The Sandwich Vignettes

It was during World War I, and Officer Hubert Chambers sat miserably in a muddy trench under a grey sky. The customary barbed wire had been placed, and several bodies sat out across the field, that no-man’s land no one person dared cross alone, yet were willing to do for things like “honor” and “country” when their regiment went with them toward certain death. Another soldier, Michael Miller, crawled up to where Officer Chambers sat, holding a partially eaten butter and cheese sandwich. Chambers slapped the sandwich out of Miller’s clammy hands.

It was the end of the final day of the competition, and of the original Warrior Chefs, only four remained. Only one would walk out the victor this day. Raymond Lewis had prepared a pot pie with slow-roasted turkey, artichokes, fresh squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic, and parsley. Patricia Lopez had crafted a cheddar-broccoli souffle, complete with a flaky handmade pastry crust, buttered and seasoned rice, white wine to taste, and parsley. Karen Davner had produced a wonderfully arranged gumbo, which had in it a chili broth (slow cooking for four hours), steamed black beans, shrimp brought in specially from the Gulf Coast, spicy Italian sausage, and parsley. Larry Erwinder had simply created a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“I have never tasted a sandwich this fine,” noted the respected chef and show host Oliver Winchester, and proceeded to order several more of Larry’s sandwiches, as the other contestants left in tears.

The surfer had waded out deep among the waves. The shoreline was hardly visible anymore, and the dudes and dudettes on shore seemed like ants or something. That wasn’t really the most creative description, but the surfer preferred to save his creativity for the dance he was about to perform.
A monster wave, as tall as a house (and not one of those lame ranch houses, but a totally rad three story mansion more like) came sweeping toward him. The surfer pulled out a tuna fish sandwich, took a bite, turned the board around, and prepared for the lift.
And there it was. He was suddenly fighting for balance, the water crashing behind him. Strafing the crest, he took another bite of the tuna fish sandwich. It was a delicate thing (the balancing act, not the sandwich, which was hearty), standing on the edge of a tightrope in motion. He did some zigs and zags. The crowd on the shore cheered. He took another bite of the sandwich.
Then the wave sped up and turned, and all of a sudden it was a wipeout. He went under. The crowd on the shore examined the ocean’s surface with nervous silence. Was he coming up? Then, there he was, board in one hand, soggy sandwich in the other, walking up the beach like a wet cat.
The surfer finished his sandwich as the crowd exulted once more.

Agent Olivia Fenrir was in a bit of a pickle. ‘Pickle’ had been the first word to come to mind, as the sandwich in the villain Randall Ulrich’s right hand was a roast beef, pickle, horseradish sandwich on rye bread. An unexpectedly nonchalant thing to do, considering Ulrich’s other hand was on a sliding lever that would drop Agent Fenrir into the blast zone of a nuclear missile poised to destroy the moon, disrupt the tides, and kill of much of the life on Earth.
“I do hope your government is wise enough to pay the ransom – gnom gnom – or you will be having a particularly bad day.”
“In your dreams,” Olivia spat. “We don’t negotiate with madmen.”
“Oh, I’m not – gnom – mad. I’ve prepared a self sustaining environment for myself while the Earth acclimates to its – gnom gnom – climate.” While he spoke, Olivia had been untying the bonds which held her to the unsteady metal chair. She stood and grabbed the chair, rushing up the catwalk.
“What!? My men assured me that they had tied that – gnom – expertly! How did you get loose!?”
“Perhaps you should look into getting some professional help!” Olivia yelled, smacking him with the chair. Ulrich fell off the catwalk, and along with his sandwich, vanished into one of the cooling vats. The emergency coolant failure alarm went off, which meant only one thing: time for a dramatic escape!

