Title: Too Far
Summary: Kurt takes his girlfriend and his less adventurous friends out for sushi – with a twist planned for the evening

“I’m not sure about this,” Clair said, fiddling with her locket.

Kurt smiled winningly at her. “It’ll be fine.”

Clair eyed him with distrust. Justin slid one arm around her.

“I won’t let you eat any squid,” he promised. “And I still say it was all the tequila that was to blame, not the squid.”

Roxanne smiled. Her earrings were mauve, as were her fingernails and her scarf and her shoes. It made Kurt uneasy for a reason he’d never been to articulate. It wasn’t the mauve; it was the obsession with colour coordination that made his skin crawl. “You’ve never had sushi before?”

Clair shook her head.

“I love it,” Roxanne said. It was one more reason that she wasn’t really a good fit for their group. Too experimental, by half. Kurt certainly had his moments, but Justin and Clair were more conservative when it came to food and social activities. It made it easier; he could share the blame.

“Ikizukuri,” Clair said out of nowhere. “Prepared alive. Do they do that here?”

Kurt bit his lip. Clair always researched things before she indulged in them. She was the only person he knew who actually read the manual before trying to use a new device. She was unknowingly bringing up the very subject he had in mind.

“I’m fairly certain there are laws about that,” Justin assured Clair. “Though I don’t whether it would be a matter for the RSPCA or the Environmental Health.”

“Eating raw fish was risky when there wasn’t proper refrigeration,” Clair said, determined to share the fruits of her reading. “Fish served so fresh it was still moving was a sign that it was safe.”

“Before refrigeration,” Roxanne mused, sipping her saké. “That’s a long time ago.”

“Yes. Now you have to be careful in some places,” Clair said. “To keep live fish you need big aquariums, and they get overstocked with fish, so they put antibiotics in the water to make sure disease doesn’t spread from the overcrowding.”

Justin sighed. “We’re in London,” he said reasonably. “I’d think the Food Standards Agency have very strict rules about that.”

“I’ve had shrimp that’s still wiggling,” Roxanne said. “They’re not really still alive though. Oysters are eaten alive, though.”

Justin sat back in his chair. “Guy in accountants spent some time in Japan,” he said. “He was telling us how his friend took him to this really nice restaurant. They brought out this platter and there was this live fish on the plate; mouth still opening and closing. It was covered in these leaves, with sushi on top of them.”

Clair had paled. She took a long swig of her beer. Justin paid her no attention. Roxanne looked interested. Kurt fumbled in his gym bag while everyone was distracted.

“So one of the people starts feeding some of the sushi to the fish,” Justin said. “Only after a bit he realises that the fish isn’t only still alive, but it’s been filleted, right, and the sushi they’re eating is bits of the fish. So they’re feeding the fish to itself.”

“That’s disgusting,” said Clair.

Justin shrugged. “I didn’t do it,” he said in his own defence.

“That’s worse than anything I read about.”

Roxanne frowned. “That is pretty messed up,” she agreed.

Kurt pulled the plastic bag out triumphantly. “I’m bored of waiting,” he said. “I brought my own.”

The three watched in horror as he grabbed the tiny orange fish from the bag and swallowed it, though it flicked around between his lips a moment.

“Kurt!” shrieked Clair. Other patrons were looking at them now.

Roxanne stood. “I…I’ve got to go,” she said. “You’re too much, Kurt. You always go too far.”

She walked out of the restaurant.

“You ate a live goldfish?” Clair asked, clutching the beer bottle tightly.

“No,” Kurt said. “It was a bit of carrot. Honest. I just thought it would be a good way to break with Roxanne.”

Justin sighed. “Drink up, we ought to leave,” he said. “Before the police show up. Honestly, Kurt, you can’t just tell a girl it’s over? Always has to be some charade.”

Kurt shrugged. “No take backs this way,” he said brightly. “Besides, it’s more fun.”

“Too far,” Clair muttered, pulling on her coat. “Roxanne was right about that. You always go too far. This’ll be somewhere else we can’t come back to.”

“Oh, come on,” Kurt said, getting to his feet. “You didn’t want to eat sushi anyway.”

Clair sighed. He had a point.

Why do people eat live fish in the East; Clair’s info about freshness and the merits/disadvantages thereof were from this site (no longer available)

Pardon me, waiter, but there’s a live shrimp on my plate General info on serving live food here, including the fact that oysters are alive

The disturbing story about the live fish being fed bits of itself was from backpackforever (no longer available)

The RSPCA is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the most well known animal charity in England and Wales. They are not a legislative organisation, but will bring private prosecutions against individuals committing acts of cruelty, and work closely with the police in their day to day work.

The Environmental Health Department is usually part of a Local Authority, and oversees issues like food safety, public health, and pollution at a local level, e.g.

The Food Standards Agency on the other hand is an independent Government department to protect the public’s health and consumer interests in relation to food on a national level. It provides advice and information to the public and Government on food safety and protects consumers through effective food enforcement and monitoring.

Originally posted elsewhere for the 30 days of fiction meme prompt #12 write a scene at a sushi bar; someone suggested I tackle this one with the extra challenge of ‘but some of the fish should be ALIVE’. Re-posted for the prompt “That One Friend”, and posted to my fiction blog

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