Small Plays About My Day

… tiny true dramas in a Charing Cross Road bookshop

Boys In Jail

Posted on | June 19, 2010 | No Comments

Muscular man with tattoos: Could I have a look at the book ‘Dens of Depravity, Boys In Jail’ that you’ve got in the window?
Zoe: Sure. (Gets book out of window)
Muscular man with tattoos: Thanks. (Flicks through book)
Zoe: We’ve got quite a lot more of that kind of erotica downstairs, if you’re interested.
Muscular man with tattoos: Er, no thanks. (Hands back book) I thought it was about prisons.


Posted on | June 17, 2010 | No Comments

Emily: Find anything of interest?
Shabby man in rumpled suit: (Handing over book) Yes, this. “How To Remove Stains”.
Emily: Two pounds, please.
Shabby man in rumpled suit: Thought it might come in useful.
Emily: Yes.

Fish Knives

Posted on | April 9, 2010 | No Comments

Man with glassy eyes: Do you have any Saki?
Possibly. Are you looking for a particular book?
Man with glassy eyes:
I’m looking for the edition with the biography by his sister. They were brought up by the maiden aunt type. Hearts you could use as domestic freezers.
You could try the literature section downstairs, there might be something there.
Man with glassy eyes:
This is a special shop, isn’t it? The books are special.
I suppose so, yes.
Man with glassy eyes:
These books have learned to use fish knives and forks, see what I mean?
I see what you mean.


Posted on | April 4, 2010 | No Comments

Man in glasses: This is my hat.
Emily: Is it? We wondered who left it.
Man in glasses: I’d know it anywhere.
Emily: That’s fine, you can take it.
Man in glasses: They can get you into trouble, hats.
Emily: Oh yes?
Man in glasses: You don’t get into clubs wearing them.
Emily: No?
Man in glasses: But I shouldn’t get angry about it. My rage is devastating.
Emily: Oh dear.
Man in glasses: It’s like I’m possessed. Do you want to see?
Emily: Well…
Man in glasses: (Screaming) GRRRRRR! ARRRRRRGH! RAAAAGH!
Zoë: Shall I start putting your books through the till?
Man in glasses: It’s a demon, but I know its name, so I can control it.
Zoë: That’s thirteen pounds please.
Man in glasses: (Hands over cash) And I’m gone. (Runs out of shop and across street.)


Posted on | March 14, 2010 | No Comments

Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man: You have Rokeham?
Emily: I’m sorry, what was that?
Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man: Rokeham? You have?
Emily: Rokeham?
Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man: No, Rokeham.
Emily: I’m sorry, I don’t recognise the name, what kind of subject is that?
Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man:
Emily:(Handing tiny white-haired wizened Indian man a pen and paper) Could you write it down, perhaps?
( Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man writes intently.)
Emily: Pokémon?
Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man: Yes.

Do you sell books?

Posted on | March 13, 2010 | No Comments

Man on phone: Do you have any books about the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth?
No I’m afraid not, at the moment.
Man on phone: Do you have the book 84 Charing Cross Road?
Emily: No, we don’t have that either, sorry.
Man on phone: Do you sell books?
Emily: Yes. Just not those two.


Posted on | March 2, 2010 | No Comments

Sprightly elderly chap: You want to watch out. I’m 85 and I’ve got thirteen thousand books.
Emily: That’s quite a collection.
Sprightly elderly chap: Only read half of them.
Emily: It’s good to have something waiting on the shelf.
Sprightly elderly chap: Do you know, I was in a bookshop in Norwich in 1941 and a girl came up to me  with a pile of books, she said “please help me. Oh, please help me.” I said, “What is it?” She said, “These books are going to be pulped, they’re going for the war effort. They’re six pounds each. Please help me save them.” I said, “well, I only get paid three pounds a week, and what am I supposed to do, take them back to barracks?” And I left.
Emily: Oh yes?
Sprightly elderly chap: Do  you know what they were? Piranesi. The complete works. Colour plates, everything.
Emily: Sounds lovely.
Sprightly elderly chap: I’ll say. Know what they’re worth now? A million, easy. I could have had them for six quid.


Posted on | February 26, 2010 | No Comments

Man with colourful scarf: Hi!
Emily: Hi.
Man with colourful scarf: Oh I think I’m in the wrong shop.
Emily: Yes?
Man with colourful scarf: Do you sell ukuleles?
Emily: No. We’re a bookshop.
Man with colourful scarf: Where’s the shop that sells ukuleles?
Emily: The ukulele shop is up the road that way.


Posted on | February 4, 2010 | No Comments

Doddery woman with white foundation and sun glasses: Now, I wonder if you can help.
Emily: I’ll try.
Doddery woman: I have three maps. One shows the theatres but not the roads. Another shows the roads but not the theatres. The last … well, I’ll show you.
(Unfolds large map)
Emily: I see.
Doddery woman: (From  behind map) You see? So what I want to know is, where is the Palace Theatre?
Emily: It’s just up there, on the left.
Doddery woman: All these people in the government and they produce four maps, all useless. Not one of them qualified.
Emily: No?
Doddery woman: Gordon Brown has a degree in history.
Emily: Does he?
Doddery woman: The private life of Henry VIII is hardly relevant to running the country.
Emily: I suppose not.
Doddery woman: There’s a financial crisis. The Norman Conquest does not help.
Emily: No, it wouldn’t.
Doddery woman: I see you smile. People smile. They think I make a joke. I don’t make a joke.

The Ghost

Posted on | January 29, 2010 | No Comments

Neil: If you’re there, tap twice.
FX: Tap tap

Did you hear?
That’s weird. Was that you?
Ask it again, while I’m watching Sasha.
It wasn’t me!
If you’re a ghost, tap twice.

Maybe it’s annoyed.
Tap two times if you like us asking questions.

If you like Jazz, tap once.
If you don’t, tap twice
FX: Tap

Oh yes.
It likes Jazz.
(Enter customer)
Neil: If you are a man, tap twice.
Walter: (To customer) Sorry, we seem to have a ghost, in case you were wondering.
Customer: Ah, right.
(Exit customer)
Walter: Thanks, bye.
Neil: (To ghost) Sorry, we were interrupted by a customer. If you are a man, tap twice.

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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