Children of the Pies

Children of the Corn

It’s reached that time. You know you only have a short window in which to make your move but they’re there lined up in front of you. Decisions have been made but they’re the only ones standing in your way.

Dressed from head to toe in black, they look at you vacantly. A vacuous innocence that would be endearing were they not preventing you from sustenance.

You move forward and the closer you get the younger they look. Then one of the children speaks.

‘What do you want’.

‘Hot chocolate, a coffee and a Double Decker please.’

The Children of the Pies just glare at you as you wait.

Half-time, it used to be so much easier. Underneath the stands the little refreshment kiosks were a hive of activity. Little old ladies wearing scarves, covered in pin badges, who made chit chat with you as they served you with a Bovril and a sausage roll. It was a joy to grab a cuppa at half time even when you were losing because you could get everything you wanted to warm the cockles for under £2.

Not any more, the old ladies have been replaced by catering companies who staff the kiosks with 16 year olds who have never been raised with the art of social interaction. It would be better for them if you ordered a Balti pie via Twitter and they didn’t have to speak to you at all.

The queue certainly doesn’t go down as quickly and there have been times I’ve missed the kick off of the second half. When you reach the front of the queue you find out why.

What do you want’.

‘Hot chocolate, a coffee and a Double Decker please.’

Three of them look at you, black baseball caps perched on the top of their heads like an N-Dubz tribute band.

‘So that’s two hot chocolates and a Bovril?’

‘Er no a Hot chocolate, a coffee and a Double Decker.’

‘Oh yeah, I forgot.’ The Child of the Pies giggles and looks at the other two who don’t appear to be serving any other customers. So technically you’re being served by all three of them.  It begins to creep you out a little.

They start to complete the order. It’s then that you realise that the two lingering around the only one who speaks are probably too young to use the hot water equipment under health and safety regulations. Whilst you ponder on what their function actually is your order is finished.

In front of you is a one hot chocolate and a Double Decker.

‘£3.60.’ The only one who speaks says.

‘Excuse me where’s the coffee?’

The only one who speaks looks between the other two and mild panic ensues. The queue behind you getting ever longer.

A coffee is slowly served with some random use of a extra cup of hot water being poured into coffee cup at the same time as the hot water machine.

Finally you have what you ordered.

‘£5.60.’

You give them a tenner and get £2.20 back in change. The urge to eradicate these children of the pies gets stronger.

Finally you teach them how to add up, even with the use of calculator and flee the scene.  Leaving these children to torment the next in line.

As you walk up the steps into the daylight, the terror disapates into the stand.  You’re free, at least for another match.

…until you realise you’ve forgotten the sugar.

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