The five-year old had wanted spaghetti for his birthday. But his parents had gone out and gotten deli sandwiches, because they remembered how messy the spaghetti got last year. Well, the five year old wasn’t a baby anymore. He could deal with the mess.
They arrived home with the sandwiches. The parents had compromised, picking out a few meatball subs with the other sandwiches. This was still enough to reduce the five year old to tears. Reminding the child that what he asked for was not what he had received was unbearable. “Getti” should have been unambiguous enough for them, but no, his parents didn’t love him. They just wanted sandwiches. What was the big deal with sandwiches anyway? They were just bits of bread with meat and cheese and lettuce and other stuff on them. He hated sandwiches. He wished they would just go and fall in the mud or something.
The guests arrived and the party began. After the food (which the five year old had thrown around resentfully, vowing to hate forever), it was time to open the presents. Hopefully there would be something in here to get excited about, even if this whole birthday was ruined. One by one, the five year old opened the presents. A soccer ball, a hat, some socks (he hated socks too), a gift card, a water pistol. Then the last one. He tore the wrapping off feverishly.
Inside was a plate of spaghetti.

The wizards were practicing summoning. Ginfur was leading the exercises, holding open the summoning matrix for the other wizards. It was hard work, but she was good at it, and it was always a joy to see the novices summon their first minor demon.
“Lozar, now you!” she called. The wizard attempted to summon an imp, waving his arms about frantically while chanting. What he brought through though, was not an imp. It was a shrimp sandwich with mayo and mustard.
“What is that?” she said.
“Um, it’s a shrimp sandwich, m’am.”
“Why did you summon a shrimp sandwich and not an imp?”
“I was hungry, I suppose.”
Barthelonius, the certifiably insane dean of the wizard’s school came leaping through a 100-year stained glass window, screaming, and landed in the summoning matrix, where he grabbed the sandwich.
“My favorite!” he cried, before an influx of magic sent him deep into another dimension.
“Sigh… I’ll get him out. Lesson’s over for today,” Ginfur said.

It was 42,000 BCE, and man had just made his first steps towards civilization. Thog sat back with a pastrami onion sandwich on potato bread, the first sandwich to ever be put together.
“This life,” Thog said, taking a bite of the sandwich.
Thog’s neighbor, Grug, was jealous of Thog’s sandwich, and carved a stone wheel while Thog was occupied with his delicious meal. Positioning himself atop the hill, he sent the wheel hurtling down it.
“Wheel you!” Grug called before the wheel crushed Thog. Grug ran down the hill to where Thog had been, and the wheel now sat. The sandwich was still clasped in Thog’s hand, just out from under the wheel.
“Gnom!” Grug cried in an accent that would later only be adopted my megalomaniacal villains. Reaching for the sandwich, he neglected to hear the screeching of a giant eagle bearing down on him. The eagle snatched the sandwich from Grug’s hands
“Grug sad,” Grug said.

The parrot could read people’s minds. This was an interesting combination of traits, and would have been a wonderful premise for a nice little short story written by someone who knew their way around a pencil. Unfortunately, it was resigned to a vignette by someone who knew no better. The parrot uncontrollably repeated everything it heard. While it still lived in the jungle, all it had to repeat were the sounds of other animals, but on one muggy day before monsoon season, the parrot was captured by exotic animal traders. Soon it entered into the household of a wealthy family in northern California, who was able to hire staff for the sole purpose of taking care of it. They named the parrot Sinbad.
Sinbad overheard all sorts of things, and was sure to repeat them back exactly. A cage cleaner once thought, “I hate my job. My bosses are such idiots.” The parrot was sure to repeat that during a dinner party, and very soon the cage cleaner didn’t have to work that job anymore. The parrot was proud of itself for helping the man, who had clearly been in such anguish. Another time, it heard the daughter of the house planning to sneak out the window to meet a boy. The parents heard all about that soon enough. Needless to say, the girl found herself under lock and key for a little while.
A month or two after the bird had been brought into the house, several business partners met the parents for lunch. The five diners were feasting on Vegemite sandwiches. The parrot let slip that the business partners were planning on cutting the parents out of their share of a recent investment, and it was then that the parents’ suspicions were realized- the parrot was psychic. The father grabbed the cage late one night, and brought it (under a curtain) to the meeting of a secret society. The members were curious to see what the bird could do, and upon realizing the truth of their esteemed member’s claims, made the society’s lodge the parrot’s new home.
In the middle of the morning after a few weeks, Sinbad opened its cage, escaped, and gave all of the society’s secrets away, before escaping back into the jungle from whence it came. Things were simpler there.

Copyright © 2020 The Oredigger Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.