By Rex Caleval
I looked forward to that sandwich all day.
It sounds weird, I know. Sandwiches are good, but they don’t make you dizzy with anticipation. Mostly, they’re what you end up eating instead of making a fancier meal; the kind you would look forward to. But this one was different.
There’s a deli near my office downtown that makes amazing custom sandwiches. It doesn’t have to advertise, because it’s so well known by everyone in the area. Around noontime, enough people come from both sides of the block that the place had to put up a post-and-rope setup to get both lines twisted into one as they joined. There’s usually no chance of getting lunch there in the spur of the moment; you’d be in line longer than most people get for their break.
That day, though, as I walked toward the hot dog stand that I thought was all I’d have time for, the deli line was short. It was especially surprising, because my co-workers were all raving about their newest sauce, which was supposed to add ‘exotic smokiness’ to any cheese or meat. Nobody could shut up about it at work.
I rushed to get in line, with just enough time to get my order and make it back. The way everybody was talking about this sauce, though, I didn’t want to just wolf it down and not appreciate it. Having this great deli available had made us all sandwich snobs. I decided to get my usual for lunch, and the fancy new one to have for dinner later.
The afternoon crept by. When I got home, my chiweenie trotted up to greet me. A chihuahua-dachshund cross, not a big dog, but not tiny, either. She noticed the bag and looked at me hopefully. “No, pup, not today.” I put food in her empty bowl. “That’s yours. This one’s mine.”
On the sofa, I pulled out my sandwich. She sat on the floor in front of me and let out a plaintive whine. That and the look she gave me usually got her some of whatever I was having, and she knew it. “Uh-uh. You can lick the sauce after.” She sighed and lowered her head. I held up the sandwich and smelled it, getting the smokiness right away. I took the first bite. Nice bread, fluffy and not lumpy at all. The sauce was good; I imagined how it would be with any kind of meat or cheese.
And that’s all I got to do, because my dog was leaning on the couch with her front paws, licking her lips to get any leftover sauce from my pastrami and swiss, which she’d slipped out the far side of my sandwich. She gave a happy bark and wagged at me. It wasn’t stealing. She’d asked politely, after all.
By the following week, the sauce was gone. It had been a limited-time thing. I never did get to try it in an actual sandwich.
Next time I’ll stick with soup.
Rex Caleval spent 20 years as an air traffic controller in Regina, Canada. An avid reader, after retiring he tried a little writing. He’s been pleased to find that some people like his stories. Links to those which are available online can be found on his Facebook author page.