“Would you like that boiled or fried sir?” she asked in her pretty Irish accent.
“Both.” he said, in his dull Birmingham tone.
“I’m sorry,” she apologised, “Do you mean one boiled and one fried?”
“No. I mean one egg boiled and fried at the same time.” he replied.
Sir Ian Poshman of Sutton Coldfield didn’t frequent cafetoriums very often, so the concept a cook not being able to produce whatever concoction of food took his fancy at any given time was absurd to him to say the least. From his coat pocket he produced a pen and drew a diagram on the counter to better describe what he was asking.
“I understand what you are asking Derek,” she said. The staff at Little John’s had been told that they must always use the customer’s name and if they didn’t know it then to make one up. She thought Sir Ian looked a bit like Derek Jacobi and so she used this name. In truth, Sir Ian looked more like a bald, 6ft Elton John.
“I understand what you are asking Derek,” she repeated, “But we simply cannot make that happen. It is not possible.”
“Then find someone who can do it!” he ordered.
And so it was that Eleanor Bubblebath found herself on a 3 day trip across the West Midlands in search of a man, woman or cyborg that could both boil and fry an egg at the same time. She searched high and low. Up and down. Here, there and indeed everywhere. Eventually, whilst taking a break from her quest in a pub near Digbeth, she met a man. His name was Dirk Poshman (no relation) and as he strutted his way up to the bar, Eleanor knew he was the one she’d been looking for. Dirk threw the barman a £10 note and threw Eleanor a smile.
“Whatever she’s having.” he said in a rough, tough and buff voice.
The barman handed him a packet of prawn cocktail crisps. Dirk smirked.
“I like your style bab.” he said.
“Tell me,” she asked, “Do you like eggs?”
Dirk thought for a moment about what was being asked of him. He felt certain that there was some deeper message hidden in the context of the question, possibly to do with sexual intercourse.
“Sure do.” he said, “Why d’you ask?”
But before he could get a reply, Eleanor threw the sack over Dirk Poshman and dragged him out of the pub and into the back of her car.
There was no noise from Dirk. Onlookers might think that he enjoyed this little escapade. He no doubt thought it was leading to something much more promising. He thought that this girl was a bit crazy but her car had comfortable leather seats. He kept quiet for the duration of the journey, occasionally tapping his feet to the Queen songs playing on the car stereo.
When the sack was lifted off, Dirk found himself in a dimly lit room that smelled faintly of tobacco. He got a little excited, but his excitement was short lived, as two men entered the room. Both men were wearing suits as dark as the walls, with leather gloves on that were ideal for concealing fingerprints. One of the men took one of his gloves off and slapped Dirk across the face.
He spoke, but it was a language that Dirk was not familiar with. Fortunately, the other man did understand and kindly translated in his obscure accent.
“My brother says you are a hard man to find.” he said.
“Wh… why was he looking for me?” asked Dirk, his voice now a nervous quiver.
The man spoke nonsense again.
“He says you owe him money.” his brother translated.”
“That’s not true,” pleaded Dirk, “I’ve never borrowed a penny in my life. I have no debts to anyone.”
This time the brother spoke of his own accord.
“You lie!” he shouted, “Where is the money Ian?”
“What?” asked Dirk.
“Do not play games Ian. You owe us £30,000.” the English speaking brother answered.
“No, no, you’ve got it all wrong. I’m not Ian, I’m Dirk. Dirk Poshman.” he said.
“Oh.” he said. He turned to his brother and explained in the other language. The brother replied and the man was quick to apologise.
“I am sorry Mr Poshman. It appears we have the wrong man. We are looking for a Mr Ian Poshman… you don’t know him do you?” he asked.
“No. Sorry.” Dirk replied.
After another round of apologies, Dirk was freed and dropped off back at the pub in Digbeth. When Dirk told his story to the barman, he was met with some disbelief from fellow drinkers, but the barman himself showed no surprise.
“We get that a fair bit.” he explained, “It’s crazy round here.”
4 weeks later, Eleanor Bubblebath returned to Little John’s, where she found Sir Ian still waiting for his breakfast. She served him an omelette and he cluelessly rejoiced in what he thought was a boiled and fried egg. When Eleanor’s boss saw the effort that she had gone to in making the customer happy and the initiative she had shown in coming up with a solution, she was immediately fired for having thoughts outside her station.
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