Hugh Says…The Night I Met An American Jelly Baby

Jelly Babies

The Night I Met An American Jelly Baby

I love how the American and British forms of the English language can be so different. Take the night I met an American Jelly Baby. How did I know he was an American Jelly Baby? Because he spoke to me in an American accent, that’s why.

There I was in the chip shop, minding my own business, ordering my fish and chips (not fish and fries, because the chips we get here in the UK are the thick variety, not skinny like you get when ordering a hamburger at a drive-thru), and he taps me on the shoulder and asks

“Is this the way to the freeway?”

I’d no idea what he was talking about.

“Do you want an Earl Grey tea with that, or something cold?” the assistant behind the counter asked me.

“Can’t stand Earl Grey,” I said. “Besides, who wants a cup of it with their British fish and thick cut chips? Doesn’t Earl Grey tea come from China? Or is it India?” The assistant just raised her shoulders, not really knowing what to say, and off she went to get my order of fish and chips.

“Umm, the freeway?” I heard the American Jelly Baby ask me again. “I need to get there, sir, for the holidays, and I’ve left Mrs Jelly Baby and the Jelly children in the Jelly automobile on the first floor below us.” I looked at him in that way you look at somebody when they say something strange to you.

“We’re on the first floor. Don’t you mean the ground floor, the one below us?” I ask.

“No, sir, I mean the first floor. This is the second floor, isn’t it?” I shook my head and then remembered an embarrassing moment I had on my last trip back to the States. 

“So that’s why it took me three and half hours to find a packet of Reese’s Big Peanut Butter Cups in Bloomingdale’s” I declared. “They told me I’d find them on the second floor, and up I went to spend all that time in the Ladies Petit department! I’ll tell you this much. I got some very odd looks. Why don’t you guys have ground floors in the States, they are, after all, on the ground!”

As the Jelly Baby shook his head, somebody asked the assistant if they could have fried chicken. She shook her head. “We don’t eat that here in the UK, we grill it now. It’s far healthier. If you want the fried variety then head down to that fast food place on the ground floor. I think it’s called Tuckey Fried Chicken or something like that.” The customer put on his cowboy hat, got on his horse, and left. I wondered how he’d got a horse up on the first floor.

“Horses are only allowed on the ground floor,” I heard somebody shout out.

“I’m an American cowboy. What’s the ground floor?” he shouted back.

“Ah” I announced, “you mean the motorway; you know, the road for motor vehicles…the motor…way? You probably call it the freeway because we don’t charge to drive on them. Yeah?”

By now, the American Jelly Baby was getting rather confused with what I was saying and produced a packet of French chocolate digestive biscuits.

“I’ll give you these cookies…I mean biscuits, if you tell me how to get to the freeway, sir. They’re biscuits because they are from our trip to France and are crisp and snap when broken, unlike cookies which are soft and squishy.” Your ‘Mary Berry’ taught me that.

“Deal!” I shout, and I ask the assistant for a cup of Yorkshire tea. “We can dunk those French biscuits into our British Yorkshire tea after our fish and thick cut chip meal”. The assistant took no notice of me. Instead, she seemed to be engrossed in her ‘Fifty Shades of American Grey’ paint chart.

I told Mr American Jelly Baby the route to the motorway and wished him a Merry Christmas.

“Thanks” he shouts back “Oh, and it makes far more sense to me, driving on the left hand side of the road when you guys have so many roundabouts which you go clockwise around; the same as a clock and watch goes…clockwise! We don’t have many roundabouts in the States. We have those four-way stops that don’t really keep the traffic moving. I guess we haven’t figured that one out yet. Happy holidays.” With that, he disappeared shouting out that he hoped we didn’t mind that Piers Morgan was not coming back. Piers who? I wondered.

“I’m not going on holiday. Are you?” the assistant asked me as she wrapped my fish and chips in her Fifty Shades of Grey paint chart.

“I never go away at Christmas,” I replied.

At that point I was woken by my alarm clock.

“Thanks to Hugh for doing his first “Hugh Says…” post – check out his awesome blog!”

HUGH’S VIEWS & NEWS – A Man with Dyslexia writing about this and that and everything else!

30 thoughts on “Hugh Says…The Night I Met An American Jelly Baby

  1. This was my Inaugural introduction to your short story style, Hugh. It was funny and amusing. I am afraid being raised by a mother with two immigrant parents as well as a Dad who was almost an orphan, my childhood does have a mish mash of learning. I always call ground level floors by their proper name of ground level. If you go below ground level it’s a basement. If you are on an elevator you must say First floor for ground level but may say basement and get below ground level. I am not sure if I am speaking the same language and/or this is not the same as over on your side of the Pond! (?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I love how the common English language can mean different things depending on where it is being spoken. Here in the UK, the ground floor of a building is called the ground floor (not the first floor) and below it is the basement. Sometimes we’ll have a sub-basement if there are two floors below the ground floor. 😀
      My short stories can sometimes be completely wild. It’s all about what is going on in my head at the time. 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the whimsy of this story Hugh. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a dream or what because, well, because it’s a story by Hugh Roberts! I loved it! You never disappoint. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It reminds me of the challenge you did a couple of years ago where you gave people a topic and they just had to write for 3 minutes or so off the top of their head. That was awesome. You should do that again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hugh, you never disappoint. I think this is nearly one of my all-time favourites of yours. It just felt right – that little bit of disjointed time between thinking and speaking is exactly how it is. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hmmm… we’ll with US English, you have the suspenders / pants debate and the whole fanny pack issue which always amuse me. I quite like the use of faucet – I always remember it as a squeaky tap…. you know, so you have to force it to get the water out 😉


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