A tragic tale of doomed romance for you all…
Gary looked at his creation. Delectable parma ham. Spicy chorizo. Pepper jack cheese. A sprinkling of red onion. Tangy peppers, hot jalapenos, and a dollop of mayonnaise to cool down the fire. All in a lightly toasted ciabatta. It was the most beautiful sandwich he’d ever seen. He wasn’t sure he could even bring himself to eat it. If he could, he’d marry it.
Why couldn’t he marry it?
After all, he’d never met a woman he wanted to marry. He considered all the women in his office to be beneath his lofty standards, and he’d been quite happy to voice this opinion to them on a daily basis until HR had got involved. This sandwich, though? It was something else. He definitely couldn’t eat it… no, not it – her. It would be like taking a bite out of the Mona Lisa. He reverentially placed her in the fridge, clearing the top shelf so she could have it to herself.
And then he thought. He planned. He called a couple of wedding venues in London. He asked questions. He called a few more wedding venues. Money changed bank accounts – quite a lot of money ‘because this is rather unusual’, as the voice on the other end of the phone had said. A venue was booked. A reverend was hired. It was on.
Before he knew it, the day came. Gary drove himself and his sandwich, which he’d named Teresa (so that they could be nicknamed ‘G and T’, his old grandma’s favourite drink, although he preferred Guinness) from their home in Watford to the old reception venue he’d booked in Wimbledon. He sang along to an eighties soft rock radio station. Teresa, now in a portable mini-fridge strapped into the passenger seat, didn’t. Gary loved how quiet she was. One of his problems with women was their constant chatter. He appreciated the way Teresa listened to his opinions about that bastard Carl at work, why there’s nothing wrong with dog fighting no matter what the do-gooders say, and just what their local supermarket can do with all that gluten-free and organic crap they keep filling their shelves with.
And then they were there. Gary parked next to an old grey building with broken windows and unpleasant graffiti on the walls. It was being knocked down the following day, he’d been told. Not the best of places, he knew, but he’d been unable to secure somewhere more reputable given the ‘uniqueness’ of his relationship. He unstrapped Teresa and carried her inside. The paint was peeling, the ceiling had fallen down in one corner and the air smelled faintly of urine. Still, Gary didn’t mind and Teresa didn’t make her feelings known one way or the other. They met the Reverend, a stooping little chap with a bristly moustache called Mike. Gary thought naming your moustache was a bit weird, but as a man about to marry a sandwich he didn’t feel like he could really comment. Other than that he got on well with the Reverend Percy Fishguts. (‘Pronounced “feeshgootz”’, he’d told them. ‘My grandfather was Latvian.’). The Reverend did the ceremony, having dragged a couple of bewildered Japanese tourists, who’d got lost on their way to the tennis, in from the street to act as witnesses. Then he announced, ‘You may kiss your wife!’
After three or four minutes of awkwardness, the Reverend and the tourists left Gary and Teresa to it and went outside to enjoy the sunshine. Eventually, Gary surfaced, smelling of aging meat and bread. In his passion, he’d nibbled off a bit of Teresa’s ham. Still, she didn’t seem bothered. Then he realised he’d forgotten to hire a photographer, so he took a quick wedding selfie of them both and uploaded it to Facebook for his mum to see. She’d refused to come (‘What do you mean, you’re marrying a sandwich? Are you insane?’), so he wanted to rub her nose in it a little.
He hadn’t been able to afford a honeymoon, but he and Teresa did enjoy a quick trip into the city for a whirl on the London Eye before they headed home to consummate the marriage.
Six months later, life wasn’t going so well. Gary had put Teresa in her mini-fridge, and placed the fridge on his second-favourite armchair. He kept the door open so they could watch repeats of Bullseye together – his favourite ever show – but no matter what he did, she wasn’t happy. She didn’t like that he put tomato sauce on all his meals, even Coco Pops. She didn’t like that he only changed his underpants once a week. She didn’t like his drinking. Okay, she never said any of this, but he could feel the disapproval radiating from her crusts. The atmosphere was becoming distinctly chilly – and not because of the fridge. He started to stay out late after work.
Then one night, Gary came home later than ever. He was several dozen sheets to a hurricane. He had crumbs dotted around his mouth. His breath smelled of cured bacon, smoked turkey, Swiss cheese and ranch dressing. As he stumbled into the lounge, he fancied that Teresa gave him an accusing look.
‘What are you staring at?’ he roared. He’d finally had enough. ‘What, you think I’ve been with another… another sandwich? Is that what you think? Well, yes, fine, yes I bloody have! You sit there, day in, day out, giving me that look, nothing I do is ever good enough for you! And look at you! You’re getting old, there’s mould round your edges, your mayo is starting to turn, and what the hell does your ham look like? And you’re starting to stink! Is it any wonder I’ve finally turned to younger, tastier sandwiches?! It’s a wonder it’s taken me this long!’
He moved closer to Teresa, and began to bellow at wherever her face would be if she were a person and not, in fact, a sandwich. ‘You know what? I’m sick of you! I wish I’d never married you! You’re a… what’s it called, a… a millstone around my neck! All my friends go to Subway every night, they’re getting hot, tasty foot-longs filled with salami and chicken and beef and toasted cheese… and I have to come home to you, you stale old hag!’
Their neighbours heard the bellowing continue until well into the early hours before it, rather suddenly, stopped.
A few days later, the police kicked the door in. They’d been called by the postman, who’d glanced in the window and been alarmed at what he’d seen.
Two uniformed officers marched into the lounge and surveyed the scene. On one armchair was a small fridge, its door lolling open. A half-rotten sandwich filled with rancid meat was inside. On the floor lay Gary, surrounded by blood. His tongue hung from his mouth and eyes stared blankly at the ceiling. Between his ribs was a kitchen knife.
The police ruled it as murder, but never did find the killer. They didn’t pay much attention to the ciabatta crumbs next to Gary’s corpse, or the blob of mayo on the knife handle.