like 7th hour PE class - for real. He was always on so much speed that you could never understand wtf he was saying. Like when we answered the phone we would greet the customer by saying, "Riverbend Pizza." Tom however said something more along the lines of "e-bendrita!" At the end of the phone call we would let the customer know how long the pizza would take to be complete. At our normal pace we generally said "that'll be 20-25 minutes." Tom's version sounded more like, "Gimme twenfie fie!" Definitely a hard worker.
He had a pretty big temper though - I hope he doesn't read this and kick my ass, haha. One time he was working the "front," which basically means, you run the register and manage pizzas in the oven. I was working the back, which meant, making pizzas and doing dishes. This particular night Boone and I kept throwing pieces of cheese at him, little peanut sized pieces. At one point he got super annoyed and told me that if I threw 1 more piece of cheese at him, he was going to kill me. And needless to say, being the little 150 pound punk that I was - I just had to throw 1 more piece of cheese at the 200 pound powerhouse that was currently super mad at me.
I threw the cheese at his head; he instantly turned beet red and punched the front counter as hard as he could - which was in fact, really, really hard. After that he yelled, "SEE! I told ya, didn't I!" I was excited to still be alive, but pushed it again and said, "Tom you didn't kill me." At which point he yelled, "It's not me!" and ran off to the dining room. I don't really know what that meant. But I'm 100% sure that it was "the line," and I shouldn't cross it - so I shut my mouth.
1 last thing about Tom, he was a horrible speller. He mostly had problems with last names. Like, one time a woman called in whose name was Polenski - pronounced pull-in-skee. He wrote Paleskin.
So yeah, back to Joe, Boone, and I. Basically our 2 main goals were to have fun, and pick on Morris, Bunky, and Wingert as much as we could. To make things easier, I will refer to them collectively as "the kids" from here on out.
We had this table where we pressed the dough in flour before tossing it. Every weekend we would draw a circle in said flour which was effectively called "The Circle of Suck." Then we would plot out points where people were located. Boone, Joe, and I were always outside of the circle. Jeff, Ray, and Morris were always inside the circle. We would explain how bad they sucked, and sometimes tell them that they were really close to the edge of the circle. We'd try to give them little pep talks and tips to show them how to get out of the Suck Circle... but we never EVER let them get out, haha. Joey would say things like, "You need to find something to get across this line and get outside of that circle. Find a pogo stick, a long pole, anything." Ray would get so so pissed about it and scream things like, "I HAVE WORKED HERE LONGER THAN THESE TWO, I'M NOT IN THE CIRCLE OF SUCK, F*** YOU GUYS!" It was golden.
Another thing we did to pick on the kids, was throw screens at them. See, we cooked our pizzas on these round screens with metal rims around them. I hope this doesn't give any Riverbend secrets away... But toward the end of the baking time, we would remove the screen and set the pizza on the actual slate to make the crust slightly more crispy. To remove the screen you had to use the giant pizza spatula and set it over into this pile of dirty screens. To be polite you would always say, "hot screen" to make sure no one got in the way and got burnt.
The longer we worked the oven, the faster we became and could launch screens really really hard. So needless to say, if any of the kids were around we would yell "hot screen!" As soon as we said that they would try to get the hell out of the way - but it was always too late. We'd launch that 500 degree screen so freaking hard at them. Haha, man, that s*** was funny.
Wingert definitely got picked on the worst. Not that we hated Wingert, in fact he is one of my closest friends out of the group. It's just that he was really really easy to pick on. For Jeff's first month or so, we made him do dishes every night. And anyone that has done dishes commercially knows that it SUCKS. Your back gets sore, your hands get nasty, your back is toward all the fun, etc. One time while Jeff was doing dishes, Joey and I came running in with Super Soakers. Not those little liter-sized ones - I'm talking about the big gallon-sized guns that shot water like a hose. We UNLOADED on him. He was so wet and so mad that all he did was drop his arms to his waist, stood there, and waited for us to finish.
As if doing dishes isn't bad enough, there was another time that Jeff paid for being at the sink. It was the middle of winter and it was snowing a ton. Since he had his back to us, we decided it would be a good idea to bury Jeff's Escort. Everyone working that night took turns going outside with a shovel and scooping snow onto his car. By the end of the night it was BURIED, haha. I still don't know how or why he didn't kill us. And it sometimes baffles me that he is still my friend.
