The Backstage Deli at Emerson College

As you finish tying your shoelaces, your eyes dart to your phone, desperate for the time to change from 10:59 to the number you’ve been waiting for all morning. Your stomach rumbles, increasing in volume, hungry for something that your mind hasn’t quite settled on yet. You do know one thing, though– it’s going to be a sandwich.

The number flips and you leap out of your seat, rushing out the door. You frantically go over all of the options in your head, thinking about which you’re the most hungry for this morning. Before you know it, you’re at the counter being asked what you want and you blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

What Sandwich Do You Choose?

Turkey on Sourdough:
Do you get sauce? (Mayo, maybe mustard?)
YES: You eat a delicious sandwich and have a great rest of your day!
NO: It’s so dry that you choke and die.

Salami on Ciabatta: You have literally the best sandwich you’ve ever eaten in your entire life and win the lottery.

Egg Salad on Rye: The woman behind the counter hands you a hulking mass wrapped in paper, soaked through in spots. Despite its tastiness, egg salad is always messy and semi-fluid, you think, like a scoop of jaundiced blood clots in between your bread. You unwrap it and think you spot something in the egg, mustard, and mayonnaise. It’s like something’s looking back at you. You taste an alien insect as a thin limb scrapes the roof of your mouth. A glob plops on your jeans and it’s swimming with eyes. You want to look away, but it’s got you locked in place with a soul-aborting gaze, and you know for sure that the cloggy gunk is swimming with eyes.

Ham on Country:
Do you get chips?
YES: You are a child. Why are you eating at the deli?
NO: Congratulations, you chose the most boring option the deli has to offer! Please enjoy going about the rest of your extremely boring life.

Veggie Lover’s on Wheat: I deeply admire your ability to remain a vegetarian in the face of the Backstage Deli. It is not an easy feat and I applaud you.

Beatrice on Ciabatta: The sandwich enters your mouth and your eyes slip shut in pure bliss. A chorus of angels begin to sing as you feel your feet leave the ground, and a heavenly light shines down upon you. You feel it begin to fill your chest, a warm light emanating from your body. You settle back down to the ground and finally swallow, sighing in contentment. You have been blessed.

Any of the other sandwiches: Uhhhh, I don’t know, why are you asking me?

Izzy Astuto (they/he) is a writer currently majoring in Creative Writing at Emerson College. His work has previously been published by Hearth and Coffin and Renesme Literary, amongst others. They are currently a Poetry Reader for hand picked poetry. Their Twitter handle is adivine_tragedy.

Casey Richards-Bradt (they/them) is a Creative Writing major at Emerson College. Their work has previously been published by Reader Beware.