art by Shothot Designs
What Lies Between the Bread
by Greg van Eekhout
Jessica might have been able to resist temptation had the shop smelled of dust and ghosts or perhaps perfume and Saharan sand and sold music boxes that played the tinkling melody of her every treasured and trampled childhood memory. Or, had it stocked books with titles like Shakespeare's "Tragedy of King Arthur" or Hemingway's "Saigon" or "Martin Luther King, Jr. Biography of a President," she might have kept going and walked right on by.
But it wasn't that kind of shop.
It was a sandwich shop.
Jessica had skipped breakfast that morning and her stomach mewled with hunger. Strange little shop or not, her appetite overtook her caution. She steeled herself against whatever ironic fate might befall her and pushed through the door.
The shop was a little dark, but not unnaturally so, and the aromas were rich with spices and pickles and a tinge of grease, but not in a way that screamed "uncanny" or "disturbing." Jessica approached the counter, situated atop a glass case containing meats and cheeses.
A man in a white apron wiped his hands on a towel. "What can I do for you?"
He was dark, with tight, black curls, and bright eyes, and red lips that curved in a slightly suppressed smile.
"Don't you have a menu?" Jessica said, failing to spot one. She actually didn't expect the place to have a menu. These little shops were never so straightforward as to have menus. Unless they were menus written in arcane and largely forgotten languages.
"No point in menus," the man said. "The fare changes all the time."