A/N: Yet another week, yet another story…
If there was one thing Jonas Svensson had always wanted then it had to be the perfect ham and cheese sandwich. His favourite moment from when he was a child had been when his mother made him one. Playing soccer with his friends, rescuing damsels in distress on his computer, eating candy, had all been less important than that first bite of a really good ham and cheese sandwich. But somehow, no matter how good his mother’s had been, there had never been quite the perfect balance between the bread, the cheese and the ham. It was, in Jonas humble opinion, the most important thing to consider when making a ham and cheese sandwich.
He grew up to be a web developer, because it had seemed like as good a job as any, and lived in an age of twenty-eight in a beautiful apartment, which had been equally beautifully furnished by his two sisters.
It wasn’t like he was obsessed or anything. He liked his job, and had quite a few hobbies. He liked building miniature airplanes and he was still a member of a soccer club. But his favourite hobby was still to experience in order to create the perfect ham and cheese sandwich.
So when Pastor Simon came to town along with tons of advertisements that he could solve just about any problem – with the help of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that was – Jonas figured why not. He was easily able to get a day off, having only used two personal days in his entire career so far, and so he found himself, one Thursday afternoon, in a large auditorium, waiting along with about five hundred other people for the pastor to show up and solve all their problems.
The pastor showed up on the exact time he had promised, and Jonas had to admit that he was a very charismatic man. Large and imposing, with deep, soulful eyes and a winning smile, he had no trouble getting the audience’s attention. He had a booming voice and more than enough to say with it.
He spoke about economic problems. About divorce. About bullying, and anorexia, and working a mediocre job, and a hundred other things. To Jonas’ disappointment, however, he didn’t mention ham and cheese sandwiches at all. Jonas had otherwise thought the whole anorexia thing would lead to something with food, but apparently not. Never mind then. He’d ask the pastor himself. They had been promised an opportunity to talk with him personally after all the speaking was done. And he had promised that he’d solve all kinds of problems.
Finally he was done, and Jonas got in line with about three hundred other people, who all wanted help. Someone was suffering from nightmares, and another person had just been told she had cancer. There were alcoholics, who tried to stop drinking, and gamblers, who tried to stop gambling. There were all kind of problems, but nothing quite like Jonas’.
One thing all of them had in common, however, was that all of them gave the pastor a bit of money afterwards. For some of them it was only a dollar, while other gave several hundreds, but they all got the same bright, thankful smile from the pastor. Thank God Jonas had brought a fifty himself.
And then it was him.
“And what is your problem, my son?” the pastor asked, grasping Jonas by the shoulders.
“Well,” Jonas said. “I have never been able to make the perfect ham and cheese sandwich.”
The pastor blinked.
The pastor blinked again.
And then he blinked a third time.
“What?” he said.
“I have never been able to make the perfect ham and cheese sandwich,” Jonas repeated, not bothered by the fact that the pastor had apparently not heard him the first time. Hearing damage was nothing uncommon after all.
“I see…” the pastor said, slowly, though it didn’t appear he did at all.
“Well, here‘s the thing,” Jonas continued, thinking the problem might become clearer if the pastor had a bit more information. “After years of trying I’ve found the perfect kind of bread to make it with as well as the perfect ham and even the perfect cheese. But I can never completely figure out how much of each I need. The bread becomes soggy, the cheese becomes too much. There’s always some problem with it, and your advertisements stated you were the best at solving problems.”
“So they did,” the pastor said, looking at Jonas as if he wasn’t quite sure if he was being mocked or not. “Well, I suppose the perfect combination of ham and cheese in a… eh, ham and cheese sandwich can be tricky. Especially since most people probably have their own idea of what the perfect… eh, combination would be.”
“So you can’t help me at all?” Jonas asked disappointed.
“I’m afraid not,” the pastor said. “Though I suppose… have you tried simply changing the… eh, percentage of each ingredient slowly each time?”
“Well, what about the butter then?”
“What about it?”
“Have you also found the perfect butter?”
Jonas looked at the priest in wonderment. He hadn’t. How could he have been so stupid?! Of course every single ingredient had to be fantastic in order to make the perfect ham and cheese sandwich. He was an idiot.
Jonas grasped the pastor’s right hand in both of his. “Thank you,” he said vehemently. “Thank you so much. I’ll go buy all the different kinds of butter that I can find right away. I can’t believe I might be at my goal in just a few short weeks. Thank you. Thank you.”
“You’re… eh, welcome?”
“Here.” Jonas fished a fifty out of his pocket, wishing he had more on him. “As a thank you.” He handed the pastor the bill, before he hugged him, unable to keep his joy at bay.
“Thank you,” he said again, before leaving, knowing the pastor was a busy man.
And Jonas himself had important things to do himself.
A few weeks later, the pastor’s advertisement looked slightly different.
Pastor Simon, it said. Solves Every Problem From Depression To Creating the Perfect Ham and Cheese Sandwich.
The pastor was, if anything, an opportunist.