1313 W 6th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
by Beau Cadiyo
There were plenty of police cars on the road, and the bars were packed with people drinking. West Sixth had all of the elements of a fun, safe evening, but nobody was having a good time. For myself, trying to think of all of the good things that happening in the world did nothing. Counting blessings did nothing. Focusing on right thought did nothing. There was no joy in Cleveland.
In Ultra, there were lots of people but the men were drunk and surly and the girls didn't want to dance, so everybody just stood around. Similarly, in the Sixth Street Pizzeria, the booths were subdued. The sole waiter, a gentle giant, seemed uneager to serve, and I had to catch him while he was walking outside to smoke on the patio. You could see in their faces that everyone felt horrible. A few Indians fans wandered in, wearing jerseys, and looked around. Their faces had the half-smiles of drunk siblings who walk into a family reunion without knowing that the patriarch had died an hour earlier.
My chicken Philly arrived in a small Styrofoam container, wax paper sticking out of the edges. Inside, the sandwich was too hot to touch, let alone eat; I admired the toasted crust of the roll, the medium-sized chunks of browned, grilled chicken, and the few green peppers scattered in the melted cheese. A second later, though, I began to have misgivings; while it looked good, the "Philly Chicken" was clearly not enough for this roll. The filling-to-bread ratio was too low, meaning that if the bread was not simultaneously toasted and doughy, the filling would be overwhelmed with dryness, no matter how moist it was. While it looked like the elements were in place for a good sandwich, it was not guaranteed, and a detour could be disastrous.
Unfortunately, there were many detours. The bread was as dry as a crouton, breaking off in chunks and crumbs. When pressure was applied to the outside, it offered no resistance, crumbling on the inside. Faced with this environment, the cheese retreated, and any oil or flavor it had was absorbed by the bread. The peppers were few and far between. One fell out, and upon sampling it by itself, I found it limp, tasteless, impotent. The chicken, which should have been the star, was parched, the fibers sticking to my teeth. I finished each bite with a sip of water, which breathed some life into the food but nowhere near enough to salvage it. It was exactly like having an MVP on your team, and the best coach in the league, and the most winning season, and the record for most number of playoff games with 10 point leads in a row, and not making it to the finals. Again, the elements were there, but it didn’t come together.
Later, I drooped my girlfriend off at her apartment as soon as I got back on the road, huge fat rain drops started dropping on my windshield. Then, they stopped.