If the Girl Behind the Counter at the
Subway Sandwich Shop Ran the World

by David Alexander

She can't figure me out, but she knows she doesn't like me. There's something strange about my eyes and the way I stand, sometimes too close to the counter for comfort, other times too far away. It's just not right.

And the way I ask for a BMT Special, a footlong BMT Special. With Swiss instead of American cheese on top. It's threatening, somehow. Just like the way I answer "everything" when she asks me what I want on it, prompting her to inquire if I want both hot and sweet peppers as a final test.

Only Charles Manson would answer yes to such a question, she believes, and of course, I answer "yes."

She thinks I'm laughing at her as she makes my sandwich. She thinks I'm taking a perverse, secret joy at making her put everything on it. She thinks I come in here just to torment her, to get my sick jollies watching her perform.

She thinks I'm carrying a gun, a very large and very dangerous gun. It's somewhere on my person, just waiting to be pulled out and shoved in her face. She instinctively looks up as her sanitary-bagged hands ply layers of baloney, salami, cheese, hot and sweet peppers, mayo, mustard and balsamic vinegar onto the bottom half of the sliced-lengthwise hero.

When I make my move, she wants to be ready. To scream, if nothing else, though in her mind she is calculating the distance between the counter and the front door, the counter and the back door, the counter and the bathroom door, the counter and the can of Mace she keeps stashed under the relish tray.

She is ready for anything with me around, the sandwich girl at the Subway shop is, and she won't breathe freely again until I'm safely out the door, my sandwich dangling harmlessly in its clear plastic bag which I clutch it in my hand, and peace again reigns in the Subway sandwich shop where she spends her days.

There is something wrong with me, after all. I am obviously a very sick person, obviously a very guilty person, and if she ran the world, things would be considerably different than they presently are, at least for the likes of me.

Copyright © 1997
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