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John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich

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April 04, 2011

A short story about a man's struggle to satiate his covetous nature.

“Look at him there. Eating that sandwich. It must be nice having a sandwich of your very own.”

Talking to the television whilst alone was not an uncommon habit of mine. The stinging envy of a man with a sandwich, however, was brand new. He was not eating his sandwich while sitting on the hood of a new Porsche. There was no harem of concubines feeding him one bite after another with dainty fingers. Not a single manservant appeared to do his bidding. There was just a man enjoying a sandwich, and acidic jealousy burned my heart.

“What rites of man has this lord of sandwich accomplished? Why does he enjoy the favor of the creator while I am banished to this eternal suffering? Why does he sit, raising sandwich to mouth, while I sit alone, no sandwich of mine own?”

Long after the image of the man had faded from the glow of the television his sandwich remained, seared onto my retinas. My yelling toward the heavens proved to be of no avail. My curse of sandwichlessness mocked my hunger. It spat in my face through the vast empty moistness of a mouth sopped with saliva. I curled, infantile in my helplessness. Through the blurry eyed rocking and sobbing of a man beaten, I vowed to one day have a sandwich too.

“Sandwiches are not the right of the aristocracy. I will topple their regime. I will have a sandwich, and it shall be a mighty and righteous sandwich. My sandwich.”

My sleep was restless and brought me no comfort that night. Images of sandwiches danced throughout my mind’s eye. A night of fanciful combinations of the most delicate of breads, fine cheeses, and smoked meats tore asunder my peace of mind.


I awoke drenched by the chilling sweat of a lunatic. The night’s thrashings had left my bedding strewn hapless about the room. I lay in bed, still haunted in my waking hours by visions of that sandwich. Before moving, I contemplated the life of toil I would give in exchange for that life. That life, so rich in sandwich that no other folly will deprive it of pure joy. I mustered the strength to drop to my knees beside the bed.

“How my lord? How shall I go about procuring a sandwich for myself? Why must I be burdened with these guttural haranguing reminders of the distinct lack of sandwich that plagues my very existence? I am but your humble servant, and for that, you have forsaken me and denied me that which I need.”

A groan of suffering erupted through my esophagus as I cried out for guidance. Again, I wept and passed out from exhaustion.


I awoke at the crack of noon. My eyes were crusted shut and my moustache bore traces of congealed mucus. A gust of divine inspiration embraced me and swept me through my daily hygienic routine. I bounded about on bent toes, stepping with the weightlessness of a dancer. The inspiration was within me, and I had finally come to see my path.

I weaved about in my kitchen, darting from pantry to refrigerator with stealth and precision. I exorcised two slices of the finest in autumn harvested wheat breads from their plastic entombment. With the delicacy of a surgeon, I spread mayonnaise to each distant crust. My smooth dance accelerated into a frenzy as I tore through packages from the finest of corporate delicatessens. Heaps of roast beef and honey baked ham formed atop one slice of the bread. Like dealing cards, I peeled off slice after slice of provolone cheese. A crisp puff of moisture jumped off the lettuce as I took two leaves for myself. The orange blood of a tomato dripped down my sharpened blade. Unfazed, I sliced the tomato twice more. After adding just a squirt of organic spicy brown mustard, I topped the pile of food before me with the remaining slice of whole-wheat deliciousness.

“I have done it! Your guidance has allowed me to persevere.”

I ate of that sandwich like a ravenous beast. My teeth ripped through layer after layer of this divine feast. After the fury subsided, I was left sitting before an empty plate.

It was gone. My sandwich was gone. I wept.