#FlashFiction – Upside Down Sandwiches

The following flash fiction piece was written in response to this week’s prompt from Chuck Wendig (write a good vs. evil story), but it *stars* the protagonist from my current WIP, a young adult novel currently titled Girl Unplugged. This scene takes place before the events in my novel. It was lots of fun to write something with Natalie and Amy face to face.

***

Posted to Talia’s Tales June 16th, 1:13PM

DEBATE TIME!

Is there a right way to construct a sandwich? Discuss in the comments. My bestie and I are having it out and you get to decide who’s right!

I won’t divulge my stance. I will say only this: I HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT THIS!!

~Talia

#serioussandwichtalk #foodfightsarereal #saveourfriendship

“Now you’re just being evil on purpose,” I glared at Amy who was doing a terrible job at stifling a laugh.

“What, Natalie? What could possibly be wrong with this?” She brandished a spoon filled with mayonnaise and then let it plop on the freshly cut piece of twisted Italian bread.

“Spoons are not for spreading, Amy, and you know it!” I was laughing because I knew my feelings about this were ridiculous, but it didn’t change the fact that they were there.

Amy’s face scrunched up as she brought the spoon back up to her mouth to suck off all the remaining mayo — which is precisely the problem with spoon spreading, there is always leftover! “Huh,” she said after she pulled the spoon out of her mouth and used it to lazily point in my direction while staring at some point over my shoulder.

“What?”

She snapped to attention. “Right. Well, the thing is, it doesn’t add up, Nat.” She hopped off the stool she was sitting on and walked around the counter to stand beside me. She bopped me on the nose with the spoon. “You are a slob. I mean — no offense or anything — but it’s no secret that you’re not neat, so how could you have an OCD?”

“Well, Amy darling, that just proves my point,” I said, grabbing the spoon out of her hand and throwing it into the sink. “This is not an OCD. It is a law of nature. Sandwiches should be made right-side up, and spoons are never, ever to be used for spreading. I can’t even believe I have to tell you this stuff! You are dabbling in the Dark Arts, here.”

She grabbed her abomination of nature that she called a sandwich from across the counter and, holding it upside down in my face, asked, “And what is right side up, again?” Then, raising her eyebrows, she took an enormous bite that was almost large enough to hide her smile. Almost.

“For starters, not that.” Twisted Italian bread has a very clear up-side, it’s where the twist is. Amy was holding that part down. However, taking it out of her hand and flipping it over only revealed the depths of her nefariousness. I gasped. Then added, “You did this on purpose!”

That wasn’t Amy’s first time trying to rattle me with her freakish food assembly. We’ve been best friends since… well… as long as I can remember!  Our moms knew the exact date — some day in September of the year we started kindergarten. We’ve been inseparable since. That became literal when Hurricane Imelda destroyed Amy’s home. She and her mom had been staying with us while her dad had been trying to get their home back to livable. It’d been about six months, and it wasn’t looking good. It looked like they were going to have to move. No one had said anything to us, but Amy and I overheard the moms talking about it. They said Amy’s mom and dad could never afford to stay in New York. So, as much as I joke about how upside down sandwiches and spreading spoons are evil, the fact is, I know what real evil is. Real evil is Mother Nature tearing your life apart without any warning. Real evil is me losing Amy.

I shook the thought away and dove back into my exaggerated disgust over Amy’s concoction. I had just gotten to the part about how cheese and condiments must always, always be on top when our moms came in the room with bloodshot eyes and blotchy faces. I don’t even know where they came from. Mom said to me in a crackled voice, “Natalie, sweetie, we gotta talk upstairs.”

And that was that. I was pulled in one direction and Amy was pulled in another. The decision was made. They were moving to Jersey, nearly 100 miles away from my non-driving self. Amy and I looked worse than our mothers when we saw each other again. Neither of us slept that night, or stopped crying long enough to say all the things that brought us to our respective emotional breaking points. When the morning came, Amy’s dad was at our house and ready to go. His car was packed with next to nothing and  that accounted for all of their belongings. They didn’t need time to pack, move furniture, or do any of the funky financial stuff that comes with selling a home. They had no home to sell. They were just leaving. There was no time to say a proper goodbye to my one and only friend. I was lost.

In my room.

In silence.

Willing myself to stop crying.

Then my computer made the Skype blooping noise. I ignored it. I figured it was one of the chats I participated in. It blooped again. I ignored it again. Then it blooped a third time, and the blooping was interrupting my misery. Why can’t they just know my world has been turned upside down?

I got up, crossed my room, and couldn’t believe whose face I saw on my computer screen.

“Amy?”

“That’s right! The Internet always wins!”

“It’s like you’re still here!” I said, dragging my laptop onto my bed.

“I know,” Amy said, with a devious smile. Then she picked up a cheeseburger from somewhere off the screen, raised her eyebrows and said, “My dad barbecued for us.” She took a bite and then brandished it in front of the camera. “Doesn’t this look delicious?”

We both laughed in unison. The cheese was on the bottom. The cheeseburger was upside down, but all at once, my life was not.

 

 

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