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A heart-warming life story

Live Dino Parelli's life with him through his own words and thoughts. We meet Dino in high school vying for his dream girl and watch him struggle to build a business around an unusual niche market, pizza dough.

Life is a series of highs and lows for Dino. His outlook, beliefs and demeanor change as he faces the trials in his path.

His wry sense of humor and passion for renaming all he meets cannot be quenched. This is a poignant and emotional life story combined with a positive insight into corporate and personal ethics.

I can't recall reading a 'First person' book that followed the hero from his youth to his demise before - You pulled it off brilliantly.     Mick Barfield


I loved the characters; even the ones I did not like.
    Peter Morton

The Pizza Dough King

CHAPTER ONE

Slice 1: The Jock

I’m a tall, thin kid with a big beak which I like to call a Roman nose. I'd look handsome except for that. At least that’s what I tell myself. Wonder if other kids agree. Certainly not the Jock. He’s convinced he’s God’s only gift to mankind or more to the point, womankind. The way he struts around would give a peacock an inferiority complex.

The girls in our twelfth grade class swoon when he struts by. What the hell’s wrong with them? Can’t they see how shallow he is? Sure, he’s a good athlete, quarterback of the football team. But he wouldn’t look so good if we didn’t have the biggest offensive line in the state. Anybody can look good when they have all day to find an open receiver.

Most of the time I’m the open receiver he finds so I make him look good too. Burns me up. Actually it wouldn’t if it weren’t for Ellie Sampson. She’s beautiful and I’m so hot for her I think and dream about her constantly. How can she be taken in by the Jock? She’s level-headed, should be able to see through him.

Sometimes I think our girls are like lemmings, if one worships him they all do. Too bad they don’t see him in the shower. The big prick has a little dick. Guess no girl wants to appear different from the group. Still, I hoped for more from Ellie.

She has two smiles. A full one that lights up all who see it. Then there's a half smile, little more than a smirk, that reveals a glimse of passion she barely conceals. And a twinkle in her eyes that makes my heart flutter. Stands up straight with square shoulders and a figure I find stunning. Long, long legs. I'm instantly aroused by the thought of them wrapped around me. Have to brush that thought away before I embarrass myself.

Every night I think of her as I fall asleep. Sometimes I awake from a dream that we are locked in an embrace. If only she had a similar dream, we could make it come true.

Ellie's the smartest girl in our class. At least, she usually gets the highest grades. From me she gets top marks physically and mentally. I'm smart too, in fact, I'm her main competition on tests. How can she be attracted to that bloated blockhead? She seems to like to talk to me more than him.

“Are you going to college next year, Dino?”

“Yes, how about you?”

“I think so. Don’t know where though. Do you know if Shane’s going to college?”

“Doubt if he’s smart enough.” Shane’s the Jock.

“He’ll probably get a sports scholarship to one of those big southern football schools.”

“Perhaps. They seem to overlook things like grades.”

If I sound bitter it’s because I am. She wants to know where he’s going and could care less where I’m headed. I know where. The only place the Parelli family can afford, our state university.

“Ellie, how about going to the senior prom with me?”

“Shane asked me. I’m going with him."

***

Well, the Jock got a sports scholarship from the University of Alabama and here I am, a walk-on at the University of New Hampshire. At least, it looks like I’ll make the team. He has some real competition down there. Not a big fish in a little puddle like in high school.

Ellie followed him. Lost my chance with her. Feels like Joe Louis hit me with his best body punch. Know I have to put her out of my mind and move on. Just don't know how. Tell myself there must be other girls like her but if there are, where are they hiding?

At least the university environment provides some distraction. Whole new way of life. Turned out for the first football practice yesterday. They don't seem to have any star receivers so it looks like I have a reasonable chance to make the team, even as a freshman.

Two weeks at school today. Still mope when alone but the coach says he wants me to play this year rather than redshirt. That's fine with me. I don't intend to be at UNH more than four years anyway.

This afternoon there's a letter for me-from Ellie! She says she got my address from my parents and wants to stay in touch. My heart's on double time. A new lease on life. She’s tried out for the cheer-leading squad. Says she can hardly understand people with that drawl. Apparently they’re not too friendly to Yankees like her and the Jock. That should tell her something. Between the drawl and the Jock's mental vacuum, she must feel deprived of intellectual stimulus. Dino to the rescue? I wish.

I need to be nice to her and hope she comes to her senses some day. Write friendly letters. Tell her I hope she enjoys life in Alabama. By the way, I made the team here as a backup receiver in my freshman year. With a little luck I’ll start next year. Football’s played a lot harder and faster in college than in high school. Quarterback just has a split second to find a receiver and fire the ball. Hope she gets the message.

Can’t resist telling her about my grades and how useful the course material will be when I enter the real world. I’ll do anything to make her think twice. I can be a bit of a bastard at times. But I don’t knock the Jock, that would just put her on the defensive.

***

Another letter from Ellie came today. I eagerly tear it open. Doesn’t take long to sober me up. She sounds sad. The Jock didn’t make the team. He’s a backup quarterback on the junior varsity squad. That means he runs the second string offense in practices and sits on the bench for games—junior varsity games. Needs a ticket to get to the ‘Bama games.

Ellie says he can’t accept the obvious. He’s years away from the big team and probably will never make the grade. He gets mad when she suggests he concentrate more on a meaningful education.

You tell him, Ellie!

Looks like failure makes him nasty. That’s not surprising. He’s never had to deal with it or the absence of an adoring public. Doesn’t know how.

Ellie sounds lonely down there and doesn’t fit in. I hope she sees the light and moves back home. Lives up to her potential and leaves his sorry ass down there with the grits. It pains me to know she’s unhappy. I write that a number of our old classmates are here at UNH. Maybe she should consider a transfer back up next year.

She says she’ll stick it out as long as the Jock’s there. Says he needs the support. Damn, that makes me mad. How long can he last with only one person blowing smoke up his ass? If it were me, I’d stay only as long as she wants. Doubt if he gives her druthers a second thought. Only thinks of himself and can’t figure out that he’s now a little fish and his puddle has turned into a shark tank.

Ellie, I could make you a happy woman again. Trade in the Jock for the Beak!