Chuck Wendig interviewed author James R. Tuck and Tuck said something that stuck with me:
“You can write a whole page on a character making a sandwich and if you do it right it will be gripping and compelling.
This weeks challenge:
· You have up to 1000 words to write a story — not a scene, but a story — where a character makes a sandwich. Any kind of character, any kind of sandwich, but the point is to infuse this seemingly mundane act with the magic story-stuff of drama and conflict. Make it the most interesting “person-making-a-sandwich” story you can possibly make it. It needs to grip the testicles. It must twist the nipples. It must not let go.
Love Crazy Love.
Cian looked at Niamh.
Her eyes were enormous.
It was the first thing he had noticed about her. She was watching his every move. Frankly it made him nervous. As if he wasn’t already shaking with excitement and nervous energy. His stomach rumbled and he up stood suddenly needing to eat. “I never offered you any thing to eat” he said his voice unsteady. He swallowed then his Adams apple bobbing up and down on his skinny throat. She didn’t say anything. Niamh just kept watching him with those big beautiful brown eyes. He opened the drawer where his mother kept the knives but he couldn’t see the bread knife. He whistled through his front teeth in frustration. Then he remembered he had given it to his mother right between the ribs. It was still there lodged in her lifeless body in the back room. He could go and get it he supposed but he didn’t feel like cleaning the old woman off of it.
“I’ll make us a couple of sandwiches” he said too brightly “I have some chicken and some mustard and I’m sure there’s a bit of pepper somewhere. Everyone likes chicken don’t they?” He spoke to the air somewhere between them. He busied himself finding things in the fridge and laying them out on the counter for Niamh to see. Little mini offerings on an altar. “Normally” he said cutting thick uneven slices of bread “a girl as good looking as you wouldn’t even see a scrawny piece of meat like me”. He laid the bread out on the plates and began tearing the chicken off the bone “But you had been kind to my mother who just happened to be the old woman in the apartment across the corridor from yours.” Niamh didn’t even blink as he recounted her short history in his life.
“That time you came over for a cup of tea with my mother. God how she had fussed and fretted she even took out the good china tea set. It had been a wedding present over forty years before. Did you know that” he wiped chicken fat off his hands on a tea towel. Niamh nodded slowly.
“Mother didn’t want me around that day” he shook his head like a parent talking about an unruly child. “You’ll scare her off with your oddness. You’re so selfish! You never think that I might like to have a friend. A nice girl to talk to sometimes.“ He mimicked his mother in a singsong voice. “You’re a waste of space you are always in the way.” He hated his mother so much sometimes he could kill her. Oh that’s right he thought he already had he sniggered.
Niamh’s head shot up and she watched him carefully. Cian put a red pepper on the chopping board and began to slice it with a seven inch serrated knife spreading the slices artistically on the sandwich like a fan. “After that you saluted me on the corridor. And you even said hello to me once in the corner shop. Do you remember?” He asked holding the mayonnaise jar and knife in mid air like he’d just had the most brilliant idea.
“I knew you’d come. I knew I could count on you. All I had to do was be believable. Please come quick my mothers collapsed” he was laughing again it was such a high pitched unpleasant sound. He placed the final slices of bread on top of the sandwiches and cut them in to neat triangles with that lethal looking knife he cut the bread with. He took some fresh coriander from the pot on the kitchen window and sprinkled it over the sandwiches.
“Mother would be so proud” he sighed. “She never lets me make the sandwiches when we have guests. These are a masterpiece.”
He carried the plate towards where Niamh was sitting and placed it on the low table in front of her. “I’ll be very disappointed if you don’t finish it all up” he smirked “like a good little girl”.
He crouched down then so he was at eye level with those gorgeous brown eyes. “Now Niamh I’m going to undo your left hand, only your left had so you can eat your lovely sandwich. Unfortunately the tape on your mouth is going to be a bitch. But…” he shrugged in a you know how it is manner. Niamh raised one manicured eyebrow and waited. She flexed her left hand a few times to get the circulation going. The tape coming off her mouth hurt like hell. But she didn’t make a sound. When Cian turned to get his sandwich on the counter she reached behind her and pulled out her police issue revolver. When turned back to face her he had that goddamn knife in his hand. No telling what he would do with it so she shot him right between the eyes.