17. Bomber Stanton

17. Bomber Stanton

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson
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TALES FROM THE BOOKSHOP (17)

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Mrs Bookworm and Jennifer Dewberry watched the young woman as she hurried down the road, going in the direction of Newholme flats where Jennifer herself lived.

I’ll bet she caught up with that revolting father of hers, and he hit her!” muttered Mrs Bookworm, “I could tell by the look of him that he’s a bully! And didn’t she say he was a gambling addict? That’s what gambling addicts do, beat up young women, just because they’re bigger and stronger and they can!”

She wasn’t exactly beaten up,” argued Jennifer, “just a few drops of blood down her nose, and it is easy to bump into lamp posts if you’re not concentrating on where you’re going.”

Well, he’s coming now,” pointed out Mrs Bookworm, “and if he stops to talk I’ll tell him exactly what I think of old men who treat pretty young things like that!”

The elderly man was hurrying towards them as fast as his less than young legs could manage, clearly increasingly out of breath.

Did you see her?” he asked, “my daughter, long hair, pretty? She spotted me in the bookies and one thing she doesn’t approve of is me spending time in places like that.”

She said,” replied Mrs Bookworm tartly, “but she seemed to have banged her nose.”

She said it was a lamp post,” added Jennifer.

But we did wonder,” muttered Mrs Bookworm, looking at him through doubting eyes. But he chose to ignore the implications of what she said and continued on his way towards Newholme flats.

Well, that was a guilty look if ever I saw one!” whispered Mrs Bookworm.

He’d best be careful if he’s got heart trouble,” suggested Jennifer, “rushing about like that!”

Harrumph!” muttered Mrs Bookworm under her breath, and she took one last appreciative look in her window at the display she’d arranged so perfectly.

It looks all right, don’t you think?” she asked after a really long pause.

Perfect,” agreed Jennifer.

Well,” nodded Mrs Bookworm, turning slowly away, “if that don’t do it, nothing will.”

Do what, dear?” asked Jennifer.

If there’s a prize, win it for us, whatever else?” asked the shop keeper, and she went back into the shop and picked up a new yellow duster and started attending to the shine on her till as if a gleaming till with its over-polished brass-work was an ultimate arbiter when it came to success or failure.

The next few days couldn’t pass quickly enough, and every day she examined the display of Dr Flynn books and made minor adjustments in order to achieve the tidiest and yet most informative display anywhere in the known Universe, and it worked because during those days she must have sold half a dozen books, not all of them the latest title.

He excitement seemed to flow like warm nectar from the shop keeper to the entire neighbourhood. The words Amy Lovewise were on almost everyone’s lips, though a small boy was heard to ask his granny what was at all wise about love!

Then the inevitable happened and after anguished waiting and much chewing of finger nails the big day arrived.

It started wet, with rain, and not just any old rain but a horrendous storm of corn-flattening magnitude that threatened to wash the day away if it continued any longer, so it was just as well that it didn’t. Before most people in the village had eaten their breakfasts the skies had run out of rain, the black and ominous clouds had melted away, and blue skies heralded Mrs Bookworm’s big day. She even received an email, of all things, from the publisher saying that Amy Lovewise would be with them as soon as she could and certainly by ten o’clock.. It was signed (if you can call a typed name a signature) by Bomber Stanton and it thrilled Mrs Bookworm to her very core.

I feel,” she said to anyone who chanced to pop by the shop too early, “like the cat expecting the cream!”

Selwyn Jones, on his way to the pharmacy, called in to wish her well because he was firmly of the opinion that a kind of osmosis might make customers in one shop leak into another and spend a little money there. He knew that the day was going to celebrate romantic fiction and so he had dusted and restocked the shelf devoted to contraceptive materials, just in case there might be some sort of cross contamination of ideas.

Best of luck, Mrs Bookworm,” he said cheerily, “and if any young lovers need advice or equipment you can always send them my way.”

Of course, Mr Jones,” she replied, wondering what he meant by equipment.

After Selwyn Jones, Mrs Brussels carrying a basket of mixed vegetables including a giant cucumber arranged temptingly with two large onions called in to the book shop and asked if she could leave a book of raffle tickets and the prize of her best selected vegetables in a complementary basket (ten pence a ticket and all proceeds going to a carefully unnamed charity), and Mrs Bookworm reluctantly agreed.

Could you see to Mrs Brussels’ raffle?” she asked Jennifer when she arrived, “I’m going to be rather busy.”

I might have expected her to stick her nose in,” grunted Jennifer, but she agreed anyway.

Have you seen anything of your new neighbours lately?” asked Mrs Bookworm when there was a quiet moment for conversation.

Not since they moved in,” replied Jennifer, “though I sometimes hear the music they play, a bit louder than poor Mr Archer did, though not unbearably so and really very pleasant. They seem to be very fond of romantic stuff, like the Carpenters from way back, and even the Beatles from even more way back!”

That’ll be the old man,” grunted Mrs Bookworm, “they’re from his era. I dared say the young woman likes modern stuff, you know, noisy rap and the like.

Anyway, that’s all I hear from them, though sometimes the young woman laughs and giggles a lot. It’s good to hear young folks being happy.”

As long as she’s not weeping,” grunted Mrs Bookworm.

There’s no suggestion of anything like that!” replied Jennifer.

It’s ten o’clock,” declared Mrs Bookworm when the church clock started its hourly announcement of the time. “The email said she’d be here at ten o’clock and you know how these important folk like punctuality!

There were already quite a few people gathered round the entrance to the shop, waiting in eager anticipation for the famous author who had created the handsome and romantic Doctor Flynn, a character who seemed to be really well known throughout the village since the announcement of the book signing, to put in her appearance.

Then a car appeared coming from the direction of Newholme flats and, no doubt beyond. It was, moving slowly and majestically and, to Mrs Bookworm’s excited mind, must surely be containing a very important person. She clutched her hair in excitement, probably in case a stray gust of wind blew it away, and grandly opened the shop door.

I’m just so excited,” she hissed to anyone close enough to hear her and standing next to the door ready to greet her famous visitor and holding a duster that seemed to have become stuck to her hand.

The car pulled up and the driver climbed out, smiling radiantly. It was Penny Stanton, pretty as a picture, and her hair was more lustrous than ever. Still smiling, she went to the back door of the limousine and opened it.

Ladies and Gentlemen,” she said, “please welcome Amy Lovewise, AKA my father, Bomber Stanton!”

© Peter Rogerson 08.07.20



© 2020 Peter Rogerson


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Author

Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom



About
I am 76 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

Writing