(I wrote this way back in 2013 and re-discovered it this morning on a "Your Memories" feed of somesuch or other; I'm really rather pleased with it and present it for your delectation again. It still feels more apposite than ever!)
Once upon a time there was a village. In the village there lived a Farmer who had a large orchard. The orchard, every year, produced fruit for the Farmer and, every year, he would bake many apple pies, load his cart and draw them along the dusty road into the nearby Town. The Farmer liked a variety of apples in his Orchard and there was always something new growing in one of the corners.
The Farmer had just finished setting out his stall in the Town Square, and had written a number of simple signs to inform and delight his customers, when the first visitor of the day arrived. The first visitor was carrying a basket with a mouldy pie in it and a deep frown: "I bought this pie from you last month and when I had it for my breakfast this morning it tasted awful - I want my money back!"
The Farmer replied: "The pie was fresh when I sold it to you, Sir; did you not read the instructions about storage, serving suggestions or note the 'Use by' date?"
The man responded, angrily: "The instructions? Why would I need to read instructions? I've eaten food all of my life and have been known to partake of apple pie on occasion - what use have I for instructions? I think I can work it out for myself."
The Farmer, a reasonable man, explained that he couldn't give a refund but offered a replacement pie by way of good will.
"I'd rather have my money back" said the customer, "because I already have lots of fruit pies in my larder and I'm not sure I need another one."
The Farmer smiled: "But my apple pie contains my own blend of spices and sweetenings that you won't find in other pies."
The Farmer handed him a new type of pie made with a variety of apples, some of which were unfamiliar to the citizens of the town.
"Spices?" sneered the customer, "Spices? My neighbour says spices and apple are an awful combination - he heard it from his cousin, who heard it from a traveller at the Inn"
"So you've never actually tried spices with your apple pie, then?" asked the Farmer.
"No, certainly not." said the customer, "and I'm not about to start now! I regard myself as an adventurous eater. I applaud innovation in baking, I'm all for experimentation - but I just don't want to try anything new - especially if someone else says it's rubbish anyway."
"You can have a pie baked to the same recipe as the mouldy one, then - if you like?" smiled the Farmer.
The customer sighed: "How dull!"
The Farmer continued: "So you don't want something the same as before but you definitely don't want to try something new?"
"Yes...er, no...er, yes" spluttered the customer.
"Take a look at this menu" offered the Farmer. The customer took the menu and scanned it...
"Hmmm....apple and honey? I don't like bees so that pie will be utterly disgusting!"
"Here...try some" said the Farmer.
The customer took a mouthful of the apple and honey pie and spat it straight out again: "Euurrrgh! It's got a crunchy bit of apple in it!" he exclaimed.
"Oh," said the Farmer, "that sometimes happens - just set it to one side and try another bite."
The customer pushed him away: "No, thank you! If I have a crunchy bit of apple in my first bite then I'm bound to have another crunchy bit in the next one...and a maggot...and probably some stones. Someone in the Tavern said that all apple pies will, on average, be 78% likely to contain uneven levels of crunch in the apple. Do you have anything else?"
"I've got small rhubarb pies" replied the Farmer.
"Rhubarb? That's popular in the neighbouring countries, isn't it?" said the customer, "Not sure I care for that...AND I don't like small pies - small pies are pointless and unsatisfying as everyone who knows about pies knows; give me a large pie every time! Preferably one I can divide up into equal shares."
The Farmer sighed.
Cheerily, the customer asked: "By the way, how you tell the different types of pie apart on your stall?"
The Farmer took a couple of delicious-looking dishes from the shelves and pointed to their tops: "I label each one with a pastry alphabetic character..."
The customer grimaced: "Euurgh!" he coughed, "I don't like the font you've chosen!"
The Farmer reached into his jerkin and pulled out a shiny sixpence; he placed it firmly in the customer's hand then closed up his stall and went home to his village.
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer, Agricola fanboy and jealous admirer of Carl Chudyk.
