He Died With A Falafel In His Hand
I am standing in a snaking queue around the back of a market stall on Whitecross Street and the wait is agonising.
Truly, truly agonising.
I turn a corner. It's another ten minutes of shuffle, shuffle, stop, shuffle, shuffle, stop.
The aroma drives me insane, my saliva glands go into overdrive and my stomach emits a low growl.
I turn another corner and I am almost there, the end is nearly in sight.
Subconsciously, I nudge up to the person in front of me, eager to to get a glimpse of the delights in store. This gets mistaken as a pass. Or worse, a case of frottaging, judging by the frown on the besuited gent.
Stepping back, ashamed and abashed, I keep my head head down and focus on my feet.
But the smell keeps dragging me on. Shuffle, shuffle. Shuffle, shuffle.
Finally, after an age, I hear the question:
"Regular or large?"
"Large," I answer.
"With everything on it?"
By then it's too much and I spit back with a manic glare. "I don't care for the bloody aubergine, just give me the damn falafel, now!"
Eye's widen, glances are exchanged.
And then suddenly, everything springs into life. Tongs move back and forth, dipping in and out of trays, working swiftly, smashing crisp brown patties down, piling the other ingredients up. With a wrap and a twist and a tap tap, the package is handed over.
I snatch at it, hand some money over and scuttle off like a wizened goblin, giggling gleefully, spitefully.
Fortune Street Park. That's as far as I get and into a bush I run.
The paper gets ripped open, greedily I take bite after bite, without pausing for breath. Incisors tear into the chickpea and cumin. Molars grind the pickles. Tahini and chilli sauce dribbles down my chin.
It's gone in seconds, so I clean up with paper towel and slowly emerge out of the topiary, into the light of day and saunter back to the office. Sated but feeling oh so slightly disgusted with myself.
I love you Hoxton Beach Falafel.
But sometimes the wait is too long. Too, too long.