Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Sandwich War

Once upon a time, not long ago on a planet just like this one except a bit younger, there was a war. Two different countries on that blue and green and white planet (the white was from the clouds, and most people didn't notice it) got into an argument, and decided that the only way they would be able to sort out their argument would be to have all of the fathers and sons in their country kill the fathers and sons of the other-country. Nobody really knew for sure how this would work, but they were pretty sure that it had worked in the past, so they got to it with a will.

Now, in one of the two warring countries, there was a young father who didn't like the situation one bit. He was, on principal, a peaceful man, and he didn't want to kill the fathers and sons of the other-country, no matter how big of an argument was being decided. But he loved his family, and he loved his country, so he decided to join the army as a cook, to help the war effort without having to kill any fathers or sons. Before joining the army, the young father worked in a sandwich shop. He didn't just work in it, he owned it, and his sandwiches were famous. Not just famous to the people that had eaten them, they were so famous that even people who had never eaten them were aware that they were delicious, and wished that they could eat them. People in other countries, even the country that was at war with his home-country, knew about his sandwiches. They were that good.

Things started out fine for the young sandwich making father. The regiment of fathers and sons that he cooked for enjoyed his sandwiches very much, even if he didn't have as many good ingredients as he usually did. The general of the army came by every once in a while to "inspect" the sandwiches to ensure "food quality", but really he just wanted a sandwich. Word spread through the entire army that the cook for that particular regiment made the best sandwiches in the world. And that is where the trouble started.

You see, at this point, the two countries weren't in all-out war with each other. Both had their armies massed at the border, threatening invasion, but neither was ready to start the fighting. It had something to do with conventions or international leagues of nations or something. But when word spread through the camp that the best sandwiches in the world were being made by a young sandwich-making father in one particular regiment, a spy from the other-country decided that his country should have the best sandwiches, and so he kidnapped the young sandwich-making father and brought him to the other-general for the other-army.

"General, this man makes the best sandwiches in the world!" the spy said, making his report, "I've kidnapped him so he can make delicious sandwiches for us."

"Very good, Spy," said the other-general, then he turned towards the young sandwich-making father and said, "If it isn't too much trouble, could you make me a sandwich now? I haven't had lunch yet."

The young sandwich-making father didn't see how making a sandwich for the other-general could hurt his family or his country, and the man seemed nice enough. So he made him a sandwich. The other-general liked it so much that he kept the young sandwich-making father around to keep making sandwiches for the rest of the other-armies officers.

Of course, things couldn't go on like this for long. The army noticed immediately when their best sandwich maker disappeared, and it didn't take them long to figure out that he had been kidnapped. Their own spy in the other-army alerted them to the young sandwich-making father's whereabouts, and they sent a strike team to recover him. Strike teams don't just enter enemy territory and take a sandwich chef without creating international repercussions. In this case, the result of taking back the young sandwich-making father was to spark all-out war between the two nations.

(First off, apologies for the sexism, it's just easier to write that way.)
(Second, perhaps a moral: Pacifism only works if everybody subscribes to it.)
(Third, pacifism isn't a utilitarian argument anyway, so the second point actually shouldn't make a difference, it's only an observation about the way the world works)
(Fourth, I'm not sure why my mind works this way)


  1. So, when I saw that this was one of your little stories, I started reading it without the intention of finishing it at the moment I thought "I'll finish it later" but next thing I knew I'd been sucked in. This should be a children's book. All you need is an illustrator, and someone'll publish it (I would.) Needless to say, I am amused and enjoy this very much.

  2. "I'm not sure why my mind works this way." :D

    This was fun. And, Michael, doesn't he already have an illustrator, Jay?