“You need to take down the sign,” she said, plopping her bag onto the counter.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because it’s false advertising. It’s an outright lie. The sign should read, HARDLY ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Unless, of course you know the right people, are rich, have an in someplace, or don’t really want anything that’s impossible. And let me see you fly, and not in a plane, or turn into a unicorn.”
“Uh, I think I see where you’re going with this.”
“I’m sick of false advertisements and stupid sayings that are not true.”
“Do you want tofu dog?”
“This is a vegetarian deli. I think the sign just means that we can make pretty much any kind of sandwich, as long as it’s on the big board over there,” he said pointing next to him.
“That’s still a lie because if you only get to pick what’s available, then nothing is impossible but who cares, if you only have ten items to choose from?”
“No idea. I just work here,” he said, picking up a hot dog bun. “They’re really good.”
“Don’t you think you should question things like that sign?”
“Not really. I already know that hardly anything is possible, like paying off student loans, actually being able to afford a one room crumby apartment and having enough money for food. That’s why I work here. I get to eat.”
“So you know the sign is a lie and that it leads people to have false hope.”
“I don’t know if anyone thinks about it that way. Or, if they even care. Most people who eat here killed their dreams a long time ago.”
“That’s so horrible,” she said, closing her eyes.
“I don’t know, people seem to be calmer once they have given up and decided things will never get better. They don’t have to hope any longer. They don’t struggle, or strive for what they wanted.”
“That’s the worst thing I’ve heard in my entire life.”
“It’s still true.”
“How much do you make, working here?”
“Enough to pay rent and buy clothes at Goodwill,” he said looking at his t-shirt.
“Don’t you want more than this?”
“I think most people want more than what they have. They want more for themselves and more for their families. But life doesn’t care what people want.”
“You mean the men in charge don’t care what people want.”
He shrugged. “Same thing, I guess.”
“You realize that this is what the bad guys want. They want people to give up.”
“Well, then someone is getting what they want, aren’t they,” he said, smiling weakly. “What about the tofu dog?”
“Steam the bun and add a bit of regular yellow mustard.”
“You got it,” he said, starting to fill her order.
“There are a lot of ways to be dead, you know. Giving up is one of them.”
“Hard to keep fighting when you know you can’t win.”
“That’s what they want.”
“Doesn’t change what is though, does it,” he said, defeat in his voice. “What do you want to drink?”
He handed her the tofu dog and placed a bottle of water next to her bag. That’s seven dollars.
She gave him ten and told him to keep the change. He nodded, thanked her, and rang up the sale.
“This really is good,” she said, her mouth full of food.
“I know,” he snickered. “So, are you going to change the world?”
“That’s the plan,” she said, taking another bite.
“Let me know how it goes. If you need help, I’m in.”
“Thanks. Write down your name and number, in case you change jobs. That way I’ll know how to find you.”
He handed her a slip of paper.
“Nice talking with you,” she said. “Dinner was delicious.”
“We aim to please,” he laughed.
“I’ll be in touch.”
“Looking forward to it,” he said, watching her walk away.