"Is it ready yet?" you bark at the chap behind the counter, "I've been waiting twenty fucking minutes."
This is a lie. I think you had placed your order just before me, and I was only gone two minutes, fetching milk in the Late Nite shop across the road.
"Nearly," says the chipper man, as he stares intently at the pan, willing the fish to cook faster. I sense you were chatty while I wasn't there, too.
You wear a navy suit, not shabby but not half as suave as you might have hoped. It looks massively incongruous in such surroundings on a Sunday night. You are upper middle-aged and middle middle-class. You are old enough and educated enough to know better than to be an asshole to nice fellows working in chip-shops. Your belligerent demeanour makes me assume drink was playing its part, though you were odourless from where I stood.
And, for a moment, I want to smash your fucking face in. To decorate the pristine white tiles on the wall with a smattering of your blood. If only to put manners on you.
Your order arrrives: two fresh sole and two chips, and you pay with a twenty. "I want all my fucking change, now," you growl, your prey fumbling at the till. You get your fucking change, and an astonishingly genuine sounding thank-you.
You turn to leave, and see me for the first time. I must look strange, freshly returned from a festival, spattered with mud and smelling faintly of rum. But your face speaks of only of contempt, not of bemusement. I resist the instinct to move out of your path and I make you walk around me instead. You meet my eyes in a way that makes my blood run cold. And you leave.
My food is ready instantly. As I suspected, it was ready before yours but they dared not give it to me first. I leave a twenty cent tip by way of a sympathy gesture and leave. Looking up the road I see you clunking your way along the pavement towards Camden Street.
And I can't help but wonder as to who's at home, awaiting you and the second sole.