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For earlier Chapters and an explanation of this dreadful story, see blog: The Cardiff Grandma. WARNING: This novel contains fake Welsh.
In the previous episode, the name “Pinesniffer” is fit into the story when newlyweds run over a car park attendant. Now, we return to Wolfcastle at Wong’s kebab joint for some carefully constructed one-liners...
The Cardiff Grandma Chapter 15
The young man behind the counter was still reeling from the earlier question, which was making him dizzy. He stared at multiple Wolfcastles. “How do you all know about Wong?” the young man angrily demanded.
All of the Wolfcastles were tired and hungry. They didn’t have time for such long-winded questions. By now the man behind the counter had pulled himself together again but he was still on edge despite being caught off balance.
“Maybe I am an old friend of Wong’s?” said Wolfcastle calmly plucking a thin plastic drinking tube from the receptacle on the counter and tossing it aside as if to punctuate his point.
The young man glared at him. Partly in disbelief, mainly in the once white, now stained overall that passed as a uniform in this place.
“Maybe we have known each other for 26 years?” Wolfcastle continued, dispatching another drinking tube the same way.
The glaring turned to gawping. It was a suspicious gawp. An angry gawp.
“Maybe I saved Wong’s life during the Monroevian uprising back in ’92?” Wolfcastle paused. The gawping man facing him began to glower. Wolfcastle continued to pause some more and flung further cylindrical oral fluid ingestion tubes onto the filthy tiled floor.
“Or maybe…”, he commenced, only to pause again and then continue. “Maybe I can read?” he concluded as he glanced over at the large chalk covered blackboard advertising ‘Wong’s Midnight Menu’ and threw the sole remaining tube back over his right shoulder,
That was the final straw.
The young man took offence at the last jibe. He didn’t know how Wolfcastle knew about his cognitive difficulties, but he wasn’t going to take that from anyone.
“I can read two!” yelled the young man. And then back to his earlier line of verbal aggression.
“What do you want down here mister? This is no place for you!” wasn’t the welcome Wolfcastle had expected… but it was the one he got.
Things were getting heated - and not just the unspecified things of uncertain origin under the grill or in the fryers. Wolfcastle didn’t want a big scene when a microscopic one would have sufficed, but the young guy was being unreasonably aggressive. Having innocently ambled into the pie shop in all innocence Wolfcastle had somehow walked himself into the middle of a stand off. Wolfcastle couldn’t stand stand-off’s. He hadn’t come for a fight either - but if a fight was coming for him he was planning to prepare to be ready for it. The tension between the two men was rising. Each was now locked in a staring contest and refusing to yield or blink.
Wolfcastle was busy eying his new surroundings for a weapon (not easy when you are also locked in a stare-down) – the options weren’t good: just how much damage could one man do with a three pronged plastic fork? Maybe they’d get to find out any second now? Suddenly, a loud ‘ping’ came from the direction of the large microwave in the corner of the room. The Ping was both loud and large. Standing almost over 6 feet tall and weighing in at a weight disproportionate to his stature this was not someone to be trifled with. And now there were two of them glaring at Wolfcastle.
When Wolfcastle entered the pie shop mere chapters ago, the first young man, soon to be revealed as being called Tong Li, had turned ugly. He didn’t think it could get worse but Ping was clearly streets ahead in the ugly stakes. To Wolfcastle there seemed little doubt that the figure had fallen out of the ugly tree, hitting every branch on the way down, then, it appeared, he’d been soundly beaten with the ugly stick by his undoubtedly ugly father for being so stupid as to go climbing the ugly tree in the first place.
Despite the arrival of the new arrival neither of the other men flinched (very much). The young man, known as Tong Li, began once more, “You don’t belong here! You must go now!” He snapped again. This was getting tiresome.
“Look what you made him do!” contributed Ping stepping over the pieces of his colleague that now lay splintered on the tiled floor.
Wolfcastle was about to retort when he caught sight of a figure out of the corner of his eye. Alerted by Wolfcastle’s reaction, Ping looked to his right. In an instant the atmosphere in the shop changed.
“Easy Ping. Be calm. And close that door, it’s gotten cold in here all of a sudden.” From behind the saloon style swinging doors that lead to the kitchens an old Chinese man appeared. “This”, he began, motioning to Wolfcastle,”…this is an old acquaintance of mine, Mr Wolf.”
The fiery Ping stepped back from the stand off and bowed his head. “So sorry boss. Sorry Mister Wolf. I didn’t know. I am very sorry.”
The aged figure continued, “That’s OK Ping. Do not worry yourself with this now. Please continue attending to the pies, and maybe you should check the southern fried Alevuts? Oh and clean up Tong Li will you, don’t want the customers seeing that do we.” Turning back to Wolfcastle, “And now… Welcome my old companion, welcome to my shop, my place of business, my home.”
Wong ushered Wolfcastle over to the kitchen and as they passed through the doorway, placed his frail old arm around Wolfcastle’s shoulder. As they disappeared into the rear of the shop, leaving the saloon doors swinging behind them, Wong spoke again.
“Now tell me my good friend, what brings you here at this time?”
But Wolfcastle was thinking about Wong entering the rear room, saloon doors swinging shut behind him…the odd quirk reminded him of someone, but who?