"Sméagol won’t grub for roots and carrotses and – taters. What’s taters, precious, eh, what’s taters?”
“Po – ta – toes,” said Sam. “The Gaffer’s delight, and rare good ballast for an empty belly[...]if you turn over a new leaf, and keep it turned, I’ll cook you some taters one of these days. I will: fried fish and chips served by S. Gamgee. You couldn’t say no to that.”
“Yes, yes we could. Spoiling nice fish, scorching it. Give me fish now, and keep nassty chips!”
“Oh, you’re hopeless,” said Sam. “Go to sleep!”
('Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit', The Two Towers, JRR Tolkien)
Sméagol slunk away from the camp, seeds and twigs digging into his hands as he crawled.
“Go to sleep”...nassty rude hobbit...we doesn’t likes it, oh no, precious, won’t do as it tells us. Spoiling sweet young rabbitses we saved for Master...nice Master, looks after poor starving Sméagol...yes, precious, we likes Master, but not the other one, oh no! Burns nice fishes it does, stupid fat hobbit, and fries ta-ters to make its nassty chipses! We doesn’t want chipses, does we, precious, no...what would Sméagol want with chipses?
Something prodded at his memory, a tendril of speech from long ago, and he stopped and sat on his haunches.
“Out of the kitchen, Sméagol! I don’t want you splashed with the fat...”
A smell, too, he remembered, savoury and comforting, and a soft powdery texture as he bit in. It had been too hot; he had burned his tongue and spat out his mouthful into his lap.
“Sméagol! Go and change your clothes this instant – those britches will need washing at once, or the grease will never come out...”
Cross with us, precious, yes, they were always cross with us! Always cross with poor Sméagol...we won’t think about them, no...
He had not remembered anything from the old days in a very long time. It unsettled him. He moved no further, pondering.
Master doesn’t get cross with us. Master likes Sméagol, yes precious, he does. Master doesn’t make us eat taters, or nasty fried fish.
At this thought, another image slid into his mind. He remembered slipping down from the table, his lap spattered with a mess of spittle and potato and grease, and casting a last regretful look at his plate. On it had sat half a steaming fish, its flesh tender and slippery and flaky and white, its skin coated in a crisp golden batter, still glistening with the fat from the frying pan.
“Fried fish and chips...you couldn’t say no to that...”
Yes, we could, precious, oh yes, we could say no...we would say no, wouldn’t take food from the nassty fat hobbit...but maybe, precious, one day...fried fishes...
Suddenly he caught the whiff of rabbit on the air once again, warm and full of life. He tensed. He imagined tearing into the succulent red flesh. He could almost feel fur catching between his teeth, taste the bitter beautiful blood as it flowed from the broken body, hear the gentle but distinct crack of delicate white bones as he bent the neck in half...his belly groaned and he began to slaver.
Thoughts of fried fish forgotten, Sméagol set off in pursuit of a real meal.
Written during a revision break; two of my flatmates had fish and chips for tea and it put me in mind of this scene. Warning for mild gore.
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