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philly.com

Waiter: Welcome to Olive Garden, home of the Never-Ending Pasta Bowl! My name is Shayne, can I take your order?

Mike Pettine: You certainly can, Shayne. I’d like the Chicken Parmesan. It’s by far the best option on the menu, and deserves the featured spot on my plate. To be blunt, the rest of your menu options have a long way to go to match the quality and flavor I have come to expect from Olive Garden’s Chicken Parmesan, and I don’t feel comfortable entrusting my palate to anything else at this point.

Shayne: Very good, sir. Would you like unlimited salad and breadsticks with that?

Pettine: Did I ask for unlimited salad and breadsticks, Shayne? Did I? I’m serious. Answer me.

Shayne: N…no? No, sir, you didn’t?

Pettine: Damn straight. Now get your ass into the kitchen and tell your chef to make me the best goddamned Chicken Parmesan he’s ever made.

Shayne: Right away, sir.

Shayne sprints off to the kitchen. Mike Pettine relaxes in his seat and looks around. 

Pettine: Huh. The table next to me got a glass of red wine and it’s come out already. That…that looks pretty good actually. I could absolutely demolish a red right now.

Pettine looks over to his right.

Pettine: Oh man, is that the house white? That looks good too. I’ve eaten a lot today, it could be nice to have something crisper and more refreshing.

As more and more glasses of wine exit the kitchen and make their way to the diners, Pettine becomes more and more visibly uncomfortable. At this point, sweat beads are forming on his brow, and he is soiling his cloth napkin trying to wipe them off. It feels like ages before Shayne reappears.

Shayne: Your order will be out shortly. Would you like a glass of wine with your meal?

Pettine: Shayne. I…I don’t know.

Silence. Pettine looks down at his empty bread plate for a minute, then perks up, newly energized.

Pettine: Yes. Yes I would.

Shayne: Very good. Might I suggest-

Pettine: No, you may not. Just take all the wines you have and pour a little bit of them into one glass.

Shayne: Sir-

Pettine: Did I stutter?

Shayne: No sir. I’ll be right back with your food and…wine.

Pettine: Chop chop.

Pettine relaxes again, comfortable that he made the right decision. He looks around. 

Pettine: What’s that smell?

He cranes his neck and looks around. Fettucine alfredo. Eggplant parmesan. The Never-Ending Pasta Bowl. Breadsticks. Salad. Pork. Beef. Fish. Pettine starts to get dizzy. He can’t see straight. 

Shayne: Sir? Your meal?

Pettine: Send it back! NOW! You listen here, Shayne. I want you to get back into the kitchen and have your chef prepare every single item on the menu. Then I want him to put all of it into a food processor and dump that out onto a plate. I…

Mike Pettine starts to sob.

Pettine: I just don’t want to make the wrong decision. I…

Shayne: I’m going to have to ask you to leave, sir.

Pettine: Fine. I’m going.

Mike Pettine exits the parking lot of the Olive Garden. He is later towed home by AAA after suffering an existential breakdown when his car runs out of gas and he tries to fill his tank with half unleaded and half super-premium gas at Shell.