Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Book Front: Famous Non-Last Words


I was out of the office when Sales Assistant B called to ring through his latest dispatch. Michael Owen's phone embargo (since the 'Northern Cock' incident) lifted only yesterday, so you can imagine he was pretty eager to get back on the blower.




MO: Learning to Read, this is Michael speaking into the telephone. Can I help you?

SAB: [coldly] Hello Michael. Are you allowed back on the phones?

MO: I'll ask the questions, thank you.

SAB: [after a long pause] Go on, then...

MO: Hang on... let me think of one.

SAB: Maybe you could ask about--

MO: Got one! How's the, er, Book Front going? Anyone dying?

SAB: Those are both terrible questions, but I'll answer them. It's going badly, and people always die in wars. Just the other day my friend Italian Dave got caught out by some abridged Shakespeare. He put all his weight on it, because it wasn't marked clearly as abridged, and it couldn't take his weight. There wasn't enough substance, he went right through it. As he fell, I caught his last words: "I never really got into the Rolling Stoooooooooooooones!"

MO: I've often wondered about that.

SAB: The Rolling Stones?

MO: Last words. Do you have to write down everything someone says, just in case they get shot the next minute?

SAB: Yeah. It's not an easy job. Often you hear something which you are sure must be Last Words, but then thethe person doesn't actually die. I've started collecting them, want to hear?

MO: Not really. I'd rather have some Jaffa Cakes.

SAB: Well I'll tell you them anyway.

"I wish I was into books."
Sighed, wistfully. A girl standing in front of a wall of books. I expected them to fall but they didn't.

"CATERPILLAAAR."
Shouted after queueing for five minutes. An angry, tattooed, bald man apparently after a copoy of The Hungry Caterpilla on DVD. At least, that's what I sold him. He didn't elaborate.
It wasn't, apparently, a cry of fear at the gant caterpillar chasing him, or the unknown folk medecine antidote to a poison he had just consumed. Or the nickname of his nemesis. None of those things.

"Only old people read. Don't they know that?"
Said with deep frustration, by an old man. He wondered why we'd put some of our books on a low down shelf, where only young people could see them. No, I didn't understand that either.
I wrote it down, but he completely failed to trip of the stack of Harry Pottrt books on the floor by the door. I think Irony migrates north for the summer months.

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