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by Charlie Hill

Last night there was a fight between two groups of Johnnie Bodens down the Dog and Duck. They’d been drinking craft beer and estate-bottled rioja in the corner of the pub. At first they’d got on, indulging in consensual bonhomie about Black Lives Matter and Vladimir Putin, the refugee crisis and membership of the EU. Then someone mentioned umami and the atmosphere turned. Before long there were disagreements about salting aubergines and griddle pans and egg foo yung; when someone raised de-veining prawns, flush-cheeked acrimony slipped into visceral anger. No-one is sure what the catalyst for the violence was — it might have been oxtail, it might have been nam pla, most likely it was cobblers — but within minutes the pub was rent with the sound of breaking glass, with tribal cries of “cap-o-nata!” and the chilling response “Sous vide! Sous vide! Sous vide!”

Charlie Hill is the author of two novels and a small handful of poems. His short stories have featured in a number of anthologies and have been widely published in print and online.