Vito & Katrina

The Pugliese was the only decent bread in South Kensington, an italian rustic loaf that lasted for days. It was so big and expensive that only a few were interested in carrying it throughout the city.

Vito, a grumpy italian man who knew all about the wonders of the Pugliese, would make his annoying appearance in the deli dressed in a tweed that matched his age and a scarf coming out of his chin. He would arrogantly demand ownership over this bread. He would always be offended if it was sold to another customer and make endless speeches about how much he needed the bread once a week. He often suggested that we should sell smaller versions of the bread so he could buy it more often and have it always fresh. The Pugliese was not that popular, so it wasn’t ordered on a regular basis and that made Vito very angry, so once he suggested that we should have a standing order for the Pugliese on Saturdays just for him. We agreed, however, sometimes he wouldn't show up for the bread and at the end of the day we had to get rid of it. Other times the factory just didn’t deliver it or someone else got there before Vito and buy it.

That someone else would often be Katrina, a woman in her 60’s with a deep manly voice and sloppy make up. She was like a Norma Desmond in her old leopard shawl walking through the deli on an invisible red carpet. She'd insist the Pugliese was ordered for her in advance and should be in the basket. Katrina showed a peculiar interest in this loaf, as if she depended on it desperately to ease some kind of loss. I don’t think Vito and Katrina ever met each other.

For some mysterious reason we frequently failed to have the pugliese for Vito or Katrina, so we had to make up excuses that became each time more absurd. I believe that these hopeless visits were more inclined to grieve over the unfairness of life rather than to buy the bread itself.

Their claim over the Pugliese every week, the useless standing orders along with our silly attempts to explain the absence of the bread made my days in the deli.

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