Andy lives in a flat above Strouden Plaice - the chip shop on Castle Lane. Garry and I are jealous, as if by dint of his location he has to eat fish and chips daily by mandate.
“Nah, we hardly ever eat there.”
“But what about the smell?” Garry says, taking the words out of my mouth. “It must be glorious.” His eyes glaze over.
“You get used to it. Anyway, Mum always keeps the windows shut.” Garry and I shrug.
“We’re still getting chips today though, yeah?” I say, rubbing my stomach theatrically. “I’m starving.”
It’s the third week of summer holiday. Most days, the three of us bike to our respective homes at lunchtime for a cheese and pickle sandwich and a packet of crisps. But every now and again the stars align and we find we’re all flush with lunch cash. And when that happens, the chip shop under Andy’s flat is our everything-fried-gloriously-soggy-golden-brown Shangri-La.
“I’m starving too,” Garry agrees. “Hey, they do hamburgers now, right?”
“Yeah,” Andrew says, waving his hand dismissively. “But they’re crap. What you want is a saveloy.”
“What’s a saveloy?” Garry asks.
“It’s a kind of sausage and they fry it like fish. Dad says they were made of pork brains in the olden days, but they’re made of proper meat now. Bloody amazing.” Andy feigns a sudden rapture of pleasure, but I’m not convinced - not sure Garry is either. Still, I’m not scared. I ate a whole plate of my Grandma’s cauliflower cheese last week - I can handle a greasy chip-shop sausage of questionable provenance.
“Let’s go then.”
A few minutes later the three of us are standing outside Strouden Plaice with our chip bags in hand. Andy reaches in and pulls out his saveloy - a golden, fat-flecked knob of battered mystery meat that I will, many years from now, recognize as one of the most objectively unhealthy things I’ve ever eaten. “Ready?” he says with a grin.
Garry and I pull out our own sausages. “On three then,” I say.
“One…” says Garry.
“Two…” says Andy.
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