A tale of a late night take-away

Posted on November 11, 2010


Based on my experience last night, London’s filthy take-away shops are a massively untapped source of amusement.

Image obtained from printscreen of Google maps.

“I knew this guy who really loved his comics, he was always asking me to go to comic stores and conventions with him. I used to get bored with the way he would always be talking about his favourite comic book hero.

He invited me around to his house once. His room was stacked top to bottom with comics, you couldn’t see the wall for all the comics everywhere. I thought to myself – this guy has has issues”

This was but one of the repertoire of jokes delivered by an unassuming 6’4″ early 30’s man displaying a childish grin as he tucked into a morsel of fried anorexic chicken.

The episode began 20 minutes earlier when two good humoured but loutish 20-somethings became embroiled with a man who was begging for a pound.

The shop owner insisted that they should not give him anything – advice that was ignored. Apparently used to contract negotiations; the lout attached a clause to the one pound investment – it could only be spent on a portion of chips and not ‘on smack’ as he put it.

This did not settle very well. After some negotiations and a call to a Hong Kong stock company they haggled over equity and approached the fast-food shop’s counter.

The beggar abruptly changed his mind and demanded a full chicken meal – when this was denied he changed demeanour from poor and frail  to an aggressive and abusive monster.

The deal was cancelled and he was swiftly shoved out the door.

Impeccable timing meant the 6’4″ leather clad jokester mentioned earlier entered the shop, with his friend, colliding with the beggar as he left. “What’s his problem?” they asked. The louts succinctly summed up the preceding altercation – and so forming a rapport.

We all discussed our evenings, pleasantly passing time as we joyfully devoured our unsavoury food.

Conversation unexpectedly turned onto comic books through the joker’s direct question: “Do you like comics?” The source of which soon became obvious – he and his friend were both wearing rings apparently connected to The Green Lantern. (I have no idea either)

My answer was “No, not really – but they aren’t as good as the rings in Captain Planet.”

This jolted a reaction from the original begger-dealing duo – who uttered a single sentence which I will never forget:

“Cartoon or real life Captain Planet – What About it?”

Quite apart from wondering what he meant by a real life Captain Planet, this line delivered by a man wearing a leather bomber jacket covered in chicken grease – almost sent me flying off my chair. He was a bit dumbstruck by my reaction and added:

“What? You just don’t hear much about Captain Planet these days.”

Some time later…

I regained some composure before joker began his pun set-list. After a short while I couldn’t take it any more – said my goodbye’s and walked out thinking ‘I should definitely spend more time in chicken shops.’

In the sober light of day, this seems less of a fantastic career or health move – but it is worth keeping in mind.

Please add any of your own experiences in the comments box!

Posted in: The Odd Box