Small Plays About My Day

… tiny true dramas in a Charing Cross Road bookshop

On Leave

Posted on | July 6, 2011 | 1 Comment

There haven’t been any Small Plays recently because I’m currently on maternity leave from the bookshop. In the meantime, you can read all the older plays below, or why not have a look at my 3-month old baby Arthur recreating scenes from classic movies at my new blog.

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Machines

Posted on | June 3, 2011 | No Comments

Wild grey-haired man: It says here Mechanics and Machines, but a machine could be anything.
Emily: Yes?
Wild grey-haired man: A screwdriver is a machine.
Emily: I suppose so.
Wild grey-haired man: It’s about exerting a force. Like words. People use them but they don’t know what they mean.
Emily: That’s one way of looking at it.
Wild grey-haired man: They’re easy once you know how, machines.

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Starting a Family

Posted on | January 8, 2011 | 3 Comments

Man with grey beard: Those two please, and I’ll take a bag, if you’d be so kind.
Emily: OK, no problem.
Man with grey beard: Good girl. Oh, hello. Hold on.
(Emily looks quizzical.)
Man with grey beard: Starting a family, are we?
Emily: Yes, we are.
Man with grey beard: Babies, eh? Getting one in before it’s too late, is it?
Emily: That’s right.
Man with grey beard: Getting in before World War Three.
Emily: I suppose so.
Man with grey beard: Toss up which’ll go first, isn’t it. The Euro or the internet.
Emily: Is it?
Man with grey beard: Use the internet, do you?
Emily: I do.
Man with grey beard: (Edging towards door) You want to be careful.
Emily: Oh yes?
Man with grey beard: (From doorway) I was working in a bank on the millenium. Using paper ledgers.
Emily: Were they?
Man with grey beard: (From outside, through door) Scared, that’s what they were. You watch it. Get one in before it’s too late. Good girl.
(Exit)

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Conjurer

Posted on | December 14, 2010 | 1 Comment

Worried man in hat: I’ll take this one, please.
Emily: That’s £7.50.
Worried man in hat: (Searching pockets) Oh no, hold on.
(Pause)
Worried man in hat: (Finding wallet) Here it is. Good.
Emily: Momentary panic?
Worried man in hat: I was sitting next to a conjurer on the tube.
Emily: Really?
Worried man in hat: I’m not sure if he planted something on me.
Emily: Oh dear.
Worried man in hat: He kept patting me, you see, like this.
Emily: That sounds ominous.
Worried man in hat: Yes. I think he might have deposited a tea bag in my pocket.

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Horse Wind

Posted on | December 4, 2010 | 2 Comments

Japanese Girl: Excuse me, novel?
Emily: Novels? Yes, downstairs, the second room.
Japanese Girl: You have novel, I don’t know name in English. Horse?
Emily: Horse?
Japanese Girl: Horse.
Emily: Um…
Japanese Girl: I don’t know word …  hill? Wind? Wind Hill.
Emily: Wuthering Heights?
Japanese Girl: No. Horse? Wind.
Emily: I’m sorry, I can’t think what it could be.
Japanese Girl: Horse?
Emily: No.
Japanese Girl: Thank you.

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Lapsed

Posted on | November 28, 2010 | 1 Comment

Man in fur hat: Do you have a copy of the Rituale Romanum?
Emily: I’m not sure … what is that exactly?
Man in fur hat: They use it for exorcisms and house clearances.
Neil: Have you got a ghost?
Man in fur hat: Well, yes, we have.
Emily: Gosh.
Man in fur hat: I’m a Catholic, see. Well, lapsed. But this book has been scientifically tested, and it works for anyone.
Emily: That’s good.
Man in fur hat: Don’t laugh about it, because it works. If you’ve got a copy, hold onto it. You never know.
Emily: We haven’t got a copy, I’m sorry.
Man in fur hat: You’re sure you’re not tucking one away?
Emily: I’m sure.
Man in fur hat: Oh well.
Neil: Good luck with the ghost.

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Great Beaver

Posted on | November 21, 2010 | 3 Comments

Man in In Fringed Leather Jacket: Do you have any books on Native Americans?
Neil: I don’t think we have anything at the moment, sorry.
Man in In Fringed Leather Jacket: That’s a shame. It’s my specialist subject.
Neil: Oh yes?
Man in In Fringed Leather Jacket: I’ve got hundreds of books on them.
Neil: Have you been over there much?
Man in In Fringed Leather Jacket: Never been. But I know a few Native Americans.
Emily: Do you?
Man in In Fringed Leather Jacket: Well, there was one chap worked as a plumber with my brother. Called himself Great Beaver.
Emily: Right.
Man in In Fringed Leather Jacket: He was Italian though. Just wanted to nick parts for himself.
Neil: Oh.
Man in In Fringed Leather Jacket: Some people just want to be something, don’t they?

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Definition of Fiction

Posted on | November 4, 2010 | No Comments

Small Australian lady: Do you have The Silent Miaow by Paul Gallico?
Emily: I’m not sure … you could have a look in the  fiction section downstairs.
Tall Australian man: It might be in the children’s section. It’s about a cat.
Emily: I’m pretty sure we don’t have it in the children’s section … is it a novel?
Tall Australian man: It’s not really a novel…
Emily: But it’s fictional?
Tall Australian man: It’s not really fictional, no.
Small Australian lady: It is fiction. It’s written by the cat.

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Hares

Posted on | August 18, 2010 | 2 Comments

Miniature old lady: You have a book on hares in the window.
Emily: We do – I’ll get it for you.
Miniature old lady: I’m so happy. Hares are really my thing.
Emily: It’s a nice book.
Miniature old lady: Last time I was here I bought two books on badgers.
Emily: Yes, I remember.
Miniature old lady: The time before that it was a book on foxes.
Emily: We don’t get many books on hares.
Miniature old lady: If you ever get another, please put it in the window so I will see.
Emily: I will do.
Miniature old lady: You see, it’s hares that are really my thing.

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Cows

Posted on | August 12, 2010 | 3 Comments

Man with strong New Zealand accent: Do you have any cow books?
Emily: Sorry?
Man with strong New Zealand accent: Old cow books?
Emily: You mean … like the animal?
Wife with stronger accent: (loudly) Books about COWS.
Emily: I…
Man with strong New Zealand accent: Cows. Austin cows and Ford cows. Motor cows.
Emily: Oh! There’s a motor cow section downstairs.

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  • "In a town like London there are always plenty of not quite certifiable lunatics walking the streets, and they tend to gravitate towards bookshops, because a bookshop is one of the few places where you can hang about for a long time without spending any money."
    George Orwell

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