A One-Act Play Written by Steve and Ryan Howe
[At rise, a decidedly normal man enters a sandwich shop at lunchtime. There are no customers. Behind the counter is the shop owner, a smiling man wearing a neatly pressed apron and a crisp paper hat. The shop owner’s wife, Natalie, makes the sandwiches in the back.]
Andy: [A little too friendly and high pitched, as if talking to pre-school age children] Hi! Welcome to Andy’s Sandwich Land. I’m Andy. How can I help you?
Man: Um, just lookin’ for a sandwich [Staring confused at menu board].
Andy: Well, we have sandwiches! This is Andy’s Sandwich Land. We have the Andy #1, the Andy #2, the Andy #3, the Andy…
Man: [Interrupting] Uh, why do you call them all Andy?
Andy: Because this is Andy’s Sandwich Land, silly. And I’m Andy.
Man: But it’s just numbers. So, what’s actually in them?
Andy: Yes, love.
Man: No, like, what kind of meat and stuff?
Andy: Well, they all have meat, except, of course, the Andy #33. That Andy is garden fresh.
Man: Any of them have turkey?
Andy: That would be the Andy #3. Gobble, gobble.
Man: I’ll take it.
Andy: [To the back, exuberantly] One Andy Sandwich.
Natalie: [Wife has dominating voice contrasting Andy’s] Which one?
Andy: [Smiles with embarrassment to the man before turning to the back] The Andy #3…gobble, gobble.
Natalie: We’re out of turkey.
Andy: [Again smiles at the man, but now speaks to the back in a polite but angry speaking voice] What do you mean, we’re out of turkey? I just gave you turkey yesterday. For gosh sake, we can’t have Andy’s Sandwich Land, without an Andy #3.
Natalie: Well, we’re out of turkey, so we ain’t got no Andy #3, Andy. Gobble, gobble.
Andy: [Turning back to the counter, slightly flustered] Hi! Welcome to Andy’s Sandwich Land. I’m Andy. How can I help you?
Man: [Confused, looking around] Me? I was already here.
Andy: Well, welcome back to Andy’s Sandwich Land.
Man: Uh, I never left. Can I get a sandwich, please?
Andy: Of course you can, silly. This is Andy’s Sandwich Land, and I’m…
Man: I know, you’re Andy. What’s in the Andy #2?
Andy: Love! Our sandwiches are made with love…[Hand to chest] all of them.
Man: No. I know, love and all, but the meat, the cheese, what is actually in it?
Andy: You’re going to love the Andy #2. It has roast beef…the roastiest.
Natalie: No roast beef!
Andy: [Eyes closed, collecting himself, to the man] Will you excuse me? [Walks to toward the back and through clenched teeth, this time a little louder and a little less polite] How is it possible that we don’t have the roasty beef? This is Andy’s Sandwich Land, and we must have all the Andy’s on the menu.
Natalie: Will you quit whining? We still got a butt-load of Andys. In fact, I’ve had a butt-load of Andy, myself. If you don’t like it, why don’t you run this kitchen for a while and see if you can do better.
Andy: [Almost screaming] I can’t! I’m Andy, and this is Andy’s Sandwich Land. I have to be out front sharing Andy with the customers! If I’m in the back, who will…
Natalie: I will! I can take the orders.
Andy: [Shaking his head, laughing in disgust] You just don’t get it, do you? Nobody will believe you’re Andy.
Natalie: What is wrong with you? I don’t have to be Andy. I can just be me.
Andy: Ha! Natalie’s Sandwich Land? That’s rich. You know nothing about business. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is coming to Natalie’s Sandwich Land. [To the man] Would you eat at Natalie’s Sandwich Land?
Natalie: [Exasperated] We don’t have to change the name, you idiot. [To the man] Would you still come to this dump if this princess weren’t standing at the front counter?
Man: Look, I really gotta get goin’. I just want a sandwich. What kind of sandwich do you have?
Andy: Yes, Natalie! Tell this fine man which Andy he can have. Hmm? We’re waiting.
Natalie: The PB and J Andy.
Andy: WHAT? We don’t have a PB and J Andy. We have an Andy #1, an Andy #2, an…
Man: Actually you don’t. I’ll take the PB and J.
Andy: Oh, no you will not!
Natalie: Why not? Give him what he wants.
Man: Well, I wanted turkey.
Andy: I will not allow you to prepare any sandwich not on the menu. You just don’t understand, do you?
Natalie: Look, he’s hungry, he’s got money, we got PB and J. What’s the problem?
Andy: It won’t have the Andy secret ingredient. [Hand to chest] Love.
Natalie: Oh, big hairy secret! You blab that line to every moron that walks through the door.
Natalie: [To the man] You want to know what this “love” is that is in every sandwich? You wanna know what love is? [Hand to chest] Expired meat.
Andy: Natalie! Lies!
Natalie: [To the man] Yeah, every morning while every other restaurant owner is in the front of the market buying fresh meat, he’s dumpster diving out back looking for love. And do you want to know the super secret ingredient?
Natalie: That comes courtesy of our not so satisfied customers.
Andy: Natalie, stop! [To the man nervously] Yes, today is a special day at Andy’s Sandwich Land. We have a new Andy on the menu. The PB and J Andy. [With very weak enthusiasm] Yea! Natalie. Please join me in the back, and we’ll make this new Andy together, [With an evil smile] with double the love.
[Andy forces Natalie in the back, a ruckus ensues, clanging, banging, yelling, then a diminishing vocalization as if being choked, then silence. Andy returns to the counter, disheveled, crinkled hat, sweating, etc.]
Andy: [Breathing heavily] Hi! Welcome to Andy’s Sandwich Land. I’m Andy. How can I help you?
Man: [In frozen disbelief of what he just witnessed] Uh, I haven’t left. But I think I’m gonna go to, like, Subway or something.
Andy: [Back to his friendly, pre-school voice] Oh, no, no, no. I won’t hear of it. We’re going to get you our new, special, PB and J Andy. [Rounds the counter]
Man: [Nervously] Nah, I think I’m just gonna go. [Drifts toward the door]
Andy: [Positioning himself between the man and the door] No, I insist that you stay. [Locks the door] There is not a customer alive that has left Andy’s Sandwich Land unsatisfied. I’m going to see that you get what you came here for…[Hand to chest] with love.
Steve Howe is a writer living in New Mexico. He and his teenage son Ryan wrote this play out of hunger and frustration after following Google Maps to a sandwich shop that had closed its doors. While this is a work of fiction, they are convinced this is a spot on hypothesis as to why they are no longer in business. Too much “love.”