Making a Sandwich

February 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm (Uncategorized)

This is in response to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge “Making a Sandwich”

The goal was to tell a story about someone making a sandwich in a 1000 words or less. This is mine.

 

Shaun was looking for bread when he heard her walk in behind him.  She’d put on weight as she’d gotten older and her footsteps were heavy on the old boards in the house. He opened another cabinet and hoped if he ignored her she would go away. She stood quietly until he found the bread stuffed on top of the refrigerator, obviously thinking he would notice her standing there. He judiciously followed through with his plan, carefully tracing his way through the kitchen so he could keep his back to her. It didn’t work.

“I thought you were supposed to be at work today?”  Her voice was icy and patronizing.
He sighed as he laid out the bread on his plate, carefully arranging the slices parallel to each other. “They let me go home early. I said I wasn’t feeling well.”
“You are always going home early. You go home early and you eat our food and you go down to that dingy basement and play video games with your friends.”
Shaun bent down to look in the fridge pawing through bottles for condiments.
“You wanted me to get a job and I got a job to make you happy. Now that isn’t good enough, what else do you want me to do?” He found a bottle of barbeque sauce wedged in behind a Tupperware container of cantaloupe.
“You work fast food!” Her voice took on a shrill quality as it raised, that’s how he always knew when she was really getting angry. “You call in sick every other day and you’ve gotten three warnings and your supervisor has called me twice to say you smell like pot when you show up to work! Do you think that’s what I wanted? Do you?”
The mustard was almost empty, he shook it hard and determined that would be enough for a sandwich.
“We need more mustard.”
There was silence for a while and Shaun grew nervous. He looked over his shoulder at her, pausing in his task. She stood leaning against the doorframe, arms folded under her breasts the way she always did when she was mad, her face though, her face was going slowly white with anger. Shaun decided that he had said the wrong thing. He busied himself looking for the jalapenos again.
“Scott works his fingers to the bone taking care of us.” Her voice had gone very quiet. She was the eye of the storm, still as a day on the lake while death swirled all around. “We have a mortgage and he doesn’t make as much as he did. The economy isn’t what it used to be. We told you that you could stay here in the basement until you got on your feet. You are so ungrateful; Scott’s been like a father to you…”
“He is not my father! Don’t you say that!” He slammed a bottle of pickles on the counter and threw the fridge door shut. It bounced back open and he had to shut it again more quietly.
“I’m sorry I’m such a burden to you and all. Maybe I’ll go meet some girl and move in with her, would you like that?”
“I didn’t say he was your father. And honestly I wish you would. But you don’t go out and meet girls; I don’t know why not, you are a good looking man. I love you, but you need to move on with your life.” She just sounded tired now. Defeated.
“Of course I don’t meet girls. You think I want to bring anyone back here? Show them I live in your basement? That will go over really well.” He began furiously spreading mayonnaise on his slice of bread.
“It’s time you did. We can’t have you around anymore. Scott’s tired of it. I’m tired of it. You are dragging us down and honestly you’ve outstayed your welcome.”
His hands shook as he layered pastrami and lettuce on his sandwich and carefully patted the last slice of bread on top.
“When do you want me out?”
“Soon, Scott and I have decided we want to try and have a baby together.”
He paused a moment before he finished returning the condiments to the fridge.
“Don’t you think you are a little too old for that?”
“I’m twenty-seven, dad!” Her voice had taken on that high pitched quality again that was so offensive to his ears. “I want you out tomorrow!”
She stormed out of the room, slamming every door behind her she could.
He took a bite of his sandwich and smiled proudly. His little girl was growing up.

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2 Comments

  1. Mike said,

    Good short story – I like the serious conversation interlaced with the not so serious sandwich.
    I wasn’t sure about whether he was using BBQ sauce, or mustard, or mayonnaise on the bread,
    I liked the image of her as calm in the eye of the storm – maybe death around her is a little extreme.
    And finally – liked the twist at the end, the dad, but maybe leave the last sentence out?

  2. samiam164 said,

    Thanks for the comment, Mike.
    Feedback is always appreciated. I see what you are saying about the last sentence. It may not necessarily follow the flow of the story.

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