Bill knew Bemuse Trout was a seafood restaurant, but something about that turn of phrase made his brain itch. The tense perhaps, or the idea of a fish grinning that way.
Still, it was a job only a twenty minute cycle ride from his and Sallys’ flat. Plus Bemuse Trouts’s menu was fascinating to work with. The idea was that each dish was based around a pun (Don’t be shellfish, Cod save us all). There were a few dishes Bill never worked on. These were the ones framed on the menu like a pun, but he didn’t understand them. Ones like ‘Where’s the Salmon?’ And 'So, it’s time for trout.’
But he used to work in a place called VHS Noir, which mixed forties glamour with eighties decadence, and it was a lot better than that.
A chef named Anna stood down the other end of the gleaming kitchen. Bill only knew she was called Anna due to the odd person saying her name. Usually she worked alone, cutting, chopping frying. The fish she worked on were almost out of a cartoon, big and red, with long whiskers, and serrated, knife-like fins. Others were squid with thin slits for eyes, and enough wrinkles to cover an old man. They bled blue when she cut them.
She brought them in a wriggling cloth sack with faded ink markings, without out any assistance from delivery men or porters. At the end of the day the scraps were never saved for a stew, but in the sack they went. And sometimes they still moved.
Bill had to know where they came from. He told Sally he was off to the pub, and hid in the shadows outside the restaurant.
He only managed a glance at Anna when she left, that sack hung over her shoulder, when the ground fell out from underneath him, and freezing water replace tarmac. Slippery things wriggled against his leg, and freezing liquid blinded his eyes and burnt his nose.
His fingers clawed straight up, desperate to find anything to latch onto, and banged against unforgiving wood.
Then strong hands grabbed the back of his shirt, and pulled him up into glorious, but still freezing air. Though he was yet to see again, through water blocked eardrums he heard someone say:
'What do we do Grandfather?’