Tuesday, September 4, 2007

pizza hut's long tentacles

I saw a man, a lean man, stuffing fliers in people’s mail slots, in the crevices in door jambs, anywhere a flier would wedge and not fly away. It was 10 am and in the nineties, in a winding lane wending through a Hsinchu neighborhood of blocky cement houses. His T-shirt was brown and stained from the top down with sweat. He wore jeans, in this heat?! On his head was perched a baseball cap of fabric. He wore running shoes and a cheap green shoulder bag cut across his body. It was where his hands restlessly tugged, fumbling for glossy Pizza Hut fliers of their own volition. He too was a zombie, zombie for a wage, his eyes did not see me in the quiet lane, he was the very tip of one of Pizza Hut Corporation’s multitudinous tentacles reaching even into this modest neighborhood.

On the flier were balloons, the corporate logo (with the green dot of the “i” in “pizza” cleverly turned into a stroke in the characters “must-triumph-guest,” which now make up the trademarked Chinese name), a juicy pizza of ham and pineapple, a bottle of pepsi, and the message of a free pizza for every one ordered for take out, to celebrate the earth-quivering opening of a new store. The flier is replete with limitations and qualifications, a legalistic black-typed asterisk to the fat puffy characters shouting out the generous revelry.

He was a lean man, a wraith ever-moving.

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