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Thursday 27 December 2012

Dear John

Our very good friend, poet/cartoonist and tea and biscuit advisor, John Curtis, mailed us with the following. Some of it isn't true!

Cotswold Bookstore.  I feel that someone should write a heart-felt appreciation of a decade of dedicated bookmanship at C.B.S....But I couldn't be arsed and so I'm writing this instead.
Tony, David and Nina came into my life two or three years ago - 'breaking and entering' is probably nearer the mark - and much tea, coffee and bickies has flowed under the dental bridge since then. To begin at the beginning; Tony and David worked together before they took over the bookshop but seeing a golden opportunity they threw up their jobs at Septimus Lackwind's horse-meat emporium and took over the ailing business in Moreton in 2002. The book shop had been experiencing financial problems for some time....largely because Tony and David, who ran a thriving local protection racket on the side, had driven the proprietors to the brink of seizing their chance they bought out the owners - Well, I SAY "bought out" - and enjoyed many years of success.
David was the tidy one, some said 'annually retentive',that is to say he kept most things for a year, he was a dab hand with the vaccuum cleaner and a scourge of rubber bands, paper clips and all the detritus of shop life. His aversion to 'mess' often led to the disappointment of customers who had ordered books as he tended to shred all paperwork in a deranged blitz on 'disorderliness'. David had returned to this country from South Africa where he had worked in the advertising industry and he brought with him his experience in africa. Unfortunately, that experience was a traumatic one involving a large mooli and an enraged Colobus monkey, which when combined with David's unorthodox taste in 1930's retro wide-legged tropical shorts led to a painful and embarrassing disaster in down-town Durban from which he never really recovered. So much for experience !
Tony, by contrast, was the bright, busy one, greeting customers with a fixed and glassy gaze and the engaging grin of the classic psychopath. He was always a 'Goons' fan and a great lover - or so I have been reliably informed by several ladies of a certain profes.....age - of the works of the sainted J.R.R.Tolkein and the history of Middle-earth. This, combined with an artfully concealed tendency to homicidal rage when crossed, DID lead to several unfortunate incidents in the shop. The one seared forever into my memory concerned the unsuspecting customer who chanced to opine that "Hobbits were hairy-footed lay-abouts who needed to get a proper job and not batten on the hard-working, honest tax-payer for their baccy, birthday parties and fireworks...."
To this day I don't know how such a small man as Tony managed to overpower a 6' 6" retired mud-wrestler and insert several volumes of 'Bradshaw's Guide' (The annotated version) into an orifice designed by a merciful creator for nothing more wieldy than a proctologist's forefinger......I can only put it down to strength of character......and total insanity, of course.
Nina joined the business some years after and immediately brought something exotic into the atmosphere of the shop....It was a large anaconda called Fifi which had been part of Nina's act in her younger days.....Nina joined the company after tiring of her position at Madam Osiris' House of Joy (an olympic gymnast of the soviet era would have tired of THAT position in five minutes) and she took to the book trade like a duck to concrete. Emanating an indefinable aura of eroticism and chocolate eclairs, Nina brought a certain professionalism to the shop - the training at Madam Osiris' will do that for a gal - and she soon exercised iron control over the till, which until then Tony had looked upon as a magic piano to which he could turn whenever the shop was short of cakes or biscuits, She insisted on I.O.U's.....which Tony pointed out was simply an anagram of 'Oui' which means 'Yes' in any language....Well, only French, really Tony.... Nina was the only one who could snap David out of his states of catatonic shock whenever he was faced with a decision, or two people talking to him at the same time. She was also a dab hand with the Tarot cards - inventing a variation on the art which she termed "Strip Tarot" -  She'd have the shirt off your back before you could say "What do you mean 'The Well-hung Man' I thought it was called 'The Hanged Man'....." and I wasn't even AWARE that you COULD lose money at Tarot. Nina also dabbled in horoscopes or 'horrorscopes' as we called them. She once informed me that my water-carrier was in conjunction with my Aries.....I itched for a week.
Still, you could always say this of Nina...she always had a cheery word - although it wasn't a word I could put in  print without fear of prosecution - and so it saddens me that I must now write 'finis' on our connections, particularly as it takes weeks for the ink to wear off so lets hear it for the Moreton Three :- Hip, Replacement hip, Replacement hip, Hooray !!! *
* Nina's hips are in first rate condition due to certain secret and mysterious eastern practises. The other two.....Well, who can say ?
John s, Curtis
Nina pass on to David and Tony. It's another small gift to my friends. On second thoughts don't put it on the shop blog as their are a lot of humourless buffoons out there who wouldn't know a joke if it bit them in the arse.
Love John.   
Version: 2012.0.2221 / Virus Database: 2637/5482 - Release Date: 12/23/12

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