At 12.42 pm Mr. David Ang was admitted to the Western General Hospital
with a slice of cucumber lodged in his throat. It is believed the cucumber
was sliced approximately 0.06 inches thicker than the usual 0.3 trade standard,
and that a series of cucumbers with abnormal circumferences (6.75 in) were
used in up to 237 packets in Easy Sandwich’s ‘Green is Good’ range. This
range also includes the Lettuce in Your Mouth veggie wraps and the Halal
Salad-Falafel alternative. An internal investigation is currently underway
at our Glasgow Govan plant, authorised by foreman William Green. If it
is proven the cucumber was over the EU limit for placement in commercial
sandwiches, Mr. Ang has grounds for litigation. If his medical scans show
an abnormal oesophagus, or problems with phlegmatic blockage, the company
can prove its sandwiches were designed for standard throats and settle
out of court.
Yolenze gets his sandwiches in the hospital branch of WH Smith’s, or
the WH Smith, or (the) W.H. Smith(’s), whichever is correct, he doesn’t
know—and nor do I. It’s easier and quieter to take the side entrance to
the hospital than to walk down the street, wait at the traffic lights,
and queue at the baker’s. Yolenze has lunch between 12.50-1.20 pm on weekdays
and so do all the builders working in the area. They talk in grunts and
always want a cream bun at the last minute. He’s an effete man, Yolenze.
He’s not comfortable being that close to brawny butch blokes—nor am I.
He’s comfortable lunching in the hospital despite having to pass smokers
at the entrance, and those awkward moments when he’s stuck behind someone
wheeling slowly down the corridor who won’t let him past without first
squeezing him into the wall. But if he can get into the Easy Sandwich kiosk
and get his Lemon Chorizo Masterpiece, he’s a contented Yolenze. (Me, I
make my own lunches. I’m a poor student.)
What do our customers want from a sandwich? Do they want soggy, floppy
breads? Mayo that spurts out at first bite? Lettuce all hanging out the
side like a spinster’s cunny hair? Do they want hard cheese, salty salami,
stringy ham? Hmm? Let me answer for you. No. Our customers want precision
sandwich engineering. They want soft white breads. They want to lift up
the crusts and see one Picasso of a sandwich. Two slices of luxury ham
draped in an elegant configuration. Tomato placed at equidistant points,
like stars in the cosmos. And a sheaf of fresh lettuce, wet and soft like
a hot babe’s cunny. Everything about this sandwich should say, ‘Devour
me! Eat me!’ Got that?
I started work at the processing plant last June. I was lucky to get
the gig—I know folks who’ve been on the dole for six months now. It’s tough
out there. One guy I know killed himself because he was sacked from Burger
World. That’s harsh. Anyway: I was given pink overalls to wear and taken
into the plant where I was put on batch processing duties. This means looking
at sandwiches on a production line, checking for dents, loose lettuce,
insects or smells. We’re allowed to eat imperfect sandwiches for our lunch
(I was on egg and cress duty that day, being a newbie) or take them home.
It’s boring. Sandwich. Sandwich. Sandwich. Dented sandwich. Etcetera.
After two weeks, I started to think about suicide. I wondered what sandwich
deaths were open to me. I could suffocate myself inside a panini. Or a
double-decker beef and chilli special. Failing that I could gorge on all
the unwanteds and blow my gut. Fortunately, odd things started happening.
Read: interesting. I noticed more sandwiches with tails. Rat and cheese.
Rat and cress. Chicken mayonnaise with added rat. Someone had sabotaged
a day’s worth of sandwiches by planting a rat inside each one.
I later learned from Trish in the office that Old Davie, who’d worked
in the plant for forty years, had inserted the rats because the company
refused to pay him a full pension. Apparently, he’d let five contaminated
sandwiches go undetected over four decades, which was twice the minimum
(2.5) before pension privileges were denied. He’d spent his last month
hunting and killing rats, then brought his kills to the plant to exact
his revenge. Davie was a hero in the factory. We called him Davie the Earl
I hate packaged sandwiches. I hate the smell, the taste, the feel. I’d
rather boil my own shoes for lunch.
Re: Re: Incident
The scans show that Mr. Ang’s oesophagus is a perfect specimen. The
doctor said his throat is the most expandable he’s ever seen, and he’s
seen a Burmese python. It accepts one third of a steak, whole slices of
bread, half a carton of yoghurt . . . all inserted directly, simultaneously,
down the throat. This being the case, Mr. Ang has grounds for litigation.
Our claim that the cucumber slices were 0.06 inches thicker than the trade
standard, when in fact the slices were 5.32 inches larger than our original
estimate, makes him entitled to an enormous percentage of our annual profits.
Unless our lawyers can prove Mr. Ang is a freak who has no business eating
our products, I suggest he meets with an “accident” soon after his release:
perhaps contact that discreet Bolivian agency and arrange a suitable hit-and-run
incident near Mr. Ang’s home?