Archive for FLGS
- [+] Dice rolls
(we are in a Friendly LG Store; the shelves are blah blah rhubarb rhubarb, blither and blather. The cashier is behind the counter and holding a tall house plant in front of his chest and face. He is sniggering)
Doorbell: *My ding a ling, my ding a ling. I want to play with my ding a ling*
Customer: (looking around, confused) Hello?
(the Cashier continues to snigger)
Customer: (wandering about, lifting the occasional box) Hello? Hellooooooooooo?
Cashier: (still behind the Chlorophytum comosum) Good morning, Sir!
Customer: (jumps in surprise then looks about, panicked) Who said that?!
(the cashier lowers the plant and smiles)
Cashier: I’m over here. (he waves) Just my little joke, Sir!
Customer: (holds hand to chest and breathes deeply) Gosh! You really had me worried for a moment!
Cashier: (contritely) I’m so sorry, Sir; I didn’t mean to startle you quite so much. Now, how can I help?
Customer: (reaching in to his pocket, he retrieves a regular d6) Well, I’ve been recently having problems with this (puts the d6 on to the counter and points to it)
Cashier: (lowers his face so that his nose is almost touching it) What's the issue, Sir?
Customer: Well, I was playing a game of Eclipse with several of my gaming associates and, during the combat resolution for control of a key ‘1’ sector – it was a crossroads for multiple potential enemy player incursions - I needed to roll greater than or equal to a ‘4’ to destroy his Star Base but, instead, rolled a ‘2’
Cashier: (sympathetically) I see. That must’ve been quite distressing for you, Sir?
Customer: Indeed it was; I ended up failing to take the sector as a result.
Cashier: And did you lose the game, Sir?
Customer: That’s not yet clear because as soon as I failed to roll the ‘four or more’, I resolved to get it checked over and came here immediately.
Cashier: So the game is still “in progress”?
Cashier: I see (scratches his head) Well, before I book the die in for evaluation I just need to take a few details –
Customer: Go ahead.
Customer: The same one I’ve had since Birth -
Cashier: Great. Address?
Customer: Yes, thank you.
Cashier: Approximate date of purchase?
Customer: Of my address?
Cashier: No, Sir; of the die.
Customer: (chuckles) Actually, there’s a very amusing story behind that!
(there is a long pause)
Cashier: (moving along) Well…that all seems to be in order. If you could just go to the Service Desk over there (points to a pile of charred copies of The Big Book of Madness)
(the customer picks up the die and walks over to the service desk)
Service Operative: Good morning, Sir. (a paper aeroplane thrown by the cashier hits him in the face; he unravels the plane and reads) Ah, I see you’re having trouble with one of your dice?
Customer: (putting it on to the counter, which is still smoking slightly) Here it is.
Service Operative: (inspects it) Ok...let’s try a few things out: please name an integer between 1 and 5.
Customer: A three.
(the Service Operative rolls the die and it comes up ‘6’)
Service Operative: And again, Sir?
Customer: A two.
(the Service Operative rolls the die and it comes up ‘4’; this is repeated eight times more – on each roll, the number is greater than or equal to the number suggested by the customer)
Service Operative: Well, that all seems to be in order, Sir -
Customer: How odd.
Service Operative: - and with it being out of Warranty, it would be quite a bit more expensive to take a more detailed look, Sir.
Customer: So what do you recommend?
Service Operative: Well, you could go back and finish the game and keep an eye on it; or -
Service Operative: - or: we could roll it a few times here, make notes and you could take them back and use those predetermined numbers instead?
Customer: I think I’ll go for that last option…
(the Operative takes out a clean piece of paper and rolls the die repeatedly, writing the value down each time; when done, he hands the die and the paper to the customer)
Service Operative: There you are, Sir; that will be £25 plus VAT
(the customer pays and leaves)CAPTION:
TWO HOURS LATER
Doorbell: *My ding a ling, my ding a ling. I want to play with my ding a ling*
(the same customer from before enters and scurries over to the Service Desk)
Service Operative: (recognising him) O! Hello, Sir! Is everything alright?
Customer: Yes, except -
Service Operative: Except what, Sir?
Customer: (confused, he holds out the paper) Do I use the numbers starting from the ‘top’, or just pick them from the list at random?