Another time while Jeff was in the bathroom, I replaced the Mountain Dew in his glass with Jalapeno juice. See, at a pizza place you get these giant commercial sized jars of Jalapenos. And once you get near the bottom, there's a LOT of juice leftover. And since Jalapeno juice is green, and Jeff's glass was red - we decided to switch it. He would never notice. As you can also guess, working in a company kitchen environment, things get pretty hot. So when you want a drink of your dewski, you want a freakin drink of your dewski. Not too long later, Jeff grabbed his drink and dumped it back - he was thirsty. I think he got 2 gulps down before he even realized what he was drinking. He immediately went to the bathroom and puked, haha. Oh man, that had to suck so bad. I think I got a glass full of salt a few times as payback.
The last "pick on Jeff story" involves him sitting in the dining room doing homework while we had no customers. Joey and I were taking down all the chairs from the night before, and decided that instead of taking them down and putting them in front of tables - we'd just throw them at Jeff. These weren't like crappy hollow pipe chairs, these were the cast iron legged chairs. They're heavy. So we launch 5-10 of these chairs at the back of his chair while he's doing homework. He's sort of laughing, but sort of pissed. So finally he gets up, throws 1 chair at us, and ripped a hole in the carpet, haha. We threw 10 chairs at him, he threw 1, and he got busted for ripping the carpet, haha. You can see the little patch where it ripped to this day.
Ray Terhune. Bunky. There's not really many stories about picking on Bunky aside from arguments. It was so incredibly easy to argue with Ray, and he would get SOOO into it. I seriously don't think I've ever met a person that could argue as good as he could. He would get so heated, but still remain funny - and not really that mad. I can't even think of any examples, except for arguing some of his pointless lies. Like his uncle that shot a deer with a tank on his ranch in Colorado. Or the time he did 90mph around this corner on Ranch Road that has a 45mph advisory. Maybe it's possible - but not with a 4 cylinder 62 Nova with 1 leaf spring per side. That car would roll right over.
Bunky would also get mad about Cheese Cutting races. We'd get these 25 lb. boxes of cheese that came in 6 huge blocks. Each block had to be cut into a grid of 12 strips so that we could feed them into a cheese grinder. So we had this giant machete sized knife and had races to see how fast we could cut 25 pounds of cheese into 72 strips. Joey and I each got under 5 minutes, Ray always claimed he got 5 minutes, but we never ever believed him - so he'd argue. Even when he would get 5 minutes we'd argue him. He would get so mad, haha.
Ray was also the kind of guy that got super excited about things - like Nacho Man. Nacho Man was this weird dude that came in about once a week. He always had a Walkman on, didn't really talk much, and ALWAYS ordered, "Nachos, extra cheese, no jalapenos." When he came in, it was like catching Santa Claus in your house. Ray would scream, "NACHO MAN!" and then run up to the counter and flip his order around by saying, "Nachos, extra jalapenos, no cheese!" The dude would get all flustered and be like, "no! extra cheese, no jalapenos." Trust me when I say that it never ever got old.
Actually the customers were a pretty fun part of the job. We had this code for whenever a hot chick walked in. The person in the front of the kitchen was in charge of letting everyone else know about her. They did this by using the word "fork" - like, "Can I get a fork at the front counter?" Then you'd see 3 guys come running around the counter to look, haha. It was always fun, and probably so obvious. There was also some lady that lived on the hill across the street from us that must have been a stripper or something. She had these amazingly huge boobs and was fairly hot - sort of like trashy hot, but still hot. Whenever she was outside someone would yell, "The peacocks are fluffing!" I really don't know what that meant, other than there were big boobs to look at.
There aren't really any stories about Jason. I don't remember him doing a whole lot except sucking - oh, and starting up "Friday Night Fights" with Ray. See on weekends, the lead management would always head out after the big rush, which was usually around 9ish. However the store didn't close until 11, so if we were slow, we had nothing to do. If a slow night fell on a Friday, we had Friday night fights in the dining room. They were basically an ultimate fighting/wrestling match. Jason was in an ultimate fighting school led by Pat Miletich, so he was usually the winner. But Ray always put up a good fight. Of course, the time that Jeff joined in, his head got slammed against the corner of a table and bled everywhere. We had a towel pretty much covered with blood that night. That was also an amazing time. Our friends would come watch and everything, haha.
