Johnny America


The Break­fast Sand­wich Plan and the Long Drive


$3.59 French Slam. Al­ways. Okay, a Gar­den­burg­er if I’m in an af­ter­noon mood. I’d be a veg­e­tar­i­an if not for those god­damned two sausage links. Clint goes a dif­fer­ent route. Some kind of South­ern vari­a­tion of break­fast — lots of eggs and oth­er once nor­mal break­fast sup­plies now doomed to float un­til death in a slop of white gravy. With that belle of a break­fast comes two pieces of toast and a side of controversy.

Dis­tinct­ly ask­ing for un­cut toast, Clint be­gins his plan for the ul­ti­mate break­fast sand­wich. Re­ceiv­ing four di­ag­o­nal­ly sliced halves in re­sponse; Clin­t’s plan is dealt a set­back. He begs the wait­er for for­give­ness and again for the cor­rect sup­plies. Thwart­ed again, the toast re­turns not toast but bread — two plain white slices of bread.


As to a child, Clint in­forms the wait­er of the un­war­rant­ed naked­ness of his toast­less toast. The wait­er ac­cepts the child’s role with a whiny I thought you said un­toast­ed re­sponse. Re­al­iz­ing his pa­tron is on­to the scheme, he takes the spongy slices back to his co-con­spir­a­tor, the cook. In back­ground chat­ter, a ref­er­ence to his high­ness Clint is made.

At last! Two whole slices. Step one of the plan com­plete. On­to phase two. Con­struc­tion. In a pro­gres­sive move of de­seg­re­ga­tion, a red jel­ly, two eggs (over easy), ketchup, and the di­a­bol­ic toast come to­geth­er through Clin­t’s cun­ning and brava­do. Light beams from the uni­fier’s face. Vic­to­ry in the face of de­feat. The ul­ti­mate break­fast sandwich.

As the el­e­ments of the vi­sion come to­geth­er, so too do the mak­er’s hands for a vic­to­ry wring­ing. But on­ly for a short mo­ment. They split apart and reach down for the quote un­quote sand­wich, gen­tly em­brac­ing. Clin­t’s eyes fol­low his hands as they move to­wards his mouth. His gaze shifts from the sand­wich to me. Mad­ness in those eyes. His mouth opens, not to eat the sand­wich but to ask me a ques­tion. To pro­vide him a part­ner in lunacy.

Wan­na try a bite?

I an­swer with blus­ter. The in­ven­tion is slow­ly hand­ed over, the mak­er un­sure of my in­ten­tions. His hands re­lease. Mine close. Gin­ger­ly. The last rem­nants of my pok­er face hold by the dear­est threads. Eyes closed. Mouth open…


The an­tic­i­pa­tion of pain is worse than the pain it­self. There is no pain. There’s no fes­ti­val of taste and fla­vor, ei­ther. Clint looks to me for re­sponse. I have none to give. In­put sen­sors pre­pared for shock re­ceive emp­ty mes­sages. Synaps­es mis­fire and send back no an­swer. Arched eye­brows are all Clint receives.

I ex­pect a se­cret hand­shake next. All I am re­turned is a nod. Wel­come to the sand­wich club, where recipes are fol­lowed and minds are blown.

I clear my mind with a sigh and push my plate for­ward, my meal com­plet­ed. Clint fin­ish­es his cre­ation in si­lence, wipes his hands on his jeans, and is al­so ready. We pay the wait­er, who meets us at the reg­is­ter, while mak­ing lit­tle eye con­tact and say­ing noth­ing. Walk­ing to­wards the door, I feel the wait­er’s stare and I re­al­ize he sees me as an ac­com­plice. We en­ter the vac­u­um of space be­tween the in­ner and out­er doors and al­low for pres­sur­iza­tion. I bathe in the washed out sun­light of a mild day fil­tered through the tint­ing cov­er­ing the door win­dow. Is it tint­ing, or a new per­cep­tion of my sur­round­ings? The break­fast sand­wich bite is in­side me and forc­ing new per­spec­tives — I’m not sure of any­thing. Clint ex­its and walks ahead to un­lock the truck. I jump in. He shifts in­to gear and I set­tle back for the long drive.

Filed under Fiction on May 21st, 2005

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