First, a bit from draft 2:
James F.X. “Nuts” Adams sat on the pier waiting for the eel trawler to come in from the river. He drummed his fingers on the weather-worn wood. It hadn’t been varnished in a while. The splinter under his fingernail could attest to that. He’d just have to go ahead and add ‘re-varnish the pier’ to the chore list back at the eelhouse.
The eelhouse sat up on the hill behind him. EEL PIE ISLAND EEL PIE Co., read the old company sign. (Great granddad must have really strained himself, coming up with that name.) Like the pier, the sign was in dire need of re-varnishing. The whole building was. For that matter, so was everything else in London that had survived the Blitz. It wasn’t quite like that over on the Continent. Mom and dad liked to blame the weather for this, though what a bunch of clouds could have to do with it was beyond Nuts. He preferred to chalk it up to some sort of original sin unique to the English.
It smelled like woodsmoke and eels, inside the eelhouse. Frozen eel, dried eel, eel guts that could probably have been taken out back a little while ago. Empty fish tanks, about half of them shattered, adorned the walls. Eel pies baked in the wood-fired ovens. Nuts, Kate, and Blake sat by a hearth. They were wrapped in blankets and had their hands out to the glowing coals. Kate was still wringing out her hair and drinking brandy. Blake was coughing up river water and Nuts was shivering. Every so often, Kate would add a sentence or two to her story.
The front room of the eelhouse wasn’t a dining room, not quite. It had tables and chairs, yeah, but also a cash register and some supplies hidden poorly under sackcloth. The Co. wasn’t exactly a tourist attraction, but they got visitors from time to time, and it was nice to have a little place for them to sit. A small rack of pamphlets graced the wall by the door and a corkboard with assorted pictures hung from another.
Nuts and Cornelius and Kate sat at one of the tables. They had a little radio plugged in on the next table over. There was an eel pie, one of the big ones, steaming at the table with the radio, and Nuts and Cornelius had slices on plates in front of them. Kate said she wasn’t hungry.
Second, a friend of mine did some drawings!
Here they are, with and without some Instagram filters.