Fresh fish get slapped.

Friday’s outing included lunch at Montano’s, our favorite restaurant in Roanoke. We’ve eaten there every month or two for years. We recognize most of the waitstaff, and they us, and they always know Peter will order a Guinness.

The other day, our waitress was new to us. They no longer have Guinness on tap, so she brought him three choices of bottled Guinness — Draught, Black Lager, and Original. “What do I have?” he asked. I ordered  the Draught. Peter studied the menu as if he’d never seen it. I’d already decided to have the special — fresh cod tacos.

“Ready to order, Sir?” the waitress asked as she came by a third time.

He looked at her with a mischievous glint in his eyes. I cringed. “I’ll have the ‘chis and fips,'” he said.

“I’m sorry?” She glanced at me and leaned closer to him.

Peter chuckled. “Fish and chips, I’ll have fish and chips,” he said. An apology was embedded in my weak smile. She winked.

“I’ve got to stop doing that,” he said.

“Yeah, yeah, that’ll be a cold day in hell.”

“But it’s warm today, I left my jacket in the car.”

“Mm-m,” I said.

When our food was delivered, he looked at my plate. “What’s that?” he asked.

“Fresh cod tacos. They’re really good. Want a bite?”

“Do I like that?”

“You’ve never had a cod taco. Neither have I, but…yum,” I said, trying to tempt him.

“Is the fish fresh?”

“Any fresher and I’d slap it,” I said.

Took him a few seconds to get my little joke, but he finally laughed. I confess, I didn’t come up with the line. I saw it on a shop in London’s Borough Market years ago.

He never did try my taco, but I didn’t give him another chance either.

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Borough Market sushi shop, London, April 22, 2006

Header photo: Atlantic Cod, Saipal/Flickr (CCBY 2.0)

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist. 

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