I love it when I’m out and about and I see or hear something that kicks off a story in my head. I’ve decided that I’m going to start writing these down. They happen so frequently I figure that, at a minimum, it will ensure that I’m writing every day; forming good habits and exercising the creative muscles, as it were.
This short tale was inspired by an exchange I witnessed between a customer and an employee of a sub shop where I was getting something for lunch. Enjoy!
The Sandwich Artist
Margaret approached the counter of the sub shop as mild-mannered sandwich artist, Dave, washed his hands and greeted her.
“What can I get for you today?”
Margaret thought today would be a good day for something different.
“Six inch BLT”, she said.
Cutting the bread in half lengthwise and then horizontally Dave kept to his script.
“Would you like that toasted with cheese?” Dave smiled and made waving hand motions toward the stacked dairy slices and the polished chrome industrial toaster oven over his left shoulder.
“No!” Margaret replied using a tone of incredulous disgust she normally reserves for restaurant staff who try to up-sell her gravy for her fries.
Dave continued undeterred.
“It comes with bacon, lettuce, and tomato, obviously.” He fanned out both arms. “Can I interest you in any of our other fresh toppings?”
Margaret snapped back in rapid succession, “Pickles. Onions. Black Olives. Spicy mayo. Blue cheese dressing,” and shot Dave a look that screamed, ‘If I even get the slightest hint that you’re judging me right now I’m going to jump over the counter and shove that bottle of salad dressing so far up your ass you’ll have to pour it out of your ear.’
Dave, ever the consummate professional continued to smile as he wrapped up the sub, surrounded it with a napkin, and placed it in a plastic bag before walking down to the cash register. Dave knew better than to ask Margaret if she’d like to make it a combo so he went for Plan B.
“Will that be everything for today?” Another pleasant smile.
Margaret, her supply of negativity running dangerously low, rolled her eyes and forced out a dry, almost British sounding, “I should think not.”
Dave rang in the order. “That’ll be five twenty please.”
Margaret went into her wallet and pulled out a wad of singles and handed them to Dave in a tangled bunch. Then, she dug through her purse and after a few seconds came out with a quarter. She put it down on the counter and slid it in Dave’s general direction and held her hand out, palm up, as Dave rung in the order and retrieved her nickel. Placing it in her hand Dave seized the opportunity of a lifetime.
“Everybody loves Nickelback!” he proclaimed to anyone within thirty feet of the counter, which at the time was a good half dozen customers and two staff.
Margaret only had enough energy for another eye roll before turning on her heels to exit the store. Dave began washing his hands, again, as required by law in between each customer.
“Look at this photograph, every time I do it makes me laugh,” he sang into the towel dispenser before approaching the next customer. “What can I get for you today?”