top of page


Zachary Loewenstein

One time I was so hungry.  You’ve been hungry right? Imagine the hungriest that you have ever been in your entire life and that was me times twelve.  I was living in St. Louis, Missouri and walked up the hill with my last eight dollars into the Italian neighborhood.  

At the top of the hill was an Italian sub sandwich shop.  Family owned since the times of Caesar. I was so hungry. Hungrier than you, hungrier than those prisoners on hunger strike, hungrier than any famine could possibly bring a man and it was fucking hot out.  Hot and only a few miles from the mighty Mississippi river which had turned the air into steam. You know vapor? The water cycle? I read something about it when I was a kid.


I walked back and leaned against the meat and cheese deli cooler. I stared at the menu on the wall and decided on “The Italian Sub but with no pepperoncinis,” I told the old man.  His mouth dropped open. The words could barely come out of his mouth. He was looked me in the eyes. He was on the verge of tears. He said, “But… without the pepperoncinis, it is not an Italian Sandwich.”

The old man flashed back to the time when a young American had threatened him with a 25.4 cm bayonet after the battle of Monte Cassino 70 years prior. He had been on his knees and was crying. 

I could see it all in his eyes.  He had been completely broken and now he makes sandwiches all day.

“I want pepperoncinis,” I said.

He thanked me and went back to making my sandwich.  

I am allergic to pepperoncinis.  One bite and I’m fucking dead. I’m also allergic to cats, but that’s another story and I’ve never eaten a cat.  

Stepping back outside into that heat and humidity. I walked three blocks down the hill and placed the submarine sandwich down on top of a public mailbox. The sandwich had been rolled in deli paper.  

I was so hungry.  You’ve been hungry right?

About the Author

Zachary H Loewenstein never meant for things to be like this. He has lived and worked for many years in Lower Luxembourg after having received his Doctoral Degree in Anesthesiology from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. Zachary is also a successful organic gardener. His favorite bird is Maglan.

bottom of page