Sal's on Irving

Sal don’t look when he makes sandwiches. Sal watches the television, The Moth, in the corner, black and white tv, The Moth, and Sal don’t watch with volume either, keeps the whole joint on mute, even the customers, clicking the remote around the room, so he can watch the acting.

That’s how Sal gets by. Says the Academy should vote this way. Evaluating body language, motion, expression, pace, that kind of thing, in silence. He clicks that remote at you, though, and you better give him that order. 

Don’t take up the air. No questions about the bread or if the mayonnaise is made of avocados. Just a number from the menu, please.

The Moth hangs from four silly bolts in the ceiling, too. Soda and grease lodged up there. And when Sal went to get the bolts he watched salespeople talk to customers from a distance and only remembered why he was there when they started to close the store, the hardware store.

Those bolts, though, keep people from sitting under The Moth. Outta Sal’s view. Only time he ever takes his eyes off The Moth is when he comes around the big post to deliver your sandwich. Don’t ask. He’ll bring it. Even Ed Norton checked on a BLT and the whole joint waved him back to his seat.

All actors’ pictures on the wall is them with their arm around Sal, smiling, Sal with his hands in a sandwich, eyes up on The Moth.

The kid who takes out the fat and trash grazed Sal’s elbow with a boxcutter once. Sal cupped the skin and howled for the kid to call nine-one-one and the kid said lemme see lemme help. Sal screamed I can’t feel my damn fingers how am I supposed to make another meal? and the kid went white and snatched the phone off the wall. Sal burst out laughing. I’m fine, kid, fine, he said and went back to the counter. Good right? Had you.