Albert was just cutting his fish into small, bite size pieces for the dog when the door was flung open and in came a great gust of wind, along with a woman dressed in red tea dress, red high heels and red lip stick. Her greying brunette hair was in curls that were coming apart in miniature strands and her wide hazel eyes shot about the room, fixing on Albert with a raised eyebrow.
“So you’re here, then?” She asked, her voice higher pitched than normal.
Albert glanced between his packet of chips and Mrs Bromley. His face colouring, he looked down at his hands.
“Hello, Mrs Bromley.”
“Hello, Albert. It’s not a Friday.”
“I’ve got your lunch ready. I made pie.” Her voice was raised to the crisp accent of an old BBC news reader, her head tipped upwards just slightly.
Albert nodded towards the dog, “He fancied chips.”
Mrs Bromley stooped slightly, hands flattened on her thighs, to look beneath the table at the black Labrador. He looked back at her with interested eyes, tongue lolling with the scent of the freshly vinegared chips above his nose.
“Well hello there.” Smiled Mrs Bromley. “Didn’t you fancy a slice of my corned beef pie…what’s his name?” She looked at Alfred who shrugged and continued cutting up the dinner.
“You don’t know?” She demanded.
Albert shrugged, “He hasn’t deigned to tell me his name yet.”
“Well where did he come from?”
“Hasn’t told me that either.”
“But…you haven’t got a dog.”
Albert shrugged, “turned up in the night. Seems quite taken with me.”
“Huh, I bet someone’s looking for him, handsome dog like that.”
“I’ve asked around, no ones missing a black Labrador.”
Albert nodded and handed a chip to the dog who took it gratefully, leaving a trail of slobber on Alberts hand. He sighed and wiped his hands on his trousers.
“Well you’ll have to give him a name.”
“Cause he’s got to have a name.”
“Ok, Dog. There you go.”
Mrs Bromley shook her head vigorously so that her curls danced in a most fetching way. Albert watched her with a frown, as did the dog.
“He has to have a proper name.”
“Why? I’m not keeping him.”
The dog glanced at him, ears dropping backwards.
“What about Sandy?”
“But you found him by the sea.”
“No. Not Sandy.”
“Well, what then?”
“I don’t know but he’s a boy, needs a manly name. Fine dog like that.”
Mrs Bromley smirked, “You’re getting attached Albert Brown.”
“I am not.”
“Might do you good…”
“Anyway. A name. What about…George?”
The dogs head popped to one side and his tail thudded on the tiles of the chip shop floor which were dappled with sand and bits of mud dragged on by the lunchtime clientele.
“See he likes it.”
“That’s not a dogs name.” Grumbled Albert.
“And we are yet to hear a suggestion from you, Mr Brown.”
Albert sighed and looked between the dog and his old friend.
“Good enough for a prince I suppose.” He huffed.
“And he is rather princely.” Smiled Mrs Bromley, cooing at the dog and receiving a disapproving glare from Albert.
“Don’t be making him big headed.”
George looked at him, panting slightly with impatience, Albert put a few chips down on the floor for his new friend to devour. They were gone instantly. Mrs Bromley smiled at them both and Albert shuffled uncomfortably under her gaze.
“Well I’m going to do my puzzles now.”
“Yes.” He nodded, eyes down.
George placed a slobbery chin upon Alberts knee and he could feel his trousers soaking through but pretended not to notice.
Mrs Bromley hovered and then went to the door, she looked back and called, “I’ll have a cake ready for when you’re both done.”
Albert did not point out that she did not allow dogs in her cafe, instead he filled in the first word and passed George another chip.