The pizza is a lie.

The mad scramble to the pizza table was a battle fought by every kid who ever went to a bowling alley birthday party. The fight that followed was always who could eat the most slices.  It was a race against the clock, as the pies slowly shrunk to a few final slices.

After the melee had ended, bragging rights belonged to the kid who had eaten the most (usually somewhere around 4 or 5 slices).  The winner changed from party to party, but one thing was constant — a slice of pizza was always a slice of pizza.

Ellio’s frozen pizza had its place in childhood as well, as a late-night snack at sleepovers. But rarely was it discussed how much Ellio’s a kid could eat, because Ellio’s isn’t as easily divided up into slices.  It is generally understood that everyone gets a piece, one of three 3 x 6″ rectangles found in the box.

Imagine, if you will, that your friend is cooking Ellio’s pizza. “I’ll just take one slice,” you tell him. You close your eyes and imagine that 3 x 6″ piece of bread and cheese hitting your plate, and you are happy.  When you open them up, though, you see a distressing sight: there is a 3 x 2″ piece of nothing sitting on your plate.

It’s either undercooked or burnt, since no one can cook Ellio’s exactly right.  You throw it at the wall and grab your friend by the throat. “What’s the idea, tough guy?” you demand of him.  He holds up the box as his face purples and shows you that according to the Ellio’s Company, there are 9 slices in the box instead of 3.  That means what you’d call a slice is actually three slices.

You turn over one of the frozen slices still in the box, releasing the grip on your friend as he hits the ground, gasping for air.  Sure enough, there are a few almost invisible dotted lines along the slice of pizza, indicating that if you were feeding it to your pet rat, this is where you’d separate the slice.

That box pictured at the top of the article trumpets the 9 slice mantra that the folks over at Ellio’s have convinced themselves is the truth.  What should be a “slice,” they call a “pizza.”  Who are they trying to kid? The answer to that rhetorical question is that they are trying to kid naive parents and poor people. People who think, “If I can get 9 pieces of pizza for this price, I’ll finally be able to afford a real dinner!” Once they open the box, though, they look for the other 6 slices.  And then they weep.

They had already invited 8 friends over, to host what they thought would be their first real dinner party. But it looks like it’s going to be another night alone.