Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, April 4, 2024

"Advise and Sandwiches” - A Short Story by Pat O’Connor - from his collection People in My Brain - 2019 - An Irish Short Story Month Work

 Irish Short Story Month XIII - March to May 2024

"Advise and Sandwiches” - A Short Story by Pat O’Connor - from his collection People in My Brain - 2019 - An Irish Short Story Month XIII Work

Advice and Sandwiches. Short story; First published in Irish Independent November 2011. Available in the Hennessy New Irish Writing Anthology, New Island, c.April 2015.

As the story opens Julia has just left her office for lunch.  She is worried she will be fired soon, her results are good and her clients like her but things just feel wrong to her.  Her boyfriend just told her he has met someone “really exciting” and is moving on.  He seems to expect her to be happy for him.  She feels in strong need of some life directing advise.  Suddenly she sees a just opened sandwich shop sign  that intrigues her.

“A sign over the opening said Advice and Sandwiches, and a placard said Queue here - Advice from €5 - Gourmet Sandwiches free. The queue was the shape of a U, with a rope on little white poles to keep order. A burst of laughter rose from the crowd. It was a good-natured sound. Julie strode past. There was a cheer and clapping. She took a quick, grudging glance. People were saying ‘Aww’ like they were affected by something.”

As Julie waits in line she overhears some advise:

“A male voice called out: ‘I hate my job. What’ll I do?’ ‘Either make it so you like it, or else live cheaper, build up cash, then resign and look for a job you do like. €5. What you want to eat?’ ‘Aah… gimme a ham and cheese and tomato sandwich. No, a sub. A sub, please.’”

Now Julie is at the front of the line.  Somehow she is given just the advise she needs.

The advise given was funny and shrewd, kindly meant.

“‘My wife’s a bitch. What’m I goin’ to do about it?’ This was a cocky voice, his friends egging him on. ‘Go and ask her forgiveness for your own shortcomings. That’s €8. What you wanna eat?’ ‘Hey, I thought it was five euros a sandwich!’ ‘Sandwiches are free – read the signs. Advice starts at five euros and goes up from there. You got the eight euros?’

“‘What’s the best sandwich for someone who loves cats?’ ‘A shared sandwich. That’s €5. What you want?’ ‘Oh? Emm… chicken, some salt, light mayo.’ ‘On plain?’ ‘Plain.’‘Chicken, some salt, 

"Summary Literary Bio

Joint winner of the 2009 Best Start Short Story Competition in Glimmertrain.

Shortlisted for the Sean O’Faolain International Short Story Prize, 2010.

In 2011, shortlisted for the RTE Francis MacManus Award for radio stories, and won the Sean O’Faolain International Short Story Prize.

In 2012 shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award and the Fish Short Story prize.

In 2013 was longlisted for Over the Edge New Writer of the Year, and in 2014 for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award.

Radio play This Time it?s Different, was broadcast on 95fm as part of the Limerick City of Culture program, 2014.

In autumn 2014, he was one of eight International Writers in Residence in Tianjin, China.

My story Advice and Sandwiches was included in the 2015 Anthology of Hennessy New Irish Writing, which was published by New Island.

My collection of short stories titled People in My Brain published in November 2019.

Writer in Residence in Split, Croatia for month of November 2022."



Suko said...

People in My Brain sounds like a terrific collection of short stories!

Buried In Print said...

This is just the kind of story that might convince my husband to try reading short fiction: he loves sandwiches more than anyone I've ever known!