I'd just selected a Tall Top Table with a view of the Skywalk, opened my sandwich, opened my book and my eyes drifted toward three teens carrying movie theater popcorn and oversized boxes of candy. The boy had a pinky-width ooze of blood trailing from his left eyeball down his cheek. I looked away, then quickly looked back again. It was still there.
"Oh, for the love ..." I thought, staring glumly at the un-touched sandwich. Tuna is already such a delicate matter. All it takes is a single extra large chunk or a piece that tastes like the insoles of a wet tennis shoe. To see actual blood gushing from an actual face ... I didn't know if I could do it. You know, the Mayonnaise on a Grilled Tuna Sub is warm, right?
"Where the fuck is Keely!" one of the girls had broken from the group and busted into the sandwich shop to accost another teenager, a paying customer splitting a sandwich with a friend.
"Huh?" he said.
I don't know him, but I'd been pretty interested in the concept he had presented to the Sandwich Artist when he was in front of me in line: Pizza Sub on Flatbread, toasted, with lots of Jalapeños -- just on half. Sometimes another diner's concept seems out-there and risky, but it demands respect. But this just seemed like the willy-nilly concoction of a hot head who has never bothered to learn what things taste like. (Don't get me started on the guy who put pickles on his salad. I almost walked right out of the shop that day).
"I said 'Where the fuck is Keely!'" the girl repeated.
Blood face and another girl stood waiting outside the door, the former turned so I couldn't see his gash.
"I don't know," he said. Shrugged. "Probably at school."
The girl turned and clomped out of the restaurant.
After that distraction I had no problem finishing my sandwich. It was good right down to the last bite -- which I bit in half to give myself another last bite. I finished the paragraph I was reading, took a sip of water and began cleaning off the table.
As I turned clockwise I noticed a woman less than seven feet away, facing me full-on, mayonnaise smeared around her mouth like clown make up as she sat there chewing. I did a double take and felt my stomach rumble like sudden thunder.
"Oh, shit," I thought. "This isn't going to sit."
I had to look at her one more time and then I convulsed, hiding my heave the best I could, shoulders rolled, head down. My sandwich was using my liver for a trampoline and needed just one more bounce to eject itself through my esophagus.
Running shoes hitting the pavement in even strides. Lawn mowers crisscrossing a yard. Been spending most my life living in a Gangsta's Paradise. I was able to erase the image with some tried and true visual and lyrical aids.
So today's life lesson: Mayonnaise is grosser than blood.