12 Sydney St
01273 671 266
by Sebastian Forks
It is Sunday. It is the afternoon. I am with my family. My son is pale. He is grunting. My wife can’t walk. I am hallucinating. We are yet to eat breakfast. We turn into Si Signore. It is almost empty. A man with a large moustache sits in the corner. He is sitting at a table for one.
A waiter approaches. He is wearing waiter clothes. He smiles apologetically. He sits us in the window. It is raining. We read a giant menu. My son wants a full English. I would like one too, but I am being a vegetarian. I order a veggie breakfast. My wife goes for a plain baked potato. I think the time and the menu and the man sitting in the corner have confused my wife. We are meant to be having breakfast.
My veggie breakfast arrives. What is this? There must be some mistake. There is a bowl in the middle of my plate. I look in the bowl. There is some red liquid in it. A light orange lump is floating in the liquid. It is the baked beans. The baked bean bowl is surrounded by a very small fried egg, some mushrooms, two sausages, toast and some broccoli. The sausages are the deep fried bars of vegetable mixture served up to vegetarians in the days when vegetarians didn’t eat proper vegetarian sausages on account of the fact that they reminded them of the sausages they should not eat. I poke one with my knife. A pea pops out. I examine the egg. It can’t be much bigger than a bull’s eye. The broccoli... I have never had broccoli for breakfast. It looks like it has been boiled or fried, and then buried in dried herbs. I take a bite. I am overwhelmed by oregano. I cannot swallow. I look at my wife.
‘Is that broccoli?’ she says.
‘Yes,’ I say.
‘Oh,’ she says, grinning.
My wife’s plain baked potato arrives. It is a bit bigger than my egg. It is surrounded by bits of lettuce. The lettuce is not dressed. It looks like grass. I grin at my wife.
‘It looks like grass,’ I say.
‘Yes,’ she says. ‘How’s the broccoli?’
My wife eats the potato and the lettuce in under a minute. She turns to my son. My son is fine. He does not seem to have noticed his bowl of beans. He has not mentioned the size of his egg. There is no broccoli on his plate. He is piling everything onto a piece of toast. There is blood in his cheeks and he is smiling and beginning to speak in words. My wife asks nicely for a bite of his bacon, and a sausage, and some mushrooms. They smile at each other.
When we finish, the man with the moustache gets up. He is tall and big. He goes behind the counter. He does some calculator stuff on the till. He hands me the bill and asks if everything was to my satisfaction. I look at the bill: £21.60. Yes, I say. I look at my son and my wife. They are grinning at me.