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This Junior Was the First Mortal to Step Inside the Campus Subway: Here's Her Story


Photo by James Morrison

The store squatted on 40th and Spruce, an afterthought wedged beside Copa and Pelicana. It’s glowing green, white, and yellow sign twitched eerily in the smarmy humidity of a late summer evening. It was 10:00 PM, and College junior Rebecca Jacobs, in the throes of an intense, insatiable desire for a hoagie, decided to do the unthinkable: she would eat dinner at the campus Subway. 

“I was cocky, going in,” lamented Jacobs. “I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I mean, I ate at my hometown’s Subway once before never eating there ever again, and it honestly wasn’t that bad.” She paused. “Ok, it was pretty bad, but it wasn’t abysmal. So, y’know, I thought I’d give it another shot.” 

As she ascended the stairway to the store’s front door, Jacobs admitted that she started to have second thoughts. “It was a, ‘Fuck, am I actually gonna do this to myself?’ kind of moment. But then I remembered that my first physics midterm was tomorrow, and then honestly all concern for my own safety and wellbeing vanished.” 

As she crossed the store’s front portal, Jacobs felt a shiver of fear shoot its way down her spine, her body’s fight or flight response activated. She approached the counter, where a man with the stature of an Oompa Loompa stood guard. He wore a suit and bowler hat, Jacobs reported, which she thought was odd because suits and bowler hats are very last century. “What can I get you?” the man asked, his words as tired and heavy as the bags underneath his eyes. 

Jacobs ordered a ham and cheese hoagie with honey mustard, and watched with some concern as the petite little man assembled her sandwich. “I had been getting used to seeing rats and cockroaches around Philadelphia,” explained Jacobs, “but I was just a little concerned when I saw a cockroach scuttle out of the man’s ear and a rat peak its little head out of his jacket pocket.” 

When the tiny little man’s tiny, grimy little paw handed her her sandwich, Jacobs almost decided to not eat it, because the Subway was not very sanitary and also because it was, well, Subway. But seeing as she was very hungry and that she was very invested in giving herself food poisoning to avoid her exam the next day, Jacobs took a bite of her not-quite-a-foot-long anyway. “The instant I bit into the hoagie I heard the door of the Subway lock shut, and from the pit of her stomach came a feeling of dread. Jacobs looked to the man behind the counter, but he had vanished. A little rat in a bowler hat stood on the counter looking at her with its glassy little eyes, a Subway employee hat sitting beside it. 

“And yeah, so I’ve been trapped working in this Subway ever since,” explained Jacob at the conclusion of our interview. Her lips drew back into a wide plastic smile. “Can I get you something to eat?”