I'm Scouting The Local Delis / 7 August 2003

I’m scouting the local delis for contenders. Yesterday’s had five steel shelves embedded in the walls but maybe four Cup [o’] Noodleses, ten boxes of Jell-O, and a half-dozen bars of soap carefully spread out in a vain attempt to take up space. Like maybe they were going to make the leap into Convenience Store Territory but realized, too late, that they couldn’t swing it. Also, photos of Frank Sinatra and Al Pacino and a GoodFellas poster. Even as the question “Why are there no brothers on the wall?” blazed through my head I noticed a framed painting of Jimi Hendrix behind me. Taped to the front window, however, were cardboard cut-outs of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Jim Carrey, so I guess we know what gets the people in the door. The place was empty except for me and the person who made my sandwich, which ended up being a wrap, which I guess I ordered by accident because the kid here isn’t about the wraps, OK, I moved away from California for a reason, OK, and I certainly didn’t expect an allegedly Authentic Italian Deli with a photocopied photo of the proprietor with James Gandolfini over the cash register to put my sandwich in a tortilla and use some kind of too-sweet apple spread as a condiment. But nevertheless I’m going back there today because it is conveniently located and I have the sneaking suspicion I panicked when met with that huge chalkboard filled with tiny, crazy, Se7en-ish writing describing the “celebrity” sandwiches and chose poorly, which happens a lot.

Joshua Green Allen

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