As It Is Written
by William Michaelian

After a long dayís work, the writer emerged from his study. You look tired, he said to his wife. Here. Sit down. Iíll make you a sandwich.

The writerís wife yawned. Iím not hungry, she said.

Not hungry? the writer said. What do you mean, not hungry? You must be hungry. Youíve been working all day, havenít you? I repeat ó sit down, Iíll make you a sandwich.

His wife sat down. Okay, okay, she said. Iím sitting.

The writer left his wife at the table and opened the refrigerator. It was empty. What kind of sandwich would you like? he said cheerfully. How about salami?

Salami is fine, his wife said.

Or would you prefer chicken? he said. I could make you a nice chicken sandwich. How does that sound?

Chicken is fine, too, she said.

Do you want pickles with it? the writer said. Or do you want it plain?

A pickle would be nice. Or plain. It doesnít matter.

Ah-ha! the writer said suddenly.

Ah-ha? his wife said. What does that mean?

It means, the writer said, that I just found a beautiful casserole. Shall I warm it up and serve it with your sandwich?

Might as well, his wife said. Or I could eat the sandwich, and you could eat the casserole.

Tell you what, he said. Iíll get everything ready, and then we can decide.

Good idea, his wife said. In the meantime, is there anything I can do to help?

No, you just sit there and relax. Iíll take care of everything.

For the next several minutes, the writer was busy in the kitchen. He opened and closed the refrigerator several times, rattled their pots and pans, and turned the water on and off in the sink. Finally, he told his wife that everything was almost ready. I have an idea, he said. Letís use paper plates. That way we wonít have to wash dishes. Oh. By the way. What kind of wine would you like? Red, or white?

Either is fine, she said.

Unless youíd rather have champagne, he said.

Champagne does sound good, she said.

Great, then. Champagne it is.

The writer got out two paper plates, two napkins, two glasses, and two forks, then put them on the table. There, he said. All set. Now. Are you ready for the feast of a lifetime?

Iím ready, his wife said.

The writer went back to the kitchen. A moment later, he returned. I donít understand, he said. I just donít understand.

Donít understand? his wife said. What donít you understand?

The food, he said. Itís gone. Someone has stolen our supper.

The writerís wife held out her hand. Thatís all right, she said.

But itís not all right, he said. I worked hard for that supper. And so did you.

He sat down next to his wife. She gave him a hug. But the writer wouldnít be comforted. He apologized over and over. Then he said he was through writing, and that he was going to get a real job. You deserve better, he said. Tomorrow, Iíll find something ó anything ó and this will never happen again.

Exhausted, they went to bed.

When she awakened just before dawn, the writerís wife was alone. She got out of bed and found her husband in his study, working furiously. When evening came, he was still working. Finally, it was getting late, so she told him to stop. Come on, she said, Iíll make you a sandwich.

The writer looked up from his desk and laughed bitterly. What will you make it out of? he said. Thin air?

No, his wife said. Iím making it out of roast beef. Then she showed her husband a page she had torn from her cookbook. On it was a beautiful picture of a succulent roast with several slices partially cut at one end and juice running onto the plate.

The writer was amazed. I am very impressed, he said. Youíve performed a miracle.

His wife smiled.

A few minutes later, she had everything ready. They sat down to a wonderful meal. There were even leftovers.

William Michaelianís newest releases are two poetry collections, Winter Poems and Another Song I Know, published in paperback by Cosmopsis Books in San Francisco. His short stories, poems, and drawings have appeared in many literary magazines and newspapers. His novel,
A Listening Thing, is published here in its first complete online edition. For information on Michaelianís other books and links to this siteís other sections, please go to the Main Page or visit Flippantly Answered Questions.

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