This Story Is Not about Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Barry Graham

I woke up because my lips were dry. I knew I had to get a drink before my top lip split down the middle like it always does in early November when I click the heat on for the first time every year. No, that's not why. I woke up because someone rang the doorbell. They must have opened the screen door. It wasn't latched. The wind caught it. I could hear it banging back and forth against the white chair on the front porch. I sat up at the bottom of the bed, rubbed my forehead, eyes, cheeks. Everything seemed suspicious. I'd fallen asleep playing Ms. Pac-Man. The game was paused but the red ghost was still moving, still trying to catch me and eat my soul. The kitchen light was on. Somebody must have snuck in, made a ham and cheese sandwich and eaten the rest of my pretzels. I didn't know until I tripped on a pile of clothes, hit my nose on the closet door, and headed for the freezer to get some ice and the doorbell rang again. This story is not about Ms. Pac-Man or ham and cheese sandwiches.

"Why are you here? Do you know what time it is?"

"It's early. Why were you sleeping?"

"I was playing a game."

"I made you a sandwich."

"You ate all my pretzels."

"You don't even like pretzels. Can I come in?"

"What kind of ham did you use?"

"What game were you playing?"


"Hickory smoked maple. What happened to your face?"  

The bottoms of her sweatpants were wet. There were leaves and grass stuck to her shoes. I ran my eyes the rest of the way up her body and stopped at her lips. They're safer to talk to than her eyes. All of this took thirty seconds or ten minutes or two and a half years.


"You can come in, but you owe me for the pretzels."

"What do you got to drink?"

"Want a beer?"

"Make me a rum and Coke?"


Her socks were pink and so was her t-shirt. Her sweatpants were gray and folded twice to hang loose off her hips. She took them off and her panties were plain and white and raggedy. I liked them a lot. I filled her glass with Coke, pretended there was rum in it, and watched her drink it fast, then lie down on the couch and stretch her legs out. She said nothing. I said nothing. I grabbed one of the pokey feather pillows off my bed, threw it at the back of her head, and told her there were blankets in the closet.


"I only see sheets. Do you want me to freeze?"

"I turned the heat up, you'll be fine."

"What if I get cold?"

"Drink some more rum."


The next morning she made scrambled eggs and toast but I let them get cold and ate a bowl of Cookie Crisp.


"Do you know where I put my sweatpants?"

"They looked dirty. I put them in the washer."

"Was there something wrong with the eggs?"

"My stomach can't handle eggs this early in the morning. You forgot already?"

"Yeah, just like you forgot to… never mind. Do you care if I take a shower before I go?"

"Go ahead. The towels are in the closet."

"I know, right beside the sheets. I saw them in there right after you threw your pillow at me."

"So, you stayed warm?"

"No, I looked for the rum but you don't have any."

"Oh yeah, that's right. Let me know next time you're coming, I'll buy some."

"I'll keep that in mind. Can I shower now?"


She pulled her t-shirt off then slid her panties down and kicked them at me, but I moved and they landed on the coffee table beside the eggs. She walked into the bathroom and kept the door open while she pissed and brushed her teeth with my toothbrush. Her legs were hairy. There were two bruises on her back and one on the bottom of her right ass cheek. I grabbed the panties off the table and put them in my dresser drawer and brought her a towel.


"Where do you want me to put this towel?"

"I'll be done in two minutes, just wait here."

"Come on, I got shit to do."

"I'm using your razor. It's Sunday—what do you got going on?"


I stood there for ten minutes until she shut the water off, opened the curtain, grabbed the towel, and told me to get out and close the door. After ten more minutes the door opened. She walked over and sat down beside me on the couch, still naked.


"How long until my pants are dry?"

"Twenty minutes. How'd you get those bruises on your back?"

"How'd you get those bruises on your face?"

"Are you gonna sit here without clothes on for twenty minutes?"

"Is that okay?"


She flopped her legs onto my lap, and leaned back into the pillow.


"Rub my feet."


I did. She closed her eyes and ran the tips of her fingers over her tits and I stopped rubbing. She grabbed my hand, kept hers on top, and ran both of our hands down between her legs until my dick got hard. I took my free hand and tickled the insides of her thighs until she spread them apart, but the dryer buzzed and I pushed her legs off my lap and got up to get her sweatpants without looking at her on the couch—without watching her watch me.


"Your pants are dry."

"You'll have to put them on me."


I threw them at the back of her head and walked in the bedroom, closed the door, pulled her panties out of the dresser drawer, and held them until I heard the door close and the screen door bang back and forth against the white chair on the front porch.  

Barry Graham is a simple man, who writes about simple things, very simply. Look for him in Hobart, Storyglossia, Monkeybicycle, Pindeldyboz, and Found.   

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Photo detail on main page courtesy of Gwyn Fisher.

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