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Rush Hour
Crush Tales:


4 minutes

TO the strawberry-haired gal at Ridley Road Market. We both wanted the same fish and I gave it up for you. You were the catch of my day. Drink?
—ICT Gavin

“Why do you think it’s always the same place?”

“I can’t say.”

“I can wait while you think of an answer.”

“I know what you’re doing.”

“I am not doing anything.”





“Let me put it another way. Why do you think it’s the only place you feel comfortable striking up conversations with women?”

“It’s not only with women.”

“It’s almost exclusively women.”

“That’s not the same as only.”

“Answer the question.”



“Puns. I get too flustered trying to think of something to say. There are too many possibilities. There’s general things and specific things and serious things and lighthearted things. There’s chat-up lines and playing it cool and being nice and being aloof and being kind and being funny and being cool. Too many”

“Why can’t you just be yourself? Be friendly.”

“I am not sure I am that friendly really.”

“What’s the link to puns?”

“When you’re at the fishmonger’s there are loads of good puns you can use to break the ice.”

“Very droll.”

“That one wasn’t even deliberate. But it proves my point. Fishmonger puns are easy.”

“Give me some examples.”

“Of potential ones or ones I have used?”

“Let’s say ones you have used.”

“Just for the halibut. You can use that one instead of just for the hell of it.”


“Then you’ve got your basic ones. Your plaice or mine. Prawn again. Cod only knows what I am saying. You can beef that one up. Cod only roes..”

“Do they ever work?”

“More than you might think. The more complicated ones are riskier because they often draw a blank. But if you land one, then you’re really in there.”

“Give me an example of a complicated one.”

“Turbot charged. Mullet over. Dab-hand.”

“They don’t seem that complex.”

“You’d be surprised. A lot of people, even at fishmonger’s, have an oddly narrow fish knowledge.”

“I am afraid your hour’s up.”

“That’s ok. Do you think we are making progress?”

“I don’t know. But Gavin listen, stay away from fishmonger’s for a bit. Until our next session. I think you need a bit of a break. What are you doing now?”

“I’ll just go to the market and then straight home.”



Rob Alderson is an Amsterdam-based writer and Managing Editor for

Published on July 31, 2016.