The Sandwich People are on Holiday

The first day I had ran in and got in a flap over milk. I had made my way from the office across the street, the pouring rain having driven me into the first shop I could find: the newsagents. I fell into the shop, hands shaking, my brain leaking milk information. It was my first day of my new job and if I was going to get seven coffee orders right, I was going to need milk. Lots of milk. More milk than I could physically carry. It was a good job I had magic milk carrying powers.

The old Asian man behind the counter didn’t look up from his paper as I put the milk bottles on the counter. I had a quick glance round the shop: booze lined the walls and a thin carpet of shit lined the floor. The newspaper headline read Sweetcorn Shortage in Russia gets Worse, and there was a fridge full of sandwiches just behind me. He said, ’That’ll be £4.83’ and I gave him the money for the milk and left the shop.

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

The next day I ventured once more into the newsagents to purchase a sandwich for lunch. Going to the shop was a short journey from my office and coupled with the fact that I wasn’t yet too au fait with the city and was afraid of being stabbed in the face, it was the best place to go. I chose a cheese and ham sandwich and put it on the counter. He didn’t look up from his newspaper, this time emblazoned with the title Russian Politician Replaces Penis with Broccoli, but commented ‘£2.65’ absently. I placed the money on the counter and left the shop.

Each day I would return, and each day I would be silently updated on Russia’s vegetable situation. He would never look up from his paper, but would always inform me of how much currency I owed him: I bought the same sandwich every day and his phrase never changed. It was a workable relationship, steady and monotonous. Exactly the type of affair you want to have on your lunch break. I was practically ready to make love to him, until one day… there were no more sandwiches.

‘The sandwich people are on holiday’, he said.

Shocked and  a little bit terrified by the fact he had opted to say something other than ‘£2.65’, I turned round from the fridge to face him and his paper-face: Petit-Pois Destroy Kremlin: Russians Peeved. I had no time to laugh. This was a desperate situation.

‘What… all of them? All of the sandwich people?’

‘Yeah, pretty much’

And that was that. I wasn‘t able to buy a sandwich. Nor the day after that. Nor the day after that. There was a sandwich-shaped hole in my heart that only this old Asian man would be able to fill. My days would be filled with regret and hunger.

It had been approximately a week since the sandwich people had gone on holiday and left me cold and alone. I had taken to inserting Frazzles between two pieces of paper (which turned out to be marginally better than the sandwiches from the newsagents), when one of my work colleagues asked me what the Hell I was eating.

‘I’m eating Frazzles and paper. Obviously’

‘You do realise you’re the only person in the world who buys sandwiches from that shop?’, she replied, with only a hint of sandwich smugness.

‘Well, where do you guys go for lunch?’

‘There’s a cob shop round the corner from the newsagents. They’re much nicer and they don’t make sandwiches out of shit’.

It sounded amazing.

Thus, the day after I walked past the newsagents and saw the old man sat behind his paper once more. I continued to walk a little further on to the cob shop, knowing in my heart that these cobs would never be as good as the terrible sandwiches from the newsagents, served with a side helping of cold indifference. I purchased a cheese and ham cob, and then took a bite… oh dear God of all sandwich awesomeness. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it genuinely wasn’t made from shit, but was instead made from real cob-like materials. Sheer joy had me walk past the newsagents without even looking in on the way back to the office. Had I done, I might have seen the newsagent glance up from his paper…

The next day I went to the cob shop again. Their slogan ‘It’s a cob, not a bap maaaayte’ filled my heart with glee as the chubby cob woman filled my bready buns with cheese and ham goodness. This time I didn’t look into the newsagents, so engrossed by what can only be described as the face of God having been grated and put in my sandwich. Had I looked however, I might have seen that the newsagent today had not picked up his paper at all, but instead had watched me from the window…

And the next day I went to the cob shop again, having experienced cob withdrawal symptoms during the night. I had only been able to rub a piece of bread on my face in the morning and now, by this afternoon, I was hungry for my daily dose of cob greatness. This time I ran past the newsagents back to my office without even thinking to spare a glance to the man I had left behind. These cobs were too fantastic. It was as though they had been made from cake and biscuits, only in the form of bread and sandwich filling. I loved them and the hole in my heart had been filled! Never again would I look into the window of the lowly newsagents and the old man; yet had I done, I might have seen him pawing at the window, hands brimming with sandwiches, and eyes filled with tears…


17 thoughts on “The Sandwich People are on Holiday

  1. I don’t want to embarrass you or make you blush, but “Holy crap!” Sorry, but I really enjoy your writing. I had to read the story three times to get everything. Do you just pull all this stuff out of your head, or do you spend days meticulously planning the many levels of your stories? It seems that there are so many clever twists, and turns hidden throughout, that people might miss them if they rush through. Where did you ever come up with the headline idea of a Russian vegetable crises? At first read, the story is a nice, humorous interlude, dealing with the average, daily life of a British woman. Once you peel back the facade, and dig deeper, you see more. I like the interaction with the Asian shop keeper. I almost had a heart attack picturing his pitiful face as he desperately clutched those terrible sandwiches in his hands at the window. Keep up the good work.