I also don't really have much to say about Boone, he picked on the kids with us, etc. However, one time we about got in a fight over getting in each others way at the pizza making table. We kept pushing each others pizzas out of the way until we ended up in the front of the kitchen holding each other with our fists pulled back, haha. Other than that, he was pretty much involved with all the other stories - and usually in charge of the nicknaming.
Joe however. Joe had been there longer than any of us. He was the kind of guy that could lose his virginity in the kitchen of a pizza place - right in front of Grog. Other than that, Joe is also pretty much involved in every story at Riverbend. He taught me how to spin a towel on my finger. If you work at Riverbend, it's pretty much a rule that you have to learn how to spin towels. We all got super good at it. We could get 2 towels going, play catch, etc.
Speaking of throwing things, we also had hand tossed dough. So we got really good at spinning/throwing dough. It was always, always hilarious to be throwing dough and then send it spinning toward your friend's face. It would wrap around that thing like the mask in Jim Carey's "Mask" movie, haha. We'd also throw dough into the ceiling fan. Sometimes on purpose and sometimes on accident. Regardless, it was funny every time. One time I accidentally threw some dough into the fan while Kurt was ringing up a customer. The dough flew straight over his head and completely wrapped up the register, haha. It was amazing.
Dough was definitely a ton of fun. There is seriously so much you can do with it - like... hide it. We'd hide pieces of dough around and wait for a month or so and then go find them. They always resembled some form of body part when complete. Sometimes we had arms; one time we had a skull, and it was seriously hard like a skull. Kurt usually got pissed about this. He found an arm once and yelled a bit, haha.
The biggest part of working at Riverbend was the hanging out. Everyone that worked there was cool, so it was like being paid to hang out with your buddies for 6 hours - not bad at all. In addition to that, our friends that didn't work there even hung out. I lived like a block away from Riverbend, but I still drove my car there just so my friends could see that I was there and come visit, haha. Friends like Richie were even allowed in the kitchen. They'd always come back, sit on the can opener table, and just hang out. In fact, Richie probably has more Riverbend stories than I do, ha.
So yeah, working at Riverbend Pizza was straight up one of the best times of my life. It was always so fun, we always got in trouble, and we got to eat free. -And free food at Riverbend ruled, because it's some of the best pizza ever. It's for real my most favorite pizza - and maybe that's due to the experience of working there, but if you have a chance, definitely try it. If it's not your favorite, try a calzone, I guarantee you've never had a calzone that big or that good.
holy shit, i loved working at a pizza place too...seriously, sometimes i miss those days so much, just hanging out with your friends, causing rampant destruction, harassing customers...basically anything you wanted, and the only real fear you had about getting fired was you wouldn't get to hang out with those people as much...we had a code word for hot girls too, but ours was "onions", like "hey, can i get some onions up front? we really need some"...hahaha, so much fun, we really need to open up a pizza place
As I read this, I am seeing all of these events take place again in my mind. Even though I did not "work" there, I was there for the majority of wicked awesomeness that was e-bend rita. What I was not there for was acted out by the staff the next day. Thanks Derek.
Great recap of ebend rita. A few things that stood out in my mind were fluffing peacocks, wild stallions, mother, and comie overy.
Boone aka queef
Did the fluffing peacocks chick live in that lil brown house on the hill and have blonde hair>?
hmm, i don't exactly recall, but that sounds like it could be right. are you her? ha
Wow...this is great and thorough. What about "the Old Battle Axe", "Ron squared", "Even Steven", and writing completely inappropriate labels on meat we'd throw in the freezer. What name did we have for that one lady who had to walk in sideways to fit through the door?
haha, the battle axe.
i don't remember ron squared? i remember the saying but i don't remember what it meant...
oh and even steven. every time that we had the same amount of large and small dough in the fridge, kurt would say "even steven" which evolved into us just yelling "steve's here!" or just "steve!"