Thursday, November 6, 2014


The two men walked up the short foot path from the road to the house that served as a pizza restaurant. The place was a good deal larger than Nora's Place, and a whiff of freshly baked pizza met them in the hallway.

The door had set off a mechanical bell, signalling their arrival, and a young woman came to meet them. But as soon as she saw them, she scurried to the back and disappeared into the kitchen, returning moments later with a large, muscular man in his mid forties.

"So, what can I do for you, gentlemen?" he asked in Norwegian.
"We'd like to have a pizza," Ante replied.
"Here, or to go?"
"And what's with the uniform?" the man asked.
"The uniform?"
"Well, we're from the checkpoint, up the Neiden road."
"What's your assignment?"
"Our assignment?"
"Yeah, why are you here?"
"Well, as I said, we'd like to sit down and have a pizza."
"That's all?"
"And something to drink, maybe? This is a restaurant, right?"
"Yeah of course. So you are not here to arrest anyone?"

The man looked at Bjorn and Ante with some lingering suspicion.

"Well then," he said. "Please come in. Have a seat!"

He showed Bjorn and Ante into the living room which was furnished much like Nora's Place, with tables of different shapes and sizes.

"Feel free to pick a table," the man said generously. "You can have the table by the window if you wish, if you don't mind waiting for Katinka to clear it first."
"Well, that's great," Ante answered. "We'll wait for Katinka."
"Okay, I'll leave you here then. I got things to do."

The man went back into the kitchen, and was gone.

"I'm sorry about that," Katinka said, immediately getting busy cleaning the table over by the window. "I'll be back with the menus and cutlery in a moment. Please sit down."

Then, Katinka too disappeared into the kitchen, leaving Ante and Bjorn to themselves. With the exception of a couple sitting at a table by the wall, they were the only ones in the restaurant.

"I guess it's not the busiest time of the day," Ante commented on sitting down at the table which was still a little damp from the cloth that Katinka had used to clean it.
"So they got a Peppe's here in Lundby too," Bjorn commented idly on his part. "Imagine that!"
"Yeah. There used to be one in Kirkenes, but they gave up. I wonder if these guys are going to do any better."
"It's a tough business to be in these days, with the crisis and all," Bjorn added, still idly looking around, and out the window.

Katinka appeared with a pizza for the couple by the wall, and headed subsequently over to Bjorn and Ante with two menus.

"You want anything to drink?" she asked.
"Yeah, I'll have a beer," Bjorn replied with a smile.
"Yeah, why not? I´ll have one too," Ante added.
"Okay. Two beers. Any snacks to go with that. Garlic bread? Toasts?"
"No. That's all," Ante replied, looking to Bjorn for confirmation.
"Yeah, just the beer. That's all," Bjorn added.

Katinka went back to the kitchen, leaving the men once again to themselves.

"You're not getting drunk on me again, are you?" Bjorn asked. "And you shouldn't be drinking at all, should you? I mean, you're driving."
"Ah! Just one beer," Ante protested. "I'll switch to water. I swear. Only one beer, and then I'll have water after that."
"Okay," Bjorn said with a smile. "And we better not get stopped by the police on our way home. Even one beer is more than they allow these days."
"Ah, but you forget that this is Lundby. There's no traffic controls here."
"That's true," Bjorn said thoughtfully. "There isn't, is there? That's not going to end well, is it?"
"What you mean?"
"Well, somebody is going to drive into somebody one day. Some drunk driver. Don't you think?"

Ante looked around in the room, as if looking for that drunk driver. Then, he lightened up, seeing Katinka return with two bottles of beer on a tray, together with two small glasses.

"Bottled beer?" Bjorn commented as Katinka poured in some beer in his glass. "I was expecting draught beer."
"Well, I'm sorry, but we only have bottled beer," Katinka replied modestly.
"Super Bock? What is this?" Bjorn continued, as Katinka put the bottle down in front of him.
"It's Portuguese," Ante explained.
"But isn't this Peppe's? I thought they were owned by Ringnes. Isn't that so?"
"Yeah, but you're fine with the beer are you?" Katinka asked.
"Sure! I'm just a little confused."
"Well, it's cheaper and better than Ringnes. Or at least, that's what I've heard," Katinka explained.
"But even then..."
"You know, you really should know when to shut up," Ante interjected with a smile. "We're getting great beer for very little money. What are you complaining about?"
"Okay, but I still find it a bit strange."
"Well, we're not your average Peppe's," Katinka commented politely. "But our pizza is just like the ones you're used to. Are you ready to order?"

The two men looked at each other, and then briefly at the menu.

"Let's just have the Chicago Classic," Bjorn suggested. "It's my favorite."
"A large one?" Katinka asked.
"Yeah, a large one for the two of us."
"Okay, Is that all right for you too?" Katinka asked, looking at Ante.
"Yeah, sure," Ante replied with a friendly smile.

Katinka did not bother to note down the order, heading instead over to the other couple to check with them that all was all right before going back to the kitchen.

"She's not even eighteen, is she?" Bjorn commented the moment she disappeared out of sight.
"No. Probably not."
"And yet she's serving alcohol."
"Isn't that against the law?"
"Man! Wake up! You're in Lundby," Ante protested. "Who cares what the law says? She's doing an excellent job, isn't she?"
"She is," Bjorn agreed. "But she's clearly worried about getting arrested. You think it's because of this?"
"Serving alcohol, you mean?" Ante asked redundantly. "Well, I don't think so."
"So, what's going on?"
"I don't know. Does it matter?"
"Well. Aren't you curious?" Bjorn asked.
"If you're so curious, why don't you ask her?" Ante suggested.
"Okay. I think I will. Yeah, I'll do that. For sure."

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