The newday, the hungrystomach. The deli man, a devout Muslim, born in Yemen, with a family back home, stands aloft, above the Doritos-eating rabble, taking orders and sandwichsmithing. A pair of cops idling about in the Gourmet Deli & Grocery, heckling the sandwichman.
—You’d vote for a woman? says the boy-in-blue. A woman as Commander in Chief?
The sandwichman says he did not say that. The conversation turns to the current Denier in Chief. The deliman incurs the policeman’s wrath.
—You don’t think he knew? says the deliman. About the 911 plot? Oh, he knew.
—What? fumes the cop, What are you saying?
—That he knew, the sandwichman incites, of course he knew.
—No way, man, the cop reiterates, he acted like a true leader.
—Reading goat books to kids!, laughs the sandwichman.
The sulphur-smelling anger of the cop, a man locked-down in his own chosen system of state-loyalty.
—Make me my goddam sandwich!
The deliman is an imp, knowingly bedeviling his customers. Another, a chubby Hispanic, the secretary of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, cornered on Bedford and South 1st, rattles her saber.
—How long’s a bagel and cream cheese take, huh?
—You wanted it toasted, yeah? says the sandwichman.
—You need a new toaster, she ripostes.
And the blind grandmother of ignorance speaks:
—I’ve got to get back to my job, she says, some of us have real jobs.
Sensing that dog shit, the deliman’s mind turns vicious.
—What? he asks, Ripping people off for their rent checks, that’s a real job?
—You wouldn’t know what to do with our commission checks, the secretary jabs.
The deliman, unperturbed, adamantine, proceeds to mock me for my staunch onion preference, whining in satire, I want my onion. But I say what is an egg sandwich without onions! Somewhere along the longpastline I got hooked. I see yellow and purple bulbs of Allium cepa in an ancient field...
Glancing at me, the two of us in cahoots, the sandwichman smears the cream cheese on the toasted everything, pushes it aside, lets it sit a minute before the final cut and wrap. Justice in the slowdown. The whole world over, justice in the slowdown.