Barcelona Dreaming, Part III


At 11 a.m. on June 30, Pazzta 920 was ready to go. (See "Part II") It had been touch-and-go for a while, but the quartet had promised to open by end of June, and today was it. Oriol was writing the day's menu on the chalkboard. They had all been up until 2 the previous night, trying to get The Extruder to cooperate. The guy had come from Italy the week before, but the main lesson they learned was that The Extruder had a personality all its own. "It's a living thing, and you have to learn to get along with it," Mariano said. "When you get nervous, it gets nervous." Last night, it was nervous: it started spitting out ravioli filling, without the pasta. With only a few hours to go, they had to shut it down, clean it out, and wait for mechanical tempers to improve. By 11:30, Oriol was carefully laying spinach-and-ricotta ravioli into the brand-new display case. There were three other kinds of ravioli (vegetable, meat, eggplant) and three spaghettis (plain, beet, squid-ink). There was, however, no cash register; Oriol took out a small cardboard box, and emptied a roll of coins into it. "We forgot to order one," he said. At 11:42, Mariano put out a dish of tiny olives, a sign that Pazzta 920 was officially open for business. The first customer was a young woman who had a hard time deciding but finally chose beet spaghetti. The next customer, a guy in a workman's jumpsuit, showed up ten minutes later and picked up three plates of meat ravioli for himself and a co-worker. He had to push his way through the long line of people gathered at the butcher's across the way to get out. An Italian woman interrupted bites of a messy croissant with an order for the same thing. And so it went all day. Other stand owners dropped by to see how things were going. The goal for the first day was to bring in 100 euros; they made 110. The real test would come the next day and in the weeks and months after that, when the reality of selling pasta for a living sunk in. At this moment, though, Mariano, Pedro, Juan, and Oriol looked like four guys whose dream had just come true. Coming Next? How's business?

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