Service Operative: Oh, for Fu -
- [+] Dice rolls
(we are in an FLGS; the shelves, groaning with colourful boxes and cartons, are be-decked with sparkling Festive decorations and richly-scented foliage. A gently-audible soundtrack of traditional carols, sung by the Choir of some Cathedral or other, fills the space from a tinselled ghetto blaster. Expectations of increased foot-fall means there are two Cashiers on duty today; both are wearing humorous jumpers with a Christmas theme)
Door bell: *ding-dong-merrily-on-high*
(a customer enters; he is dressed in a greatcoat, a superscarf and an absolutelyfabuloustophat)
Cashier 1: (straightens his reindeer-with-a-glowing-red-nose jumper and speaks cheerily) Well hello there! And a very Merry Christmas to you!
(a couple of customers enter)
Customer: (removes hat; underneath is a small child reading a pop-up book) Merry Christmas to you, too! Don’t mind her... (points to infant) ...”babysitting issues”.
Cashier 2: (chipping in) …just like Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, had – eh?
Cashier 1: (frowning slilghtly) Well, quite -
Customer: Anyway, I don’t suppose you have a copy of –
Cashier 1: (interrupting; holds up a plate) Mince pie?
Customer: (delighted) Ooh, yes please! (takes a bite)
(Cashier 2 sells a copy of Inis to another customer)
Cashier 1: I made them myself, you know?
Customer: (talking with his mouth full) Mmmf ree-ee?
Cashier 1: Yes, from my own flaky skin
Customer: (gags; spits pastry in to his hand) Oh –
Cashier 1: Now, how can we help?
(customers leave, others enter)
Customer: (wiping mouth on scarf) Ah, yes; have you got a copy of -
Cashier 1: (holds up a bright, cardboard tube) Would you like to pull a Christmas Cracker with me?
Customer: Um, er...okay.
(they pull the cracker; there is a disproportionately-loud bang and the customer is left with most of the cracker and soot on the end of his nose)
Cashier 1: Ah splendid, Sir! You’ve won! Let’s see what your prize is!
Customer: (pulling something from the open-ended tube) It's...a resource-eeple shaped like a Satsuma (holds it up)
Cashier 1: (disposes of rubbish) Don’t forget your party hat, Sir!
(the customer opens the paper crown and carefully lowers it on and around the small – still reading - child)
Customer: So, please, a copy of –
Cashier 1: (pulling out a decanter) A sip of sherry, Sir?
Customer: No thanks, just –
Cashier 2: (chipping in) How about some Gluhwein? Or a snifter of Port?
Customer: No, thank you, no; I’m driving; now, could I please get –
Cashier 1: (puts his finger to the customer’s lips and makes a soft shushing sound) Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. (points to the ceiling; there is a large sprig of mistletoe hanging above the Till)
Customer: Really, I –
(Cashier 2 sells a copy of Inis to another customer)
Cashier 1: It’s just a little peck, Sir – and it is Christmas, after all?
(the Customer and the Cashier have a little kiss)
Cashier 1: (straightens his jumper; the nose lights up with a tinkling sound) There, that wasn’t so bad, was it, Sir? Merry Christmas! Now, how can I help?
Customer: I want to buy a copy of Inis, please.
Cashier 1: (looking concerned) Indeed; that is proving to be a very popular choice, Sir!
Cashier 2: (apologetically) Um, I just sold the last copy.
Customer: (crest-fallen) Oh dear...
(Cashier 2’s jumper, which has a three-dimensional pudding on it, makes a farting noise in time to Jingle Bells; the child begins to cry)
Cashier 1: (mournfully) Oh goodness; what a sorry state of affairs in this Season of Joy and Goodwill
Cashier 2: (pointing) Don’t you want to finish your mince pie, Sir?
Customer: Well...(sighs)...thank you anyway (turns to leave; puts top hat back on and walks to the door)
Cashier 1: (calling out) Hold on, Sir! Hold on a December moment!
(the customer turns round and looks expectantly at the Cashiers)
Cashier 1: (reaches under the desk for a gift-wrapped parcel; it is exactly the same size as a copy of Inis) Please accept this (holds the package out) as a token of our VERY good will, Sir.
