Death By Pizza

Dearest Foible Friends,
It’s been quite awhile since this blog has been graced with a new post. You all are probably wondering where the author disappeared off to. Long story very short, he started a new job at the beginning of the summer, and said position has occupied virtually all of his time ever since. Without giving too much away concerning his identity, he’s a thirty something fashion industry executive residing in New York who longs for a more genuinely exciting life. One of the reasons why the author started this blog is so he could glean a vicarious thrill by chronicling the misdeeds of royals who’s existences, despite their many drawbacks, are still far more entertaining than his own. With that stated, the author’s work place has provided at least one interesting tale for this blog in the short time he’s been employed there. While this all too real life, and somewhat macabre, short story has nothing to do with the dysfunctional royal families of our world, either now or in the past, he nonetheless offers it to his loyal Internet friends as a type of explanation concerning both why his output has been nonexistent since June, and as a single episode among many concerning the professional dramas that have prevented him from indulging in his favorite vice, i.e. blog writing. He promises that in a very short time, hopefully tomorrow, he will return to inundating this blog with the real life nightmares of history’s most notorious royals. So without further ado he’d like to present to his readers a little tale he’s entitled

DEATH BY PIZZA

My new boss’s best friend, whom he’d known since they were both 14, died last week after a prolonged hospital stay resulting from a botched back operation, which in turn resulted in him catching a staph infection in his heart. After a long convalescence in a nursing home, he’d finally returned to his apartment where his husband was looking after him. Said husband, let’s call him Arthur, was eating pizza with my new boss’s bff last Wednesday night when he got up from the dining room table, went to the kitchen for some reason, only to suddenly be accosted by the sound of his presumably better half either choking on a too large slice of pizza pie or having a stroke. His teeth were clinched so tightly that no form of the Heimlick Maneuver, which Arthur insisted he performed vigorously, could rescue him and he expired forthwith.

My boss was on a business trip to Italy at the time. He returned immediately upon hearing the news, and hastily arranged the funeral. His obvious devastation was such that I, and everyone else who works for him, felt obligated to attend the funeral last Sunday. Not only did I not know the deceased, but was forced to skip the Park Avenue last rights of an elderly Russian princess, retired Juliard professor, and renowned concert pianist I was genuinely friends with and quite fond of that happened to fall on the same day as the aforementioned goodbye to a man I’d never once said hello to.

Anyway, I was the last guest to arrive at the synagogue, and apparently missed the spectacle of Arthur opening his beloved’s coffin several times, initially to slip various notes and photos inside, but at other moments just to steal some final glimpses of his spouse. Some mourners later speculated that perhaps he was continuously making sure the mortuary had remembered to put the right corpse in the casket, while other’s half jokingly mused that Arthur, in his obviously addled state, was perhaps frequently forgetting who was in the box in the first place, and had to pop the lid more than once to be reminded. Later that day at the burial I gave my condolences to the widower when I couldn’t help but notice the distinct stench of Bourbon emanating from his breath.

My boss had made it no secret that, in his estimation, Arthur was a particularly selfish alcoholic whose treatment of his best friend during this last year had bordered on indifference. One couldn’t help but contrast the behavior of the boss man, who frequently broke down throughout the day, with the dazed, loopy, yet calmly resigned and placid Arthur. What made last Sunday even more uncomfortable was the lingering question mark concerning the deceased’s actual cause of death. For an autopsy had been ordered and the results had yet to be released as of the funeral. Was it a stroke, or death by pizza?

Well, earlier today the coroner’s office issued its report, and a blockage of the esophagus is what did him in. My boss, as to be expected, is still mourning the loss of his brother from another mother, and today’s news only further soured his bitter grief. Earlier this evening, as I was leaving the coffee shop I occasionally pop into in order to decompress after a long day’s work, I bumped into Arthur while walking to the subway. Once again, I noticed what a complete contrast his demeanor was compared to that of my employer. He was relaxed, pleasant, smiling and seemingly relieved. As they say, he acted as if a weight had been lifted from atop his shoulders. When I asked him how he was doing, more out of morbid curiosity than actual pity, he informed me that I should be more concerned about my boss than him. For he was the one truly devastated by this recent tragedy. After all, as Arthur pointed out, they’d been best friends for virtually their entire lives, whereas the recently departed and his merry widower had only been involved for the last decade. Choosing not to probe this line of reasoning further, I smilingly parted ways with Arthur once we arrived at my subway stop, and sincerely hoped I never awkwardly encountered him again.

While on the ride home a thought occurred to me: What if Arthur, who is the sole beneficiary to his successful late husband’s estate, had either carelessly fed him pizza despite the well established fact that he had extreme difficulty swallowing, or had purposely served him a dinner he knew would kill his partner, then got up, left the table, and just waited for the guy to choke to death? Arthur had been insisting since last Wednesday that his husband must’ve had a stroke, obviously to deflect any possible responsibility he might bear for this tragedy. The NYC coroner’s office, however, begs to differ with that assessment. Needless to write, even if Arthur murdered this guy, there’s absolutely no way it can be proved. It would appear I’ve stumbled into a gay version of a real life Seinfeld episode. Oh well! This new job of mine is proving to be many things, but at least it’s not boring.