Sushi Dispatcher

He says he’s made sushi for 30 years. Long enough, he says. I want to ask him long enough for what. To know when you’re under and need more help? Or to want to leave Wholey’s fish market forever? Live in a warmer climate during the winter months. Travel to beaches or cities he’s never been to before. Or just, finally, stop touching raw fish.
The dynamite roll was premade, only needing to be chopped up. He made the Wholey roll. He made love with his hands. Molding each piece of fish into six-inch rolls, cutting them into eight bite-sized pieces. Squeezing various colors of sauced accouterments. He closes the Styrofoam box, adds up the bill, and gives me my change. All in under 10 minutes.
Wholey’s, the fish market he’s lived in for, assumedly, for 30 years, is packed on the weekends. He’s the first person you’d see. Almost like a dispatcher on an old taxi show. Taking orders from behind a counter. His tools: knives, rice, mat roller, and tobiko. The lines. The lines everywhere. The one to the hot food and sushi dispatch parallel leading to the left. His line starting first and further back. A mirrored L with a long top.
There is a market attached to his freshness. A mouth breather could taste this quality on their tongue. Fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, all fresh, all underneath a ceiling lined with a model train. The train wasn’t there when they opened in 1912, neither was he. Everyone knows the train, everyone knows Wholey’s, and everyone knows him.
Some just come for the sushi, they must, or to see him work so quickly, giving a product like none other. It matters here. He matters here.

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