David Alexander

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

She can't figure me
out, but she knows
that 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

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 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 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, David Alexander

David Alexander's short fiction and poetry have been published in e-zine's,
including Mississippi Review, Morpo Review, and Enterzone.

Switched-on Gutenberg
Thematic Contents / Vol. 2, No. 2
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