A One Act Play
A man stands behind the counter of a Subway. The store is empty; he's spacing out a bit. Enter KYLE, our protagonist, an Everyman in search of sustenance. He is congenial, nonchalant, and fairly dashing. He approaches the counter.
COUNTER MAN: Hello, welcome to Subway. What kind of bread would you like?
KYLE: I'm sorry, bread? I'd like a regular sandwich, please, with ham.
COUNTER MAN: Okay, what kind of bread?
KYLE: Oh, oh, oh! Italian, please. You got focaccia?
COUNTER MAN: Yeah...
Begins to get out the Italian.
We've got Focaccia.
Kyle looks at the focaccia next to the Italian, confused by the discrepancy between his request and the result.
KYLE: ... umm, yeah, I'll take the focaccia then.
The counter man looks at the Italian in his hand, confused by the discrepancy between the request and the result.
COUNTER MAN: So, no Italian?
Kyle considers it might be easier to let the whole thing slide, accept the Italian as one of the more miniscule cosmic jokes. Kyle is no picky eater - any discerning tastes he has are fairly limited, as evidenced by his choice of Subway. The economist in Kyle kicks in, and he presses the issue.
KYLE: Yeah, no Eye-talian, per favore - (humor to defuse the tension - the telltale signs of class struggle) - the focaccia's great here.
The counter man shrugs visibly, the look on his face suggesting that any stores Kyle frequents, or their bread products, are probably not really that great. He returns the Italian and retrieves the focaccia.
COUNTER MAN: So, six inch or footlong?
KYLE: A regular. A six inch, I guess. Yeah, great.
COUNTER MAN: Ham?
KYLE: Yeah, ham.
COUNTER MAN: Cheese? American, swiss ...? Provolone? (A swipe at Kyle's internazionale tastes?)
At this point, the counter man's hands are hovering over the cheese section of his counter. He is as tired of not having decisions to make as Kyle is of making decisions. The novelty of guessing what the customer will want has long since waned; he wishes he worked at Quizno's - they start with a fully-made sandwich on the menu, and the customer can choose to let it stand as presented. This is all conveyed as a dullard's weariness, the half-cocked ear at Kyle, inviting input, demanding the idleness cease.
KYLE: You got cheddar?
COUNTER MAN (snatching some cheddar): Great, mayo? mustard?
KYLE (confident for once): Oh, light mayo, if you have any. Otherwise plain.
COUNTER MAN (applying light mayo): Toppings?
KYLE: Umm, just some lettuce and tomatoes, and purple onions. And a dash of salt and pepper.
The counter man does all of this by rote, wraps the sandwich hurriedly, despite the completely empty store. He clumsily tosses the sandwich in a bag.
KYLE: ... could I get a combo? The regular Baked Lays will be fine.
The counter man seemingly ignores Kyle, twisting the bag into a loose knot and entering data on the cash register. The facade of personal service complete, the almighty dollar preoccupies him. He looks up suddenly, a double take without the first.
COUNTER MAN: Did you say you wanted a combo?
KYLE (patience tried): Yeah, Baked Lays? Thanks.
COUNTER MAN: That'll be $7.09. Here's your cup (the cup), your chips (the chips), and your sandwich (QED). Anything else I can get you?
The counter man now freezes. A major miscue in this farce. He has given Kyle the upper hand - the slave is no longer the master. He awaits his punishment ...
Kyle ponders the facetiousness of this question, the sheer gall of it, when not only has the entire transaction clearly ended, but that any attempt to answer this question with anything but, "Nope, thanks a lot, have a good one," will be met with the utmost contempt. He thinks better of all other possibilities.
KYLE: Nope, thanks a lot, have a good one.
COUNTER MAN (attempting to hide his relief): Okay, you, too.
Kyle moves away from the counter, and pantomimes filling his drink cup. Satisfied, he makes his way to the door, his hands precariously balancing bag of sandwich, chips, and cup. No more acknowledgment of each other's presence as Kyle exits the stage.
The man behind the counter resumes his spaced-out position, as the empty store engulfs him. Curtain.