(a very short story. thanx to Claire for inspiring)
Jack, a practical boy, lifted the edge of the top slice of bread and looked underneath.
“You don’t like your sandwich?” asked his mother.
“No, it’s OK,” answered Jack. “But I’m not sure about the moaning.”
His mother answered, though she wasn’t really listening. She had been reading about raising boys, and helping to make them more independent. “If you don’t like it,” she said, her back to him, “you can make yourself something else.”
Jack didn’t answer. He lower the top piece of bread back down, and moved his ear closer.
The sandwich had fallen silent.
Jack had come to believe ham was a square, pinkish, flat sort of thing. He hadn’t ever heard it make noise before. Sure, he had put up with questionable ham in the past. But this ham was going One Step Too Far.
He picked up a fork and poked the sandwich, downwards, right through the bread. It made muted “erp” sort of noise, as if it were trying to keep quiet.
“Are you trying to say something?” asked Jack of his ham sandwich.
The sandwich didn’t reply. The fork, still sticking upwards like a flagpole from its middle, quivered a bit.
Jack looked around the room. His mother, washing dishes, stood at the sink. His little sister sat in a high chair, batting peas and olives back and forth. Jack’s mother had read that olives were good for babies. Jack’s little sister seemed to agree. She was fascinated by the odd, wobbly way the oblong olives rolled. Plus, the peas could be squished into satisfying green blobs.
Jack saw nothing else to eat.
Reluctantly, he picked up the sandwich, bringing it up towards his mouth. It screamed a quiet sort of scream and seemed to scoot backwards in his hands.
Jack put the sandwich down.
“Mom, can I have some olives?” Jack asked.
His mother brought over the jar, and then walked back towards the sink. In her mind, she was overjoyed that Jack wanted to try something new. But she had read that if she encouraged him, it might make him less likely to try new things. So she pretended not to care.
Jack unscrewed the lid, and fished a fat, glistening black olive from the salty water. He held it for a moment near his ham sandwich, which seemed to move forward just a bit and sniff.
Jack lifted the top piece of bread just a bit at the corner and quickly threw the olive underneath before dropping the bread back down.
There was a quiet gulping sound.
Jack looked under the bread, and then lifted the sandwich up to look underneath. Then he got up out of his chair and looked under the table. He sat back down and fished out the rest of the olives, one by one, tossing each one under the top piece of bread until the jar was empty.
Jack’s sister watched.
“Did you have enough to eat?” asked Jack’s mother.
“Yes,” said Jack.
“Squeee!” said Jack’s sister.
“Mmmmmm” said the ham sandwich.
“I’m glad you liked it,” said Jack’s mother.
(c) 2012 Roy Benaroch