Flash Fiction: The Sandwich

Flash Fiction roll bread lettuce hamAnother week another Flash Fiction Challenge courtesy of Chuck Wendig. This weeks challenge is called ‘Flash Fiction Challenge: Making A Sandwich (No, Seriously, I’m Not kidding)’ in which…  (yep, you might have guessed it.)

“You have up to 1000 words to write a story — not a scene, but a story — where a character makes a sandwich.”

I’m hoping this classifies as a story and not a scene, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. As usual please leave me a comment or  suggestions

Flash Fiction: Sandwich

Jake opened the fridge door and stared at the contents; Marsh Squiggler purée, Bartin fruit jam, a small pot filled with jelly scraped from the back of a Rintox beast. Jake had always hated being in space; the zero gravity, the endless surveillance missions, bad recycled air but it was the food he hated the most. His mouth watered as he thought of bacon, beef, strawberry jam and all the other things he was going to miss. He’d taken as much Earth food as he could, but this was a six month five man mission and those sort of supplies didn’t last very long. With everything that had happened he wasn’t able to restock, and the only thing he had been able to grow onboard was lettuce.

He scratched the stubble on his chin and sighed before reaching towards the back of the fridge and taking out some meat. He’d long since forgotten what it was called, and the language on the packet was just scrawl to him. He slammed the fridge-door, pausing to look at the photo taken of the crew.

Turning back to the galley table he took stock of the rest of the odd collection of sandwich ingredients, his stomach gurgled and ached. Jake dipped his knife in the weird purple goo that tasted almost like butter and spread it over his bread. He covered every bit of the purple slime with lettuce, before he could pay too much attention to how it all looked.

The fluorescent light above him flickered, and dimmed slightly. The computer displays around the room, blinked a few times and made irritated beeping sounds. It still didn’t feel right, even just being in the galley made Jake feel like he was intruding. Piotre never let him in the galley. It was his area. ‘I don’t go messing around in your cockpit, so don’t you mess around in my galley’ he used to say in his thick Russian accent. Jake smiled and unconsciously rubbed the scar on his arm. ‘Sorry Piotre.’ Jake said ‘This is a mess I won’t be able to tidy up.’

Everything had started off well enough. They’d began their investigation into the Shiltorx Government under the guise of diplomats and found many cases of cruelty, slavery and torture performed on man, women and children. They had enough to convict the government of several war crimes. Everything started to go wrong during a diplomatic speech Jake was making. A man ran in to the hall shouting about how the pain and cruelty could not continue and that changes had to happen. Guards from all sides rushed him but not before he’d fired a weapon. Just the one shot but it was accurate enough to kill the President.

The damage had been done, the crew had heard things that the Shiltorx government didn’t want them to and fearing them as Diplomats, they pinned the assassination on them and sent them for execution. They escaped easily enough, they’re trained to, but when they tried to leave the planet they were ambushed by armed soldiers at the dock. Betjeman the Head of Security was shot in the back as she shielded Jake from the gunfire allowing him to escape.

Several weeks passed before any further trouble. Pirates attacked the ship. It was only a small ship but it was armed and quick and before anyone could get to the security station, the shields were down and the engines were taking damage. Jake returned fire, destroying the ship but not before a final shot from the pirate’s weapons caused the console to explode, claiming the life of another crew member, Lieutenant Gergia Engineering Officer First Class.

Jake snapped out of his thoughts, and cleared his throat. He opened the packet of yellowish meat and laid some slices on top of the lettuce. The smell made him gag, but it still tasted better than anything else he had.

With a loud hum and a pinging sound the galley became dark. It had been three weeks since a failing engine had killed Piotr leaving Jake alone in space drifting on the wreck of his ship. The red glow from the words ‘Danger’ and ‘Warning’ were the only things lighting the room. Jake no longer paid any attention to the warnings. He’d re-routed the system so many times just to keep the ship going that the cooling or propulsion system alarms were attached to minor systems like the vending machines. Though in retrospect Jake wondered if being constantly reminded about the lack of snacks was actually worse than being reminded about critical engine failures.

The lights flickered and came back on again. He placed the last slice of bread on top of the sandwich pushed it down hard and took a large bite. He could smell the fumes now, creeping in from underneath the door; the thick smell of burning engine oil and melted plastic.

That man who killed the Shiltorx President would have had no idea that his noble and good actions would kill the very people sent to help his people. If he hadn’t killed the President they wouldn’t have lost anyone trying to escape. With the Security Officer alive the shields would have been maintained and the console that killed Gergia would never have exploded. With Gergia alive the engines would stay well maintained and Piotre wouldn’t have died. With all the crew alive everyone would have got home, and reported the planet for war-crimes.

‘Goddamn you chaos theory’ Jake said to himself as he pushed the last crust of bread into his mouth, seconds before the last engine overloaded.


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