Customer: (moved almost to tears) Why *gulp* thank you; that’s lovely!
Cashier 1: Our pleasure, Sir. May you have a peaceful time (emphasises) “INIS” Yuletide period (he winks, theatrically, at Cashier 2)
Customer: (a sparkle in his eyes) Oh! I...see! Thank you! Thank you so much!
(the customer departs; the sound of the child’s sobs are barely audible now – muffled, as they are, by the Hat)
Cashier 1: (hugging Cashier 2) I bloody love Christmas!
(cut to: Christmas Day; we are in the home of the Customer. Excitedly, the small child struggles to carry the enormous FLGS parcel to her Father. They unwrap it and find an Inis box underneath! The shrink is removed and the lid lifted to reveal...a solitary, bubble-wrapped copy of Scandaroon)
- [+] Dice rolls
(we are in a typical friendly local game store; the front window is stuffed full of shiny, still-shrinkwrapped products fresh from Essen Spiel 2016: there is something huge and unwieldy from that bloke who did the farming game, there's something surprisingly unpoint-salady from the point salad bloke, there's the latest effort from He Who Wins All The Awards and a copy of "the surprise hit of the show" (as voted for by a secret cabal of five industry moguls). The Cashier is browsing the internet on a laptop and smoking an enormous Lord of the Rings clay pipe. A customer enters...)
Door Bell: *ding-a-CLONK!*
Cashier: (looking up at the door) Oh, gollocks. (notices the customer) Ah -
Cashier: (taking a huge puff) Goo g'norning, Sir!
Customer: (pointing) Are you supposed to be smoking in the workplace?
Cashier: (notices he is holding the pipe and does an elaborate double-take) Bloody Hell! (the pipe drops from his mouth and he kicks it away from him)
Customer: That's better.
Cashier: Can I help, Sir?
Customer: Yes, I wonder if you might have a copy of 51st State Master Set?
Cashier: (leaning closer) I sorry, I didn't quite catch that.
Customer: A copy of 51st State Master Set?
Cashier: (leaning closer still) Why are you speaking so softly, Sir?
Customer: I'm not - I simply asked if you had a copy of -
Cashier: (interrupting) - of 51st State Master Set?, yes.
Customer: So you did hear me, then?
Cashier: Well, yes and no, Sir.
Customer: (confused) Yes _and_ no?
Cashier: It's written down, Sir; there - (points to the computer screen)
Customer: (tracing his finger along a line of text in a blog post) Why, so it is -
Cashier: - and so is everything we're saying.
Customer: (reads a bit more then steps back in amazement) It says that I "step back in amazement"
Cashier: Which, indeed, you just did, Sir.
Customer: What's going on?
Cashier: I'm not quite sure, Sir, but I believe that we may - in fact - be constructs in a playful sketch narrative, Sir!
Customer: But that's impossible; I'm as real as the next man!
(a man instantly-materializes next to the customer)
Man: (chirpily) Did someone call?
Customer: (astounded) Wha?! -
Cashier: (typing) I wonder... (under his breath) The newly-appeared man walks backwards...
(the newly-appeared man walks backwards out of the shop)
Customer: (warily) Er...
Cashier: (still under his breath) The Customer...
Customer: (drops his trousers and shuffles around the shop, singing) "You can stand under my umbrella (Ella ella eh eh eh) Under my umbrella (Ella ella eh eh eh)" -
Cashier: (sniggering as he types) Then he...
Customer: (begins dry-humping a stack of Great Western Trails) "Oh for the wings, for the wi-ings of a do-ove!"
Cashier: The Customer picks up...
Customer: (picking up a copy of Fabled Fruit) Do you have this in orange? I have a tiny penis. Here! (opens wallet and starts throwing notes) Have all of my money!
(the Customer suddenly lunges across the shop and slams his hands on to the laptop's keyboard. The Cashier immediately straightens up, stiff as a board and motionless, a look of abject horror and surprise on his face)
Customer: (avenged, he departs) Enjoy your 'thumbs up', you prick.