    1. Oh, Patrick thank you, that means an awful lot. I always carry a notepad around with me so whenever I have a story idea, I always jot it down. Most of my story ideas are single sentences, extending to a few at the very most. Then when it comes to Sunday it’s a matter of choosing from the ever-growing pile of sentences in the notebook and weaving them (sometimes together) into a larger narrative, and this usually takes a couple of hours.

      This story developed from absent mindedly scrawling ‘The sandwich people are on holiday’ while sat at work one day eating a sandwich, and it grew from there. When I start writing I always picture how it is going to end and more often than not it always ends up twisting away horribly, and into something different, but always something interesting, at the very least! Everything I write merges my experiences, and how my head malforms them into something else.

      Your comment really made me smile, so thank you. I love that you’ve managed to dig deeper… I am honoured to have a writer as good as yourself digging up the corpses in my aquarium :)


  2. Smiled from beginning to end of this one. Will have to visit Britain someday, so that I don’t have to google every food term. Had never heard of “cob”, “bread cake” or “face of God” before. I do like the idea of low-calorie God. In fact, I think “God lite” as a religion would be great–the services would be 20 minutes long, the wine and wafers would be passed out at the beginning of the service, in more realistic amounts, there would be easy chairs instead of pews, and most of the time would be spent singing “Amazing Grace”. The sermons would be limited to 13 seconds.
    So much these days is “served with a side helping of cold indifference.”


    1. Face of God is especially tasty served with a side of butter. And if you ever manage to visit England, I’ll have to make sure I go and slice off more God-face in preparation :D


    1. I like to think they are happy being eaten also, as that is always the destiny of the common sandwich! There’s nothing worse than a sad sandwich.


    1. It wasn’t my intention, but now it’s war… coronation chicken cannons and all.

      Also- yay alliteration!


  3. lol, that is hilarious… I remember how good “not so good” sandwiches taste when you’ve started a new job, and pretty much eat anywhere near the office. I used to get these sandwiches at a Liquor Store… Mexican Workers would create a line out the door to get their Checks Cashed, and I’d order up a big ol Turkey Sandwich, more bread then anything else… But I loved them, and a small bag of Doritos, and a nice Cold Soda… Yum

    This is a Great Tale, and I love the Asian Guy… Hilarious… He’s never going to know what he lost… Never

    For me it was a place called Baja Fresh, a South Western Mexican Place with phenomenal Nachos and Burritos that pulled me away from the Liquor Store with the Huge Bread Sandwiches, lol

    Between Lunch Breaks and Dinners I probably ate there 2 to 3 times a week for two or three years, lol

    Very well Written… And yet not one drop of blood, hmm… Maybe the Sandwiches were made out of his Family Members, and once they were gone, they were gone, lol

    Great Story Anna



    1. P.S. I loved the Russian Vegetable Situation Updates, lol

      With a Cob in yer belly, who the hell cares about Russian Agriculture, eh

      Well Done



    2. No blood, I know right! What gives? Evidently when I was writing this my head was being pumped full of marshmallows, or some other kind of evil substance.

      And the newsagents is called Bargain Booze, which just kind of says it all really. Nachos would be a welcome diversion :)


  4. I had face of God grated over a salad once. It was great and all but I was on a diet and we can’t get the low-calorie God here. Anyway, I can certainly see why the newsagents would never earn another glance.

    Seriously, I don’t know what I’d do if you weren’t you. ♥♥ I love it this fishtank!


    1. I don’t even think the low-calorie God is worth the children you need to sacrifice for it. If it ain’t full-fat with lard spilling out the sides, then it ain’t good enough for my sammich!

      Ahem. And thank you :D


  5. ‘It’s a cob, not a bap maaaayte’
    YES! Too right it’s a feckin COB!

    Not a bap or a roll or a *shudder* bread cake.

    Cobs are the greatest thing in the world ever, screw that old man and his stuffy old sandwiches!


    1. I have to say that the phrase ‘bread cake’ actually makes me feel a bit excited. I’m not even going to lie, it’s definitely a perverted kind of excitement. Mmm… bread cake…


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