Small Plays About My Day

… tiny true dramas in a Charing Cross Road bookshop

Syria

Posted on | August 9, 2010 | 1 Comment

SCENE 1: THE TILL DESK. NEIL IS READING A BOOK ON WAR. EMILY IS STARING INTO SPACE. ENTER TANNED MAN.

Tanned man: Excuse me, do you you have any books on Syria?
Neil: Possibly, there’s a section on the Middle East downstairs.

Curtain.

SCENE 2: SOME TIME LATER. THE TOILET DOWNSTAIRS. EMILY IS ENGAGED.

FX: knock at the toilet door.

Frantic action. Beat. Emily opens the door.
Emily: (Flustered) Hello, yes?
Tanned man: Excuse me, do you have any books on Syria?
Emily:

Curtain.

Kempt

Posted on | August 6, 2010 | 2 Comments

Cadaverous regular customer: Got any ideas about ambulances?
Emily: Ambulances?
Cadaverous regular customer: Where’s that one from then?
Emily: I’m not sure.
Cadaverous regular customer: Ambulare. Latin.  To walk. Because they used to walk to hospital.
Emily: Ah, of course.
Cadaverous regular customer: And what about kempt?
Emily: Kent?
Cadaverous regular customer: Kempt. It’s from the Saxon.
Emily: Is it?
Cadaverous regular customer: You can be unkempt but why can’t you be kempt?
Emily: Good point.
Cadaverous regular customer: You’re looking very kempt today.
Emily: Thank you.

Trousers

Posted on | July 31, 2010 | 1 Comment

Emily: That’s forty five pounds, please.
Croaky-voiced man: Do you mind if I lift my shirt up?
Emily: Well…
Croaky-voiced man: I’ve got a money belt on. I wear it for security these days.
Emily: It’s a good idea.
Croaky-voiced man:I was trying a coat on once, and I walked off to see how it looked in the mirror.
Emily: Right.
Croaky-voiced man: When I got back my coat had gone. With all my money in it. I panicked.
Emily: Well, you would.
Croaky-voiced man: Went home, called the police, but then Marks and Spencer phoned. They had it in lost property.
Emily: Oh good.
Croaky-voiced man: I’d rather lose my trousers than my coat, do you know what I mean?
Emily: I do.

Cough

Posted on | July 30, 2010 | 1 Comment

Girl with ponytail: Do you have books on Africa? (Coughs) Excuse me.
Emily: Yes, we have…
Girl with ponytail: (Coughs) Sorry.
Emily: …a section …
Girl with ponytail: It’s the dust. (Coughs)
Emily: A section here.
Girl with ponytail: No, I mean books on (coughs) teak tables.
Emily: Pardon?
Girl with ponytail: (Coughs) Tea table books?
Emily: I…
Girl with ponytail: Like these. (Points to book)
Emily: You mean coffee table books?
Girl with ponytail: (Coughs)

Transylvanian Ephemera

Posted on | July 28, 2010 | 1 Comment

Man with wild beard enters shop.
Man with wild beard: There was a book in the window yesterday on Transylvanian Ephemera. Has it sold?
Emily: If it’s not in the window now, I’m afraid it probably has.
Man with wild beard: (Frantically) It’s not in the window?
Emily: I thought you couldn’t see it in the window.
Man with wild beard: I haven’t looked.
Exit Emily.
Pause.
Enter Emily
Emily: It’s still in the window.
Man with wild beard: Ah, good.

Books to Gold

Posted on | July 11, 2010 | No Comments

Small Italian girl: Excuse me, a friend tell me one time there is a shop on this street where you can change books to gold.
Emily: Um ….you mean swap books? For money?
Small Italian girl: Yes, swap books.
Zoë: There’s a place in Soho where you can swap books for other books.
Small Italian girl: Yes, swap books for other books. Where is that please?

Shut Up, Peggy

Posted on | July 1, 2010 | No Comments

American man in sun visor: Help, help, help, help, help.
Emily: Hi.
American man in sun visor: I’m looking for a book.
Zoë: OK, which one?
American man in sun visor: The Memoirs of Field Marshall Kesselring
Zoë: I’ll just have a look on the catalogue for you. How do you spell that?
American man in sun visor: K – E – S – S – L  – R – I – N – G.
Zoë: Nothing’s coming up…
Enter blonde woman with map.
Blonde woman with map: (Loudly) He’s missed out the E.
American man in sun visor: I have not.
Blonde woman with map: You always do.
American man in sun visor: I do not. K – E – S – S – L – R – I – N – G.
Blonde woman with map: There’s another E in there! K – E – S – S – E – L – R – I – N – G.
American man in sun visor: I said that. K – E – S – S – L –
Blonde woman with map: There!
American man in sun visor: Shut up, Peggy.

You can learn something

Posted on | June 25, 2010 | No Comments

Weighty man: Can I see that book in the window called Male Oral Love?
Walter: Sure. (Gets out book.)
Weighty man: I’m not a homosexual.
Emily: No?
Weighty man: It just looks fascinating.
Walter: Yes.
Weighty man: You can learn something from anything, can’t you?
Emily: You can.

Gay Sadist

Posted on | June 22, 2010 | 1 Comment

Man in shorts: If you want to buy a book, this is the place to come.
Wide blonde woman: I do want a book. Where’s H?
Man in shorts: Bloody hell. In between G and I.
Wide blonde woman: I want Georgette Heyer.
Man in shorts: Well she’s here.
Wide blonde woman: Got that one. Got that one. Got that one.
Man in shorts: Bloody hell.
Wide blonde woman: What’s this?
Squat man in shorts: That’s not fiction.
Wide blonde woman: Gay Sadist.
Mann in shorts: Bloody hell.
Wide blonde woman: I’ve never seen anything like this.
Man in shorts: Has it got pictures?
Wide blonde woman: No.
Man in shorts: Bloody hell.

Jersey

Posted on | June 20, 2010 | No Comments

Emily: Have you seen a hardback called ‘Old Jersey Houses’.
Jan: Yes, it’s here.
Emily: Wasn’t Jersey … what’s the word?
Jan: Bergerac?
Emily: Occupied.
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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