(the Cashier painfully, carefully, taps once once on the keyb -
- [+] Dice rolls
With apologies to Monty Python
(A customer walks in the door; a bell rings)
(musical ambience, provided by some Slam Metal, plays softly in the background)
Zev: Good morning.
Dan: Good morning, Sir. Welcome to Myriad Games!
Zev: Ah, thank you, my good man.
Dan: What can I do for you, Sir?
Zev: Well, I was sitting in the public library just now, skimming through a copy of '50 Shades of Lady Jane Gray' when I suddenly came over all 'Hobbyist'
Dan: ‘Hobbyist’, sir?
Zev: (whining): 'Ee, I wanna play games wi’ cards, meeples and dice, loike!
Dan: Ah! Board Games!
Zev: In a nutshell. And so I thought to myself: "A considered browse through multi-shelved exhibitorial facilities will do the trick." So I curtailed my studying activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some desirable Kennerspiel des Jahres-es.
Dan: Come again?
Zev: I want to buy some new games.
Dan: Oh, I thought you were complaining about our Chelsea Grin soundtrack!
Zev: Oh, heaven forbid! I am one who delights in all manifestations of the 'gutteral roar' and the 'piggy squeal'.
Zev: 'Oooo, Ah lahk a narse toon, 'yer forced to!
Dan: So they can go on bellowing, can they?
Zev: Most certainly! Now then, some releases from the last twelve months if you please, my good man.
Dan: (lustily) Certainly, Sir. What would you like?
Zev: Well, eh, how about a little Orleans Deluxe? Or the new map for Concordia?
Dan: I'm afraid we're fresh out of those, Sir.
Zev: Oh, never mind. How are you on Star Realms boosters?
Dan: We never have them at the end of the week, Sir; we get a fresh batch in on Monday.
Zev: Tish, tish, no matter. Well, stout yeoman, a Colt Express with all of it's attendant expansions, if you please.
Dan: Ah, they've beeeeeeeen on order, Sir, for two weeks. Was expecting them this morning.
Zev: 'T's not my lucky day, is it? Aah, Guilds of London?
Dan: Sorry, Sir.
Zev: Scythe...ANY edition will do?
Dan: Normally, Sir, yes. Today the van broke down.
Zev: Ah, My First Stone Age?
Zev: Mombasa? La Granja?
Zev: Any German language 7 Wonders Duel, per chance?
Zev: Captain Sonar?
Zev: Agricola - the new edition?
Zev: Blood Rage?
Dan: (pauses) No.
Zev: Inis? El Grande Big Box? Via Nebula? JamSumo? Arkwright? Eminent Domain? Mega Civilisation?
Zev: Pandemic Legacy, perhaps?
Dan: Ah! We have Pandemic Legacy, yessir!
Zev: (surprised) You do? Excellent!
Dan: Yessir. It's ...ah...a bit scuffed...
Zev: Oh, I like it scuffed.
Dan: Well, it's very weather-beaten, actually, Sir.
Zev: No matter. Fetch hither the new darling of co-operative, permanently-evolving 360 degree gaming experiences! Mmmmmmmmmwah!
Dan: I...think it's a bit scruffier than you'd like it, Sir -
Zev: I don't care how fucking scumbled it is: hand it over with all speed.
Dan: (regretfully) Awwwwwwwwwwwww...(pauses)
Zev: What now?
Dan: The Saturday Assistant has played the first two months, Sir.
Zev: (despondently) Has he?
Dan: She, Sir .
(there is a pause)
Zev: Great Western Trail?
Zev: Cry Havoc?
Zev: Secret Hitler?
Zev: Wooden box edition of Viticulture & Tuscany?
Dan: No, Sir.
Zev: You do HAVE some games, don't you?
Dan: Of course, Sir. It's an FLGS, sir! We've got...
Zev: No, no - don't tell me. I'm keen to guess.
Dan: Fair enough.
Zev: Uuuuuuuuuuhhhh, Yokahama?
Zev: Ah, well! I'll have one of those!
Dan: Oh, I thought you were talking to me, sir. Dave Yokahama, that's my name.
(there is another pause)
Zev: Millenium Blades?
Dan: Uh, not as such.
