I like a good wheeze as much as any other smoker – like, pushing a cucumber through the letter-box of an elderly spinster, then phoning her up and yelling, “The Martians are invading!” – or going into a Christian bookshop and asking if they have a copy of the Necronomicon.
Better yet – a copy of the Bible that includes the Gospel According To Judas Iscariot (they HATE that!)
But here is one I actually DID…
Back when I still lived in Asboland, I found myself walking down a side street, just off Southend’s main shopping area. And it was there I came across a new shop (actually, the shop had been there for centuries – it was the BUSINESS that was new).
It was called “Candles ‘R’ Us” (the ‘R’ was the correct way round – they obviously did not want to get sued by a certain chain of toy-stores) and did what it said on the tin. The premises contained candles of every conceivable shape, size and colour – except of course, ONE.
But I noticed it had a large sign in the window, claiming it stocked EVERY colour.
As I had a few moments, I decided to have a bit of a laugh. The shop was empty, save for a young, female assistant. I entered, smiled at her and asked for a dozen BLACK candles.
I had figured that was as far as it would go – she would laugh and tell me, “Okay, I’ll grant you we don’t stock THAT colour!” But she was YOUNG and did not GET it. I felt slightly guilty as she smiled, said certainly, then went off to search the boxes of candles, looking for the articles I had requested.
Finally she returned, looking crestfallen. “I’m sorry – I can’t find ANY black ones – I thought we had ALL the colours.” I was about to explain to her WHY she could not find them when she suddenly said, “Actually, I’m new here – the woman who owns the shop is at lunch – but she’ll be back in half an hour. Can you come back then?”
“Alright,” I replied, turning to leave. Then, unable to resist, I said, “Actually, I have some more shopping to do – Eye Of Newt and so on – I’ll pop back when I’ve finished, in a couple of hours. When she returns, can you tell her what I need? My name’s Mr Diablo.”
“Okay,” she replied, brightly. As I left – never to return – it occurred to me that I wished I could be a fly on the wall for THAT conversation!