WASHINGTON—Eliciting reactions of wonder and awe in millions of Americans since appearing on the nation’s skyline this week, a giant, sloppy chicken parmesan sandwich continues to hover enticingly above the continental United States with no sign as to its origin or greater purpose, sources across the country are reporting.

The gooey and glistening sandwich, which is currently visible on the horizon from every vantage point within the United States, has been hanging inertly above the country for approximately 32 hours, bringing the nation to a near total standstill as government officials and American citizens alike gaze on in rapt fascination.

Authorities have also reported at press time that the sandwich appears to feature a mixture of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses in equal proportions.

“At this time, we can confirm that the hovering object is a tender chicken parmesan sandwich around 650 miles in diameter and 10 trillion calories in size, with a juicy boneless chicken breast and what appears to be a tangy, homemade marinara sauce,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced in an emergency telecast this morning while keeping both of his eyes trained on the warm, hovering Italian sandwich. “I cannot confirm at this time where the sandwich came from, how long it will remain aloft, or whether or not the breaded chicken cutlet will yield a light, satisfying crunch when bitten into.”

“From all indications, though, [the sandwich] looks like a good one—a big, sloppy one,” Carney added. “I like it when they’re a little sloppy.”

Experts have estimated that in the first day of the gigantic, messy parm’s arrival, the U.S. economy suffered more than $600 million in lost productivity, in addition to millions of dollars in damages from accidents caused by Americans trying to run or drive toward the sandwich while paying no heed to the obstacles directly in their path.

According to federal authorities, the massive, continent-spanning sandwich appears to be pleasingly messy, with the sauce soaking nicely into the toasty, absorbent roll, and the cheese still stringy and not too congealed, although sources were quick to add that “a little bit congealed is fine, too, as long as it’s still warm—really, it’s hard to fuck up a chicken parm too badly.”

“Unfortunately, our initial attempts to fly investigators to the surface of the sandwich and take a big ol’ bite have failed,” DHS spokesman John DiClaudino told reporters, explaining that numerous pilots became distracted and flew into the side of the sandwich or simply remained on the tarmac, gaping at its sticky, cheesy layers without ever taking off. “I haven’t had a chicken parm in a while, but man, when they are good they are really good. This one looks like it’s on a toasted Italian roll, too. I love it when they toast the bread. Makes it better.”

“I like eggplant parms too,” DiClaudino added. “Not as much as chicken parms, though.”

Until such time as the gigantic chicken parm can be contained or consumed, authorities have urged the American populace to cease all regular activity, head outside, and gaze longingly at the majestic expanse of the sandwich.

In addition, all government and economic functions have been suspended indefinitely in order for the nation to focus its resources and attention exclusively on the hovering sandwich, which sources reiterated is “a real hot, drippy one—you can tell it was made fresh.”

“My fellow Americans, we stand at the threshold of perhaps the most satisfying meal in our nation’s history,” said President Obama in a televised address to the nation this morning. “In fact, I am no longer your president. I am merely another hungry man looking to eat a big, sloppy chicken parm. I would advise all of you to try and bring the sandwich down to earth soon, while it is still warm. I certainly know that’s what I’m going to do. God damn it, is there anything more satisfying than a giant, messy parm that you house in about three minutes flat and that makes you feel absolutely disgusting after eating it but you don’t regret it in the slightest because, Christ, it’s a parm, ya know?”

“Sometimes I’ll get a little side order of marinara sauce so I can dip the sandwich in the sauce,” the president added, staring into the sandwich as he walked slowly toward it.