A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Fish and Chips

ImageShe glided into the take-a- way behind the heavily tattooed, boiler-suited, yahoo, from distant England who had loudly declared that he wanted the curry rice – and chips with that. She was dressed in a red hat, green woollen coat, pink gloves, and bright red lipstick that formed a crimson slash across her face. Probably about 70 years of age but I am finding it harder to judge age when I am nearly that myself.

She didn’t consult the menu board but instead fixed her gaze on lithe female Chinese owner and rattled off

“A battered cod, a curry roll, and a generous scoop of chips – make sure it’s a generous scoop now” the last part accompanied by a steely look daring the owner to scrimp. She looked around the shop hoping to attract someone’s attention but all the occupants suddenly found their shoelaces very interesting. Like who wants to get involved in what could be some sort of racist attack. She then flopped down beside me, turned around and smiled. I, momentarily distracted from the floor, smiled back. My first mistake. Never look anyone in the eye. I quickly turned back and started flipping pages of the magazine I had hurriedly picked up. God! It was a design magazine. I loathe design and gardens and houses. All that ‘look at Me’ repackaged as entertainment. But all was not lost. The feature article was the secret sex life of Anna Paquin and I quickly started flicking for the relevant article I knew would be a crock. Really, I just wanted to be left alone. Get my oysters, get my chips, get out of there.

“He tried to get me going at 8.00am”
she said “ He has been retired now for   ——-“ She stopped and did what I took to be mental calculations.

“He’s 78 now so you do the sums. He just hasn’t given up in his head. Anyway we got out of the house at 10.00. I normally cook a wee  dinner for him but I thought to myself we haven’t had fish and chips for years – its must be 10 years since I have been in a place like this”.

She grandly swept her hand around the shop as if she was a dowager displaying her drawing room

“I have to do all the driving now. He’s practically blind. Can’t see – so I drive him everywhere.”

She seemed to sense that I wasn’t interested but she persisted.

“Yesterday I said to him that we would have to start thinking about when I can’t drive anymore. Do you know what he said? “

She was obviously racking up her attempts to engage me. I didn’t take the bait.

She lapsed into silence and moved toward the pile of magazines as my order was announced.

“Half dozen Bluff oysters, chips, meat patty.”

I grabbed my order and left the shop attempting a small smile as I am not a complete antisocialist. I saw her start to engage the Englishman as I went next door to buy some beverage to go with my meal.

The door of the diary opened behind me and she was suddenly there again.

“Just thought I would pop in and do some extra shopping while I am waiting” she said as she sashayed down the aisle. The assistant caught my eye and raised her eyebrow.

She paid for her purchases before I had a chance to make my selection and a similar line of rapport was carried out with the shop owner.

I stepped up to the counter.

“I see you have met the formidable Miss Tush,” the assistant murmured as I handed over my five dollars.

“Mrs,” I said “She is bringing her husband his dinner from the fish and chip shop next door.”

“Oh no! Miss Tush isn’t married. She lives up in the next town. Walks here every Thursday and buys her stuff. Mad as a hatter.”

“But she told me she drives and has a husband – retired, 70 ish.”

“Nah! She spent some time in the psych ward last year. I’m told that she has her winter holidays there most years. Completely away with the fairies. We deliver her groceries every fortnight. Same order every time. Lovely old lady but — ‘

She circled her ears with her fingers and smiled benignly at me.

Image

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