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500 Gins

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“It’s fucking freezing Rox, and we could be kidnapping a penguin”

Eggsy realised early on that, though he had had an idea that the upper class were different, had experienced and shown up their bigotry and prejudice (fuck you very much Chester King), when broadening his friendship with Roxy, establishing all the cultural touchstones that two people of a similar age should have… Well, they’d noticed a gap. Stuff from late teens and early twenties (when Roxy was at boarding school and had more tv and internet access) was broadly similar, but the earlier they went, the more different they got.

Roxy’s family had never really got a reliable signal in their country pile so all Roxy’s childhood viewing was passed down via VHS tapes. “The Flumps, Eggsy, you must have seen that? With Grandpa Flump and his Flumpet?” “Roxy, I’ve talked to people on drugs who haven’t described shit as weird as that” and Eggsy had had satellite his whole life and a baby sister and was honest enough to admit that his natural response to “what time is it?” was “it’s time for lunch, line up everybody, line up line up…. What?? Bubble Guppies! It’s awesome!”

But somehow they’d both seen Pingu.

Eggsy thought it was strange that so many of Rox’s choices for their excursions frequently involved large amounts of alcohol. In the general run of things neither of them drank that much, but when they did Roxy had definite opinions and didn’t at all have a perfectionist streak a mile wide.
If it was lager then it was off to Munich “What do you mean you haven’t been to a Bierkeller? I think we can be just in time for Oktoberfest.”

Or it was obscure Welsh whiskeys “they commissioned scientists to create a whole new kind of still!” “But we had to go to Wales, Rox. Wales.”

Or something Eggsy was convinced was lethal “I know absinthe’s legal now Rox, but I watched Moulin Rouge and I ain’t ready to see no Green Fairy”

Or unique “my cousin brews this herself in her own microbrewery and she sent me a barrel” “Lancelot’s Libation? Fucking hell Rox, you’ve got your own beer!”

This particular field trip had got a bit extra even for them though. “500 hundred varieties Eggsy. Five zero zero!” Not of beer. Not of wine. Of Gin

Sipping and tasting had started out so well at the travelling Gin Fair Roxy had heard about in some mysterious fashion (she called it the Old Girls’ Network and as far as Eggsy could tell it had the reach of the C.I.A. and far more reliable intel). Then, while trying a particularly purple sloe gin, Rox had accidentally downed half before adding any kind of mixer and developed a fit of giggles so contagious Eggsy had done exactly the same.

Now it was 4 a.m., they’d somehow made it from Clerkenwell to the Serpentine and Roxy was trying to convince Eggsy that if they just stayed still they’d spot a Womble.

Eggsy argued for a late night visit to London Zoo, so they could free Pingu.

Roxy asserted it was her night (which was true), they were nearly at Hyde Park (which could’ve been true, alcohol fucked Eggsy’s sense of direction right up) and then started going on about Wombles (which really confused Eggsy, as Wimbledon played at Selhurst Park and didn’t even exist anymore) at which Roxy gave him a stern look and said “of course they exist, but they don’t play football and they moved to Hyde Park” and then finally explained what the hell a womble was.
Eggsy had been obscurely relieved that the Great Uncle Bulgaria Rox had mentioned on previous occasions was a fictional character who read The Times and not a founding member of the Kingsmen (who, to be fair, had probably also read The Times).

The gin they’d smuggled out was starting to run out now (Eggsy liked to keep his skills up and Roxy was a quick study) and, though it was summer, London in the very early morning could still get a little nippy. They sat close on a bench overlooking the lake, sharing warmth and the bottle as the sun rose.

“A penguin, Rox, our own penguin”

“Fine! I was speaking to Fenty, she’s got a vineyard in South Africa, we haven’t really done red wine yet and there’s a beach where we can see penguins. Just give my liver a week to recover…”