Zev: Glory To Rome?
Zev: Puerto Rico?
Zev: Bausack? Thunderstone: 12th Edition?
Zev: Ticket To Ride: United Kingdom?
Zev: Cheapass Games print-and-play version of Kill Doctor Lucky?
Dan: Not TODAY, Sir, no.
Zev: How about Codenames?
Dan: Well, we don't get much call for it around here, Sir.
Zev: Not much ca - it's the single best party board game in the world!
Dan: Not 'round here, Sir.
Zev: (slight pause) And what IS the most popular party board game "round hyah"?
Dan: (proudly) Wits & Wagers, sir.
Zev: Is it?
Dan: Oh, yes. Staggeringly popular in this manor, squire.
Zev: Is it?
Dan: It's our number one best-seller, Sir.
Zev: I see. Wits & Wagers, eh?
Dan: Right, Sir.
Zev: All right. Okay. "Have you got any?" he asked, expecting the
Dan: I'll have a look, Sir. (pause) Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-no.
Zev: It's not much of an FLGS, is it?
Dan: Finest in the district!
Zev: (annoyed) Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.
Dan: Well...it's so clean!
Zev: It's certainly uncontaminated by games...
Dan: (brightly) You haven't asked me about Seafall, Sir!
Zev: Would it be worth it?
Dan: Could be...
Zev: (slowly) Have you got any copies of Seafall?
Dan: No. Sold out at Gencon in less than an hour, Sir.
Zev: Figures. Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place. Tell me:
Zev: (deliberately and carefully): Have you ever, or have you now, in fact got any board or card games here at all?
Dan: Well, I suppose we'll have to let the Judge decide that one, won't we?
- [+] Dice rolls
Bell: *tingle-dingle ring-a-ding-ding*
Cashier: (looking up from his Esdevium catalogue) Shut the f-
(a customer enters; the cashier quickly throws the catalogue beneath the counter, brushes some crumbs from the counter top and beams at him)
Cashier: Ah! Good afternoon, Sir; can I help you?
Customer: (pulling a crumpled note from his pocket) I hope so, indeed! I'd like to get a copy of...(squints)...Scythe, is it? I hear it's quite good -
Cashier: (bends slighty, clutches the front of his trousers and makes an 'O' face) O! I've just cum!
Customer: (surprised) I beg your pardon?
Cashier: (massaging his crotch) I've just spunked up in my pants, Sir.
Customer: Well, I -
Cashier: (breathing slowly) You _did_ say the magic word, Sir
(an assistant appears at the door of what must be the stock room carrying a couple of large TCG booster boxes)
Customer: (bewildered) The "magic word"? What tommyrot, I merely asked you if you had a copy of Scythe -
(the assistant immediately crumples at the knee, tipping the boxes on the floor)
Assistant: (in agony) Oh Lordy! All the blood has rushed to my knob!
Cashier: (bends double again, his eyes squeezed tightly shut) Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh Christ!
Customer: (annoyed) This is outrageous behaviour; utterly ridiculous! I fail to see how saying -
Cashier: (panicking; trying to put his hand over the customer's mouth) Don't say it AGAIN, Sir!
Customer: - Scythe -
Assistant: (lying flat on his back, he begins to shudder and spasm) I feel faint!
Cashier: (collapses behind the counter, moaning) Oh, sweet Mary! Sweet, sweet...
Assistant: (breathless) It's like a baby's arm holding an apple!
Cashier: (weakly, as he stands again)My balls ache!
Customer: (furious) Well, I have never -
Cashier: (soothingly) I am so terribly sorry, Sir; but "that item" is, currently, the hottest and most beautiful and most sought after game in the gaming world, Sir - (bites lip) Mmmmmmmm.
Customer: (making to leave) I've had enough of this nonsense - do you have a copy or not?
Cashier: (makes a strangled noise) No?
Cashier: No, we sold it -
Assistant: There's one in the back -
Cashier: (sulkily) Er...it's not really fit to sell, Sir; it's got some box wear.
Assistant: (thumping his crotch) "Box wear"? Since when does a cock-sized hole punched in to the short side-panel count as 'some box wear'?!
