Fried bread bacon-n-eggs bangers’n’beans chips’n’tea twice

When we got to the Egremont Caf, Chris couldn’t resist asking, ’Were you having me on, then?’

’What – about Mary?’

’All that stuff about her waiting naked, behind the door, and then getting you to bring her a crate of gold top, so she could bathe in milk …’

I looked hurt. ’Don’t you believe me, then?! She had me heat twenty pints, and carry it up to her, in the bathroom! Like I told you, she’d got a little old-fashioned tub she could just squeeze into, just for the occasion. Gold-plated it was …’

’Come off it !’

‘… And some sort of special creamy soap, I had to rub her all over with …’

‘What do you take me for ...?!’

But he wanted to believe me.

We went in, and I ordered my usual, then looked at him.

’’Ts on me. For leading you "up the garden path"!’

’And back again!’ he laughed. ’I’ll have the same as you, then …’

‘Fried bread bacon-n-eggs bangers’n’beans chips’n’tea twice,’ Doris yelled out in tbe general direction of the kitchen. ’You go an’ sit yerselfs dahn, luv, ’n I’ll bring it over when it’s done, awlright?’

She always said the same thing; I always had the same slap-up breakfast. It was always a high point of the day, for me.

’Anyway,’ I laughed at him, as I lit a cigarette, and offered him one, which he refused, ’You see what I mean.

’What, about the expectations ... the veil of mist …’

’Part of it is true, too.’


’You don’t have to believe me – you’ll have your own stories to tell, after a few weeks – but there is a round with a certain lady and a certain frosted-glass door … don’t know if any of the other blokes ever knocked – or got invited in, but the honest truth is I never did. Maybe out of spite for whoever wrote tbat scene. So I’ll never know if it was "the usual pornography", or whether there really is a genuine, lonely heart behind that frosted glass, believes she’s authentic, and in good faith, and so on. I’ll never know. And I don’t want to know, either.’