A Song of Fish and Chips
‘I am Doris Drizzleborn, mother of poodles and auntie to labradors.’ She stood, proud defiance in every bone of her body, plastic mac rustling in the wind.
‘I am the Mighty Bert, ruler of all the chip shops in this land.’
‘I come seeking battered cod,’ she said as her mighty war poodles strained against their leashes.
‘Do you?’ He stepped back from the counter. ‘Want any chips with that?’
‘Do I look like the sort of woman who eats her fish without chips?’ The scorn in her voice made her war poodles tense and skittish.
‘I do not make chips for just any stranger who enters my shop.’ He folded his heavily-muscled arms across his batter-stained vest. ‘Are you worthy?’
She tensed, shortening the leads of her war poodles as they tried to investigate the strange smells of this far distant land. ‘You ask Doris Drizzleborn if she is worthy? I have eaten chips in all corners of this land.’ She stepped forward. ‘I would even dare try your mushy peas!’
Behind her the queue of regulars, as one, stepped back, away from her. None dared speak, or to rush forward to defend the honour of their Lord’s mushy peas.
‘How dare you impugn the quality of my mushy peas!’ The Chip Master cried. ‘Leave my shop forthwith!’ He lifted his serving scoop in warning. ‘And take your filthy curs with you.’
Doris Drizzleborn stood for a moment, trying not to show the bitter taste of defeat that filled her mouth. She stared back impassive. Her war poodles tensed on their leashes, ready to strike. The rest of the queue moved back, out of range of the deadly dog breath.
There was silence.
Doris Drizzleborn eyed the Chip Master’s hand as he reached for the vinegar. She knew only too well – from the tragedy that had taken her brother – what too much vinegar on her chips could do.
‘Come,’ she ordered her battle poodles. She turned on her heel and left the shop. In the doorway, Doris Drizzleborn turned and faced the Chip Master. ‘One day Mighty Bert I will return with an army and we will eat every chip in your shop. You will be on your knees begging for us to leave you a few battered scraps.’
Then she and her war poodles were gone.