The Limburger sandwich rested on the bar. Stink waves rose from it like heat off a barbecue. The bartender had served many of the sandwiches to weak-kneed gastro tourists, the modern term, or simply Not Locals at Baumgartner’s Tavern. He didn’t need to watch the color leave their excited faces or listen to them gasp and gag. He trusted they’d do what they had to, with most of ‘em asking to have the better part of the sandwich taken away. The decent ones left a good tip out of respect for the cheese that undid them.
The two women sat at the bar with their sandwiches on folded butcher paper in front of them.
“Oh my god. My eyes are watering.”
“It smells like ass. It’s an ass sandwich.”
“Did you mean “a nice” sandwich?”
“Did you see the bartender’s shirt?”
“No and now I can’t see anything through my tears.”
“It says, “Pull my Finger.”
“And here we are with an ass sandwich staring us in the face.”
“Is that? No.”
“Is that guy behind me smoking?”
“I’ll be damned! He is. There’s a fucking ashtray on the bar!”
“Lean back in your chair. I’ll get a picture of this—the last bar in civilization to allow smoking AND serving ass sandwiches.”
“Hurry up. I need to get the bartender to take this nasty ass sandwich away.”
Vern nodded to the bartender and took the cigarettes out of his breast pocket. A clean ashtray and matches instantly appeared. Damn good bartender.
The smell of the Limburger sandwiches on the bar wafted over to him with every pass of the oscillating fan. The sweat trickled down his chest and over his flat white stomach. He’d been teaching his grandson how to make Limburger all morning. Hardly any competition in that market, he was proud to say. Shipped it all over the world. It made a real nice sandwich, but Christ, don’t forget a thick slice of onion.