how, i ask you, how can a pizza joint mess up pizza? it’s such a simple thing: bottom and top. crust and sauce. cooked together it could become pizza. given a wood fired oven, a reasonable recipe for dough, some sense of tomato and cheese and, should the cook have notions, some various and sundry toppings. but here is the thing, the whole thing: you might well forget about it the minute you notice that the top has no relation to the bottom. if the crust isn’t crusty and the sauce is too dry, it’s atrocious. it get’s even worse, when the crust is too soggy, cool on the plate, but the toppings so ferociously hot that you burn your mouth taking a first bite. so, you sip some of your wine. you know the sauce will eventually cool if only you’re patient. and then you could eat. you might even get to enjoy what is on your plate and feel that sweet pizza amalgam, that lovely infusion of italian warmth so well remembered from past pizzas. you think it couldn’t get nastier. it is then that you find your mouth really on fire, not alone from the hot, but maliciously now, from rough-cut diabolical chillies, and you can’t find your voice with your larynx so raspy no amount of cool water could possibly sooth the dilemma. the waitress she sees you’ve got tears in your eyes. she points to the bathroom straight down the hall. and of course you recoup and your throat will recover. though you’re still hungry. when you ordered a pizza with sausage and fennel, tomatoes and peppers, they made a mistake and brought one from hell. so, to sate your hunger and placate your senses you now ask for a margherita, made, you think, with that heavenly queen’s combo: tomato, basil and mozzarella, embodying the very colors of italy. and your order arrives a few minutes later. and it is tomato and sage. and a cheese not mozzarella. the crust as before, sultry, the sage burned to a crisp, a tasteless tomato and the cheese no cheese at all. but you eat, and wash down the flop with more wine. and you sadly reflect on all your pizzas past. it is then that you know that they don’t know a thing. regardless the many ‘yelps’. and any a deferential ‘yelping’ won’t make a bit of a difference or even give variance to those of indifferent gullets and hankering stomachs.