copyright © 2004 by Adam Hahn

Workaday #3: Revenge
by Adam Hahn

Adam is dressed as a Quizno's Employee.


In exchange for money, I work in a franchise restaurant specializing in toasted sandwiches. For the purposes of this monologue, it is not important which one.

Perhaps you will come to eat at this franchise restaurant, and I will serve your toasted sandwich in a plastic tray shaped like a capital letter Q. You may notice the signs on the trash receptacles warning that they are not intended to receive Q-shaped plastic trays.

Perhaps someday you will have my job, toasting sandwiches and serving them in plastic trays in the shape of capital letter Q's.

Perhaps you will manage your own toasted sandwich franchise. If you do, you will know that your restaurant holds exactly thirty-eight plastic trays in the shape of thirty-eight capital letter Q's. Then you can develop the management-level obsession with those thirty-eight trays and understand what a horrible tragedy it would be to lose even one of them.

If you ever do, please explain it to me, because I don't fucking understand it.

Last night, I committed the cardinal toasted sandwich franchise sin: I took out the trash without first counting the trays.

You know what a dumpster is, right? You understand that it is intended to be container for many things, but never for human beings, right? I spent forty-five minutes in a dumpster last night.

Knee-deep in restaurant waste, I found out how it feels to have day-old clam chowder soaking through my khakis.

Until I located the ranch-dressing-coated holy grail of that dumpster, the only thing to break up the monotony was my manager periodically thumping on the metal walls, "You took out the trash! You didn't count the trays! Keep digging!"

When he wasn't yelling at me, I had time to think about friends I don't call, the graduate fellowship I left in Canada, engineering positions for which I never applied, and the love of women I've found one way or another to chase away.

Yes, I realize a dumpster is a rather obvious setting for reflection on things I've metaphorically, "thrown away," but this is a true story. The truth is that I'm rather shallow about about that kind of thing.

I'd love to tell you that I experienced some kind of growth in that dumpster. I'd rather this was a monologue about my revelation that the opportunity to focus part of my life on writing makes anything I have to do in the other parts of my life worth it. I'd rather have opened a new, deeper, more honest period of creativity.

But this is a true story, and I find it difficult to grow while being watched by a man with a mustache right out of a Civil War documentary who stands in the back door of a franchise restaurant specializing in toasted sandwiches-- who stands there watching me to make sure I didn't short-change him by one eighty-nine-cent PIECE OF PLASTIC!

At the very least, I'd like to tell you a story about coming to terms with my new life, about coming of age by accepting my limitations.

Covering myself in rotting sandwich remnants doesn't open my eyes. It narrows them.

Tonight, my manager took out the trash.

When he came back inside, I asked him, "Greg, did you count the trays? I just counted them, and I can only find thirty-seven."

That was around nine fifteen tonight.

Adam produces one plastic tray in the shape of a capital letter Q.

I think I'll swing by after the show and see if he's still out there.


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