August 11 was just like any other day.

Nicholas Ricci drove his Volkswagen into the parking lot of Round House, the pizza restaurant he has owned since 1994. “It’s not upscale,” he says, “but it’s not just a joint. We have sit-down service and even a little wine.”

That day, a Thursday, Ricci planned to greet diners, look over the kitchen, and then order himself his own favorite pie: The Ohi’a ‘ai How Are You. “It’s like a Hawaiian, but with apple instead of pineapple,” he says. “That’s how I got the name—the Ohi’a ‘ai is a Hawaiian apple.”

A half-hour later, he was looking at his pie when he suddenly noticed that the apples and pieces of ham were arranged an in unfamiliar pattern. “I’ve seen a billion pizzas,” he said. “And they’re not like snowflakes, you know. Many are exactly alike. But this one was different.”

All at once, he experienced a blinding headache. Migraines, he thought. “I’ve had them since I was a kid,” he said. 

But the next thing he heard was a voice. “I can only describe it as a divine baritone,” he said. “And it began to speak to me. ‘You have noticed the pattern atop the Ohi’a ‘ai,’ it said. ‘And now the wisdom of the universe will be poured into your soul.”

Over the next twenty minutes, Ricci could not move. “I was paralyzed,” he said, “and through me flowed a river of light and energy. Every cell in my skin vibrated at a frequency I could not have previously imagined. Then I blacked out and came to, and now I understand everything.”

Asked to elaborate, Ricci would only smile beatifically. Eventually, he broke the silence. “I agree,” he said, though no one else had spoken.


In the wake of Ricci’s transfiguration, Round House has increased the price of the Ohi’a ‘ai How Are You to $24.99 and added a new menu description: “Newton got hit on the head by an apple and discovered gravity. Discover everything else with this Hawaiian apple pizza. It’s a real ‘Lulu.” 

“That’s a reference to Honolulu,” said Antoinette Ricci, Nicholas’s wife.

“They know, honey,” Ricci said. “I know they know.” 

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