(1940-02-19) Butcher in the Chippy
Details for Butcher in the Chippy
Summary: Marius takes a trek to Waterloo, to stop in for some fish and chips after meeting Katie.
Date: 19 February 1940
Location: Hind's Fish and Chips, Waterloo

It's been a busy day at Hind's Fish & Chips, but as the five o'clock hour nears things are starting to slow down, as they typically do. A few stragglers usually come in the last hour, but most of the evening trade is people getting take away and few linger for long. There are a few soldiers in the chippy at present, getting some meals to take back to the barracks for their compatriots, and Katie exchanges good natured stories with them of their families and sweethearts. She gets the last of the bundles wrapped and tucked away into a box to make it easier for them to carry it all, and passes it over the counter. "Alright then, lads, try not t'eat it all on th'way back, I don't want t'be hearin' next week how we shorted someone chips because yeh ate it on th'way." Sure, there are chip shops closer to the barracks, but Hind's has developed a reputation as being 'soldier friendly'. Katie gives the boys in uniform a last wave as they step out, before she turns her attention to wiping down the counter. Task done, she takes up a book that'd be set aside, but even though she becomes quickly engrossed in the story, she's still got an eye on the door and an ear out for the ding of the chime when it opens to let the next customer inside.

With the end of the workday, the butcher at the Market's been relieved and he finds it's time for a meal. He scrounges up a few of the pounds he'd been saving up and makes his way over to Hind's. It's not difficult to get directions, since most people asked know exactly where the shop is located. He trudges through the snow to make it to the pleasant-looking shop. The chime on the door rings as he makes his way through sheepishly, not looking to make waves or to make anyone do any actual work on his part. He looks around for a place to sit.

The bell barely has time to sound it's ding before Katie is putting her book aside and standing up fully, absently brushing her hands over her apron to straighten it as she looks to the door. Her smile broadens as she recognizes the face, and she beckons the new guest in with her hands. "Mister Butcher," she says, a fair hand at remembering names and faces. "Come in, come in, take yer coat off an' let the heat get at yeh. It's a beastly day out there, innit?" The shop is clean, although there is a bit of a puddle by the door that hasn't been mopped up yet, and all three tables are empty.

Marius does his best to stomp his feet at the door, so as to not bring any more of the outside in with him and make more of a mess. He nods as he makes his way to a table, removing his jacket. "Good afternoon, miss hind." He says politely as he's greeted. His clothes underneath are modest, and mostly layered to keep himself warm. Fashion is not exactly his forte. He keeps on his fingerless gloves and pulls up his seat to the table, a slight blush. "Forgive me, I was expecting it to be busier. I didn't wish to have you work on my account."

Behind the counter, Katie is moving even as Marius finds his place to sit, filling a cup from a kettle that is kept warm and always filled with a nice Earl Grey. "Nonsense," she says lightly, coming around and crossing to put the steaming cup down before the young man. "Time goes s'much faster when there's someone t'pass it with." Basic tea things are already on the table, and just about anything special that can be thought of to be requested can be produced from the kitchen. The chalkboard by the counter lists the fresh fish of the day to be cod or haddock, and the desserts are chocolate sponge and bread pudding.

Marius nods and smiles awkwardly. "That's true." He says, not much one to argue or to give more information than necessary. "I'll have the haddock and chips, please." He asks, as he fixes his tea with very little, preferring it mostly Black. he looks over. "The wind seems to be more forgivable to your appearance today."

Katie laughs at the observation even as she's stepping back toward the pass-through window to the kitchen. "Only I've not had t'be out in it t'day, else I'm sure I'd look every bit as ruffled as yeh do." It's a friendly tease in return, before she leans and calls to the back, "Haddock an' chips, Da." The reply is a muffled but somewhat gruff sounding, "Aye, Bug." The typical call and reply of father and daughter. She doesn't stay behind the counter, instead coming out to lean on the next table over from where Marius sits, to pass the time with conversation if he seems inclined. "Busy day at th'market then?" she asks. The rationing has only just started to touch things more than petrol, with restrictions already put on bacon, butter and sugar just after the first of the year, and surely more to follow.

Marius grins at the jibe and watches her as she places the order. He nods and shrugs when she asks him about business. "It's fair. Due to the rationing, we're the ones getting the brunt of the ire from the customer for not having things in stock. The only issue is that they won't find it anywhere else either. We just need to grin and bear it." He says. "I hope your place won't be affected overly much. We should always have fish around." he grins.