Yolenze, two weeks after he started his Lemon Chorizos, noticed green
speckles on his thighs. Being effete, he shaves his body hair regularly
to keep his skin pink and soft, so finds these things immediately. He asked
me (I’m a student doctor) what I thought. I couldn’t say. He went straight
to a qualified doctor who guessed candida or chicken pox. Meanwhile, he
kept eating his daily Lemon Chorizo, oblivious to its effects. He had no
idea the sandwich was to blame, and nor did I (I was a little scared, to
be honest, it was contagious). One morning he woke to find his skin dark
green from head to toe, like the Jolly Green Giant. Well, poor Yolenze
flipped! He went straight to the doctor, who sent him straight to the hospital.
The scans revealed a poisonous chemical in his bloodstream: a diexoreum
sulphate, commonly used in toilet cleaners. Yolenze had been eating a Lemon
& Domestos Chorizo sandwich. No one else had turned green, since no
else ate that flavour: it was soon discontinued. (I guess the toilet chemical
had more to do with that than the unpopularity of the flavour, but who
knows?) Meanwhile, Yolenze was getting sicker and sicker. One morning he
coughed up his pelvis. That was one unhappy Yolenze.
You might have noticed various product placements in these mini-narratives.
It’s hard for a writer these days to write “realistic prose” (stories that
attempt, with little stylistic effort, to depict behaviour the writer considers
representative of his time and place) without referring to the hundreds
of products and companies that control our lives. And now it’s become a
common trope to embed product names into the prose as form of hypermodern
realism or postmodern satire. As with everything in literature, it’s an
old story. What if, however, it’s my intention to promote all the fine
products and companies in these mini-narratives? If I do so brazenly because
I adore them? You’ll notice all the products shown in a negative light
are imaginary. If this were my intention, to advertise inside this unconventional,
unpopulist piece of fiction, would you be appalled? Do you even know why
you’d be appalled? If you trot out that old binary, art v. commerce, ask
yourself this: what, precisely, is the distinction nowadays? And does it
even matter? And would you care for a delicious Subway baguette with extra
We’re not selling sandwiches. We’re selling time. Piece of mind. We’re
selling the most memorable goddamn bite a person can take that ain’t teenage
cunny. It’s our goal to make sandwiches so tasty, the customer salivates
just thinking about them. Like teenage cunny. I want the Easy Sandwich
brand to become the number one supplier of sealed sandwiches in the whole
goddamn universe. If an astronaut goes into space and wants a snack, I
want a zero gravity ham and cheese at his disposal. I want people to go
to sleep and dream of our coronation chicken with tomato. Brides at the
altar stuffing their faces with an egg salad before the vows. I want couples
shagging with our cheese and chive specials hanging out their mouths. I
want Brad Pitt on his knees, writhing a pit of our tikka masala and onion!
Easy Sandwich isn’t only a sandwich. It’s a way of being. It’s life itself.
So, go out there. Sell those sandwiches. As counter interface operatives,
you are our link between the mouths and a world of pure sandwich happiness.
Make it happen. Give the sandwiches meaning. Let us actualise our dreams.
— What is the last sandwich you bought?
— How did it taste?
— Could you make a better sandwich at home?
— Are packaged sandwiches overpriced?
— What do you think this piece is about?
— The packaged sandwich as an emblem for the dullness and disappointment
of our corporatized world.
— Did that need explaining?
— Do you think the reader, at this point, has a craving for a sandwich?
— I do.
— Is it because of those little sandwich doodles, or the word sandwich
appearing every few minutes?
— Sandwich sandwich sandwich.
— Yes, exactly.
— Ham. Cheese. Lettuce. Salami. Make one now. Go, make one. The world
— EAT A SANDWICH NOW!
Re: Re: Re: Incident
We have a problem. Seeing this might be construed a “crisis” situation,
I will keep my summaries brief. First: Mr. Ang didn’t die. The Bolivians
ran him over nine times, but he has prosthetic legs made of quartz. Next:
we have, somehow, released four hundred batches of sandwiches into the
marketplace with rats as fillings. A disgruntled worker known as ‘Davie
the Earl’ started the trend and angry sandwich checkers across the country
followed suit. Something about low wages and pensions. And finally: some
sort of Communist uprising has swept the country, crushing the bourgeois
superstructure, passing the means of production to the workers. If I may
speak freely for a moment. You once taught me, sir, to respect the integrity
of the sandwich. Our core values: munchability, deliciousness, yummification,
well—I have lived with these values for ten years. I will fight this. I
will do anything for Easy Sandwich Ltd. It is my calling. My destiny. If
I can take a bullet to save us, sir, I will. Godspeed.
So, at last, we end with Yolenze’s fate. Poor, poor Yolenze! Who’d have
thought biting into a Lemon Chorizo sandwich would lead to scrofula? Here’s
what happened. Yolenze wasn’t sure what a “chorizo” was. So when
he bit into the rat inside his sandwich, he thought it a little unusual.
But the spices, the peppers, the flavouring took over. It was delicious,
really. I know you don’t buy this. But listen: how many more packaged sandwiches
must we guzzle down? How much more wasteful excess can we take as a species?
How many more packs can we toss in the garbage, unwanted salmon and peach
specials pulped and repackaged into more unwanted salmon and peach specials?
Do you really care, or would you like a bacon and semen special from our
‘It’s Only Natural’ range? I’m telling you now and I’m telling you this:
think before you munch.