Cashier: (hissing at the assistant) Shut up!
Customer: (warily) A 'hole'?
Cashier: Just a small one.
Customer: ...in the side of the box?
Cashier: You'd have to use a baggie, Sir.
Customer: I see.
(cut to: the stock room. It is dimly lit but you can definitely make out the Customer, his back to us and bare-arsed, engaged in a carnal act with an unseen participant)
(cut to: the cashier and assistant leaning against the Stock Room door. The Cashier knocks a couple of times, opens it and peers in)
Cashier: Only another five minutes...oh, you seem to have made that hole much bigger, Sir!
Assistant: Cry Havoc arrives tomorrow!
Cashier: Ooooooooooooh, my throbbing member!
- [+] Dice rolls
(we are in an FLGS in a delightful holiday resort; the window display has, wittily, positioned plastic buckets and spades, starfish and jellyfish in between the 'signature' items. Through the door one can see bright sunshine and blue skies. The cashier is sat with a large, edible crab attached to his face with elastic bands. A customer enters, a sandstorm blowing viciously around him - face shrouded in a cloth wrap - and dusts himself down; a fake seagull is attached to his hat)
Bell: (plays The Sleepy Lagoon as glockenspiel chimes)
Cashier: (through the crab) O cah ah oo or oo, er?
Customer: (removes his "amusing bird hat" to reveal a tonsured scalp with some chocolate eggs glued on) I beg your pardon?
Cashier: (pulls the crab away from his face) What can I do for you, Sir?
Customer: (a little confused) What's the crab for, if you don't mind me asking?
Cashier: (wipes away a bit of dribble) We're participating in the town's Grand Carnival Competition: "Spot the Sci-fi reference!"... (he points to the crab)
Customer: (having a light bulb moment) Ah, yes! Of course...Zardoz!
Cashier: (dismissing the hopeless guess) Yes, well, as I say...(replaces the crab) O cah ah oo or oo, er?
Customer: (tugging at his cuffs) Ah, this is a little embarrassing...
Cashier: (removes the crab and places it on the counter) Yeeeeeeees?
Customer: (nervously scratching his nose) ...I'm looking for some 'adult' board games
Cashier: "Adult" board games, Sir?
Customer: Yes. You know? Games with "adult" themes?
Cashier: (cautiously) What...like applying for a mortgage? Getting one's car insured? Arranging a five-course dinner party for eight? We've got "Die Macher", which is about the German Parliament?
Customer: (worrying at his collar) Not that kind of "adult" exactly; more "naughty", really...
Cashier: (stroking his chin momentarily and the speaking up) Oh, you mean "crime" games? Gangsters? We've got "Nothing Personal". "Burgle Brothers" - that sort of thing?
Customer: (blushing) No, adult as in "rude". Rude games?
Cashier: (pensively) Hmmmm...well, I've got a couple of Kickstarter items...
Customer: (perking up) Oh yes?
Cashier: (rummaging under the counter) Yes; they're often quite rude...rough around the edges, some not really even fully play-tested - very 'rude' indeed...
Customer: (getting exasperated) No! "Rude" as in 'sexy'! Games to do with sex!
Cashier: (the penny drops) Oh.
Customer: Saucy games? Cheeky games? Grown-up fayre?
Cashier: (uncomfortably) Well, there's not normally much demand for that kind of thing, Sir.
Customer: (picks up box at random from the shelf) What about this one? (looks at the box) "Stroking Cocks"?
Cashier: That's "Cox" not "Cocks", Sir; and it's a game about the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race for two players, Sir.
Customer: (disappointed, he picks another) "Fucks Chickens"?
Cashier: "Fox and Chickens", Sir; it's a family classic...
Customer: "Cunt Stop!"?
Cashier: "Can't" as in "cannot", Sir.
Customer: "No Wanks"? "Bum Squad"? Anal Grande?
Cashier: "Thanks", "Bomb" and "Canal" respectively, Sir...
Customer: (deeply disappointed) Dammit! Haven't you got anything filthy at all?
Cashier: (reaching, once more, under the counter) Well...I have got something that involves penetration, bouncing balls and the need for a steady hand if you don't want to come last?
