It was approaching noon on a sweltering summer day. We were driving down the highway in the maintenance truck when Crew Leader Carl made an unexpected turn into a supermarket parking lot.
He eased into a parking space and pulled all the way through, the truck and trailer occupying two spots.
“I didn’t make a lunch, so I’m going to run in and get something,” he said. “Anyone else coming in?”
The other guys murmured, shaking their heads.
“I’ll come in,” I said.
Carl turned. “Isn’t that your lunchbox you’re holding in your lap?”
“Yeah,” I said, “but all I have is an egg-salad sandwich that Joanne made.”
“What’s wrong with an egg-salad sandwich?”
“I hate it,” I said. “I can’t stand egg salad, but I don’t have the heart to tell Joanne. She’s been waking up early to make me a lunch, and this is the third day in a row that she’s packed me an egg-salad sandwich. I don’t want her to know that I’ve been throwing it out with the lawn clippings.”
“Well, that’s a terrible thing to do,” Carl said. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself, lying to her like that.”
I leaned forward. “Hey, what about you? What’s in that brown paper bag next to you on the seat? I thought you said you didn’t make a lunch?”
“I didn’t,” he said, looking down at the paper bag and sighing. “My girlfriend did. It’s a tuna fish sandwich with pickles.”
“Let me guess,” I said. “You hate tuna fish?”
“And pickles,” he said. “Just about as much as you hate egg salad, apparently.”