I went shopping with Elie this morning; he had a list that Lauren had prepared for him and I had a list which I kept forgetting to look at. As I passed the cheese section, I decided to make pizza for everyone. I started calculating what I needed to buy. Elie said he was working and asked if I’d bring it to him. I knew Shmulik was working too.
In the end, I decided to make each of the guys a small pizza; then give them another to share with their wives when they got home. I made pizza for my older daughter and more for the house. I even made a small one for Aliza to take to school tomorrow for lunch. When it was all packed up, Lauren and I drove to the mall. We called Shmulik on the way and he said he was near the back gate with Elie, so we drove straight there.
When I got there, I gave Shmulik his onion pizza; gave Elie his mushroom and onion one. Shmulik put his on the side as he went to help a team that had come to repair the huge metal door. It had broken the night before – stuck open after all the cars had driven out. That left the mall vulnerable and so a guard was posted there, in addition to the regular security that patrols the mall 24 hours a day.
We spent the next 20 minutes or so watching Shmulik and the others try to repair the large metal drop-down door. At one point, Shmulik, another guard, and two workers were manually trying to pull the gate down. I was afraid it would come crashing down on them. Every few minutes, the gate would release a few inches and then jam again.
Finally they got it closed. They were on the inside; we were on the outside. With Elie and Lauren and me, was another security guard – turns out, his name is Shmulik too. He was an older man, compared to these young men who guard. These are the ages of those who work in this line – either the very young, right after army and before they embark on other careers; or older men who have spent their lives doing other things and now need something to do or a bit of extra cash.
This other Shmulik was telling me about how long he has lived in the city, what he does. And then I said something about Shmulik’s pizza getting cold (Elie was already munching on his). So this second Shmulik called out and told my Shmulik his pizza was getting cold. Then he went and got the pizza, put it in my car and called out, “it tastes wonderful.”
As Elie and the rest of us laughed, the second Shmulik and Elie “staged” the place where the pizza had been – putting the empty wrapping paper of the pizza there, while the pizza itself was still in my car in an outer bag.
The gate slowly began to rise; mission accomplished – except for the loud clanging sound. Shmulik came out and went to get his pizza and picked up the empty paper. He looked at us – as we were all laughing and he laughed too – the other Shmulik ran to my car and gave the pizza to my Shmulik – who proceeded to share it with him as well as another guard (good thing I brought a large one).
Lauren and I said our goodbyes – leaving them munching on the pizza. It was…it was, as Lauren would say, “happy.”