Customer: (delighted) Excellent! I'll definitely take that then!
(cut to the cashier handing a full plastic bag to the customer who, simultaneously, is reciprocating with wad of £20 notes)
Cashier: So, that's one brand new copy of Ker Plunk, Sir. Enjoy!
Customer: (crestfallen) Oh.
- [+] Dice rolls
(we are in the open gaming area of an FLGS and there are many tables ‘on the go’: see
fourtwo people playing Hanabi while the other two sit, bemused, watching them argue about the best way to give clues; see Game of Thrones, full to capacity - but stalled – because someone mentioned, in passing, that “the books are better than the TV series”; see a five player game of Agricola where three of the players have stood up and pushed their chairs back...things are getting heated)
Player 1: I think we should be allowed to leave this game.
Player 2: (confused) Why?
Player 3: Because I’m deeply concerned about the number of Occupations that are coming in to this game that aren’t ours (points to the others who are standing)
Player 2: So why don’t you take the Start Player and go on ‘Lessons’ yourself?
Player 1: Why should we have to? It’s my game…
Player 3: (supportively) Yeah; it’s his game!
Player 1: (continuing) We should carry on playing the family game rules; it will be less unfair...
Player 2: What about the occupations we’ve already played?
Player 4: Put ‘em back to the game box.
Player 2: But...
Player 3: Yeah! Though we get to keep the resources we’ve already collected, right?
Player 1: Of course we should; it took me ages to accumulate all this wood and stone...
Player 2: If you want to restart the game from scratch then that’s fine but you can’t just change things half way through!
Player 1: Why not?
Player 2: Because it’s a different game with different rules!
Player 1: (clicks fingers and points because he’s just been reminded of something) Oh yeah! About that...
Player 2: About what?
Player 1: The rules: I fundamentally object to being told what to do on my own farm board by a German!
Player 2: (speechless) Er...
Player 3: Yeah! Where does (looks at the rulebook and reads aloud) Uh-wee...Ross...enn...berg get off telling me what I can and can’t do?
Player 2: He designed the bloody game!
Player 1: (outraged) So? Just because his name’s on the box doesn’t mean we have to cow-tow to his every demand! And talking of cows, why can I only have ONE baby even if I’ve got more than one pair of parents? That’s imposing quotas, that is!
Player 2: Those are the rules, mate.
Player 3: (pointing around the table) Doesn’t matter! The three of us think that we should change so you’re out-voted!
Player 2: But you’ll break the game!
Player 1: We don’t know that for sure...
Player 3: ...No-one knows that for sure...
Player 1: ...and, anyway, we could spend the extra food we get from the extra animals on more family members!
Player 3: (under his breath) We could, yes; but I won’t...
Player 2: (exasperated) This is madness!
Player 3: You’re just a sore loser!
Player 1: Yeah – call yourself a democrat! You should accept the majority decision and move on!
(the three standing players move to another table, taking their farm boards and resources with them)
Player 2: (turning to the other, remaining, player) Fancy a game of Isle of Skye? I hear Scotland’s lovely this time of the year...
(there is a shout from the other table)
Player 1: Why won’t you let me put my worker on the ‘Plow 1 Field’ space?
Player 3: Coz that worker was ‘born’ when we were over there (points back the original table); here it’s "new table actions for new table family members", mate!
Player 1: You bigoted bastard! (tips the table and storms out of the shop)
Cashier: (feigning surprise) Well! I never saw THAT coming!
- [+] Dice rolls
(we are in a friendly local game store; the shelves are groaning under the weight of over-produced Kickstarter editions which are available to the public – and have been for months – but not the Backers, due to a “mix-up” with the freight company. Yeah. As-if: *tchoh*. The cashier is leaning back on his stool, resting against the wall, with his eyes closed.)
Door bell: *ding-dong-merrily-on-high*
(a customer enters; he is carrying a live mouse by it's tail. The cashier opens his eyes, yawns and stretches his arms)
Cashier: (brushing himself down) I’m so sorry, Sir; I just dropped off for a moment
Customer: (pleasantly) Absolutely no problem at all. