Flash Fiction: Executive Sandwiches

Courtesy Sam La Grassa's

For the Terribleminds challenge, “Making a Sandwich.”


It was 2 a.m., and the rest of the nation was sleeping. The light from the large fridge bathed him in garish, cold light as he dug out the fixings. He placed the containers on the wide steel counter, closed the fridge door and tightened the cinch of his robe. The kitchen staff seemed to have moved the bread, though, and he was looking for it when a familiar face entered.

“Don’t you ever sleep, Phil?”

The man in the suit shrugged. “I could ask you the same question, sir.”

“I can’t seem to find the rye bread. Any ideas where it might be?”

“I’m afraid not, sir. I do have something important we need to talk about, though.”

The man in the robe rolled his eyes. “Can’t even enjoy a snack in peace… Ah! Here it is.” He pulled the loaf of rye bread out of the cabinet. “You want one? There’s plenty of fixings.”

Phil thought about it for a moment. “Sure. But no pickles, please.”

“More for me. So, what’s on your mind?”

Phil laid his tablet down next to the cutting board. “They made their move, sir. There’s been another bombing. Twenty-seven people killed. Twelve of them were Americans.”

For a moment, the butterknife stopped spreading mustard across the bread. Green eyes framed by smile lines swept over the report on the tablet. A heavy sigh broke the silence, and he resumed making his sandwich.

“Sir?”

“Philip, I am not going to make this decision on an empty stomach. I hate to say it, but my fellow Americans, God rest their souls, will be just as dead after I eat as they are now.”

“For a man who campaigned on a platform of compassion and…”

“Really?” The President set down the butterknife and looked evenly at his Chief of Staff. “Can we not have yet another conversation about how I’m deviating so much from my campaign platform and focus on the task at hand? What do we know about the bomb?”

“Early forensics indicate it was a vehicle bomb. Probably some sort of van or truck parked next to the restaurant.”

“Anybody taking credit for it?”

“Not as yet, but…”

“Let me tell you what we’re NOT going to do, Phil.” The President jabbed the mustard-covered knife at the other man. “We’re not going to mobilize a single ship, plane or soldier until intelligence corroborates the claim when it inevitably comes in. We do this smart. We don’t go off half-cocked and invade the wrong country. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Let me be honest with you, Phil. It’s the least I can do after a decade of my shenanigans.” He counted out three slices of meat for each slice of bread, dropped a slice of cheese on each and put the assembled sandwich in the toaster oven. “Yes, I ran on a platform of compassion and goodwill. And it’s that goodwill that should let us get other countries involved in the investigation behind what happened tonight. But whomever is responsible, it’s a declaration of war. And in war, casualties are inevitable. I hate the fact that it was civilians, and I’m going to give the families of the victims every concession and courtesy I can. But in my ten years in public office, I’ve never really had to go to war. Not like this. And I’d rather not have you second guessing my every move while I get this country ready for it. I’m going to get enough of that from the press.”

“Yes, sir.” Phil paused. “Dave… I’m sorry. I just wasn’t expecting this.”

“I think I did, at least on some level, as soon as I took office. Sooner or later, someone was going to try and push this country again. We consume too much, and give back too little. We scream too loudly about religion and freedom, but say next to nothing about hunger and oppression in other countries.” The toaster oven dinged, and Dave carefully pulled the sandwich out of it. “Here you go, Phil.”

“Thanks. It does smell delicious.”

Smiling, Dave handed Phil the plate. “I knew you couldn’t resist ham and swiss.” Dave started making another sandwich for himself. “So we find out who did this, who’s hiding them and who’s ultimately responsible. We go at this like a surgeon, not a butcher. If we must take this country to war, let’s do it as quickly and precisely as possible. Agreed?”

Phil had to move a bite of his sandwich into his cheek to respond. “One hundred percent.”

“Good. I knew I could count on you.” Dave put a little extra mustard on his sandwich, and opened the jar of sliced pickles. “So, there have got to be at least half a dozen countries whose intelligence agencies will have interests in helping us out. We’ll need to speak to their directors. And I want the Prime Minister on the phone as soon as possible. I want him to know I don’t hold him personally responsible for this. His people were killed, too.”

“Yes, sir.”

Dave began toasting his sandwich. “And, just to be safe, we should talk to the Joint Chiefs. We’ll need plans ready to put in action as soon as we have the intelligence we’re after. I don’t want this to be a strictly in-house operation, either. So prepare presentations for allied powers and include their potential forces in our plans.”

“That makes sense.”

The President rubbed his eyes, and then slightly smiled. “I knew something was keeping me up tonight other than indigestion. But shouldn’t you be at home, Phil?”

“I was up late playing poker with some of the staff. We were about to call you when Secret Service said you were down here.”

“Oh, they can be such busybodies.” Dave shook his head. “I better put the coffee on, too. It’s going to be a long day for all of us, I think.”

The toaster dinged.

“Let me do that, sir.” Phil smiled. “You enjoy your sandwich.”

4 Comments

  1. Good story! And it was, indeed, an executive sandwich. 😛

  2. Interesting message in a story about making a sandwich 🙂 Love the line “I hate to say it, but my fellow Americans, God rest their souls, will be just as dead after I eat as they are now.”

  3. Some very good lines in here. The president is a philosopher in his musings and his sandwich making. Good involving story.

Leave a Reply

© 2020 Blue Ink Alchemy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: