He stood tall and proud, surveying his kingdom. From there he could see his entire fish and chip shop from the counter to the doorway. Everything was gleaming clean, the chrome fittings shone like brightest silver and the tiled floor, still damp from mopping, reflected the sun shining in through the window. He was lord of his chip shop and everything was good.
Quitting the sanctuary of his place behind the counter, Bert strode over to the window. He looked out on the High Street before him. There were pizza takeaways, Chinese takeaways and Indian takeaways out there as well as two other fish and chips shops. All were potential threats to his realm and his place on the throne as King of the takeaways. Bert knew though that he, nor anyone else, could ever rest easy on that throne. There was always someone else out there waiting, wanting, scheming and planning to bring down the king so they instead could sit on that throne and dominate the High Street.
It had changed though in Bert’s lifetime. In his father’s day, when he sat on the throne, the takeaway realm was small indeed, just two fish and chip shops on the High Street and a host of other shops from a cobblers to a ladies’ hairstylist or two. All of them were gone now, even the supermarket and the ironmonger. All that remained were the takeaways, the charity shops and a betting office.
His kingdom was ravaged, war-torn. Still, though, the invaders came. There was talk of a Thai place opening soon, another one with free delivery. Bert turned from his window wondering if the days of the fish and chip shop were over. His own son ran an internet business these days and his hirelings wanted him to install a kebab machine.
Bert looked up at the sky above what was once a Woolworths shop. ‘Winter is coming,’ he said and turned back to care for his realm.