There's a sympathetic look for the plight of all the butchers in Britain who are going through the same growing pains as Marius right now. "I suppose we're lucky Da went in th'fish game," she observes. "So far he says there's no talk of rationin' restaurants, even though the price of fish is already creepin' up a bit. But, can yeh blame 'em? Out tryin' t' support a family catchin' fish, an' who knows what's under the waters yer in these days." There's a light press of Katie's lips as she pauses, then a soft sigh. "Still, it surely can't be a long war." She's been optimistic from the first, got moreso when the expected bombs didn't fall on London, and now she's blissfully sure that it's just a matter of weeks.

Marius shrugs. "That's true. Can't exactly sell a U-boat if you bring it to shore." He smiles and nods, watching the redhead as she speaks, catching her mannerisms. "I do hope it ends soon. The only reason it's taken this long is because the reich seems to be picking on the weaker countries. Once that changes, those bullies will change their tune." He grins, before taking a sip of the tea.

As Marius is talking there's a rattle of metal from the kitchen, then the connecting door pushes open and a young man of roughly 15 pushes through, into the dining room. He's wheeling a mop bucket, using the mop itself to steer it, and when he looks up to see someone seated at a table his eyes go to Katie, brows raising questioningly. The boy gets her warm smile, a quick nod of her head, and as she speaks to him her hands move in accompaniment. "If yeh swipe with th'mop, love, that's good enough for now." The young man nods, not speaking himself, and moves to the task with a guarded, perhaps even suspicious look at Marius. Katie's attention returns to the butcher, and she fills in, "That's our Jack, my brother. Most of our brilliant shine is due t'him," she says with a grin as the boy starts mopping.

Marius smiles and nods as he watches the boy come out. "So it truly is a family business then. Interesting. Is this all that you do? I'd figure you for a book type." Since he saw the book she was reading. "I was curious if you were going to the college. Perhaps bookkeeping or something, to help for when you take the business over?" He assumes, because that seems to be how things are done these days. "Thankfully, all I have to do is chop up animals and keep them clean. I don't need to handle the money."

"It is," Katie confirms. "Mum and Da handle the kitchen. Jack helps a bit everywhere, an' I make sure everyone is well fed an' happy." Jack seems to ignore them entirely as he gets to cleaning the melted snow from the floor. "I've not taken any courses beyond gettin' my certificate," she says, apparently assuming Marius to be as familiar with the British school system as anyone else in her world. "But I'm a fair hand with numbers. An' it'll be Jack, one day, that takes over here." It's still pretty expected that the girl will get married and the boy will take over the business from the father these days, and Katie doesn't seem inclined to question that system. She waves off what Marius says with a flick of her fingers. "Psht, only we know there's an art t'what yeh do, as well as there is t'anything an' everything. Put most people alongside a bit of a cow an' they'd not know the first thing t'do with it."

Marius nods and shrugs, not quite knowing why she couldn't take over, but at least in the society he'd been brought up in originally, women were powerful as well. He nods. "I see. Your folks plan on making you a formidable wife, then." He grins, taking another sip of tea. When Katie speaks of butchering, he shrugs. "I'd been apprenticed to it for quite some time before i was allowed to wield the blade myself. If ye put most people alongside a cow, most people would become instant vegetarians." He smiles.

Although he's doing his work, Jack watches his sister and the stranger from the corner of his eye. Katie doesn't seem to think anything of it as she chats with Marius, grinning, "Well, if that's the way things are t'go, then it's the way. Our Jack would keep me on, so I've no worries." There's a clatter again as Jack pushes the mop back into the bucket, his quick job done, and he raps his knuckles on a table to get Katie's attention. When she looks over he makes a quick gesture with his hands that ends with one hand, index finger extended, jabbing a point at Marius. Again, when she talks to her brother, her hands move as well. "Jack, this is Marius," she says, fingers moving quickly to sign the six letters of the man's name individually. "He's a butcher, over th'Borough Market." The boy looks unimpressed, signing again at his sister, not looking at the other man but intently at her. Katie's eyes roll lightly, her response, "He's come for a meal, that's what."

And speaking of the meal, a bell rings from the kitchen. Katie steps over to take her brother's arm lightly, pulling him and the bucket away toward the kitchen door. She propels him lightly toward it as she veers behind the counter to collect the fish and chips for Marius. Jack doesn't attempt to linger, but he does give Marius one more look before he lets the kitchen door swing shut. Katie brings the meal, golden brown and smelling delicious, over to the table and sets it down for Marius. "Pay no mind t'our Jack," she says lightly, smiling again. "He doesn't take well t'strangers at first." As with things for tea, there are things to doctor fish and chips on the tables, most prominent being vinegar and salt.

Marius smiles over to Jack and waves, hands up defensively. "I mean no harm to you and yours and I've no designs on your lovely sister. I'm just a simple butcher here for a meal's all." When she ushers the boy away, he grins as she returns. "I bet he's a fair beater with that mop handle if your suitors become to rowdy. Good on him for keeping an eye out." He smiles, no need to alter or doctor the meal in any way as he grabs a few chips, offering some to the girl, though obviously she could have whatever she wanted, he just tries to be polite. "Mm.. Quite good. Now I'm regretting not coming by sooner. Clara seems to be an influence in getting me out in to the city more."

Katie laughs softly, declining the offer of chips with a simple hand held up. "He's a little terror, that one, but he means well. We've always been protective of each other," she explains lightly. She assumes Jack will report to Gavin, but he does that of anyone under the age of 80 that has a kind word for Katie these days, it seems. He's well dedicated to 'his squad' of servicemen. With the hour growing later and no one beating down the door, Katie actually sits, although still at the next table to not crowd Marius. "Well, now yer here, an' hope yeh will be again. Is Clara yer sweetheart then? She's seems a lovely lass." It's still near enough to Valentine's Day that the chippy bird's thoughts are lingering on romance.

Marius nods. "It's nice to see a family protect each other. Seems to be a new concept." he says, oddly. He blushes when she asks of Clara. "Shes… I don't know. But she's not mine. She's a dear friend and I'd give up anything for her, only she doesn't seem to feel the same. Also she's always around that au…" He clears his throat. "She's always around Graham. He's more her class. Either way, it is what it is." He says, becoming quiet and eating more, using that as an excuse.

Katie can pick up a hint of disappointment at the way things are, and she well understands that. Even in her limited experience she's learned that matters of the heart are sometimes not exactly what we want. But that something even better might be waiting around the next corner. "Sometimes I think that dear friends are the better part of the bargain," she notes. "An' look at yeh, a fine man an' well set in butchering. It'll be a lucky one that finds her way into yer heart." While a lot of people might seem to just be saying the words, there's a sincerity about Katie, and an optimism that isn't always easy to find in these troubled times. It might be noted that, as a default, mushy peas were also added to the young man's order, and Katie goes on to ask, "Have yeh thought about afters? Mum's chocolate sponge is brilliant."

Marius shrugs. "True enough. I'm not regretting anything that's gone on." Well, except for Clara getting hurt recently, but only a few know that. "She's still young. I wouldn't want to saddle her with me, as fine a catch as you seem to think I am." he grins, near finishing his meal. He shakes his head at the offer of cake. "Oh no, this is plenty. I haven't eaten this well in quite some time." He smiles.

Katie's brows go up, lightly incredulous, "Saddled with yeh? Cor, we'll have no more of talk like that here." Granted, she doesn't know the family history, or about the world he came from in the least, but she's a little Katie Sunshine. She pops up suddenly, hurrying to fetch the kettle and bringing it back to top off the cup for Marius. "Have a bit of a warmer, then, an' no rushin' t'get back outside, it'll play up yer digestion, th' cold will." She'll leave him for a few minutes to finish up, disappearing into the kitchen. A murmur of voices comes out, but low enough so that nothing can really be made out, except three different voices. When Katie emerges again a few minutes later, she's carrying a small brown bag, which she sets onto the counter. "Was everythin' alright then?"

Marius finishes the tea and stands, reaching for his wallet. He smiles as she returns out, paying no mind to the bag. "It was beyond perfect, thank you. What does the bill come to?" He asks.

Katie gets the money part settled with Marius in short order, the meal likely less than he'd expected at just a few shillings. Before he leaves she scoops up the paper sack and pushes it into his hands. "A bit of a sweet for tea later. An' Mum's chocolate sponge always guarantees, yeh'll be back."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License