My only story about Prince is secondhand

I have a story about Prince but it’s secondhand. I’m going to tell you the story as I heard it, but I’m also going to tell you the story with a bit of imagination sprinkled over it, like red pepper flakes on a pizza.

I was living in Minneapolis on the south side above a hip-hop clothing shop called Mr. G’s. They sold an array of airbrushed t-shirts and blingy belts and stuff. Idk, I never went in there, I just lived above it. During the day there was a strong bass beat that came up through the floor.

A block down, I worked from 4 p.m. – 4 a.m. at the Pizza Shack. It was a dingy, dark place where once there was a shooting and a cop had died. There was a plaque devoted to the cop right above a long table reserved for the Minneapolis Police Force, who would come in and eat pizza like at the graveside of their lost compatriot. There was a buzz-in toilet, a housefly epidemic and possibly a hush-hush drug/prostitute ring among the Armenian owners and the neighborhood big shots. In house, we had booths with pay TVs and a juke box full of soul, funk and classic rock. Out back, a grease receptacle that sludged into the ground and attracted stray dogs.

At the time, it was the only place in Mpls that delivered so late, up until 4 a.m. We delivered pizza, spaghetti, fried chicken and jojo potatoes.

The oldest delivery driver – whose name I forget, whose bald spot was veiled by thin, slicked back hair, and who wore sunglasses even at night – had a story about a call that came in on a weekday around 3 a.m. This would’ve been in the 90s. At first, the Pizza Shack employee who answered the phone was like, ‘We don’t deliver that far.’ But then it came to pass that this was actually Prince, Minneapolis royalty, and so the order was made and the pizzas stacked a dozen tall.

17th & Lake Street

Now a Mexican bakery

The guy got lost on the way and finally found the place close to 5 a.m. The person who received the pizzas wasn’t Prince. But it goes among the delivery drivers at the now defunct Pizza Shack (the last I saw, it was a Mexican bakery) that the person who actually called in the order that night *was* Prince. And he was a damned good tipper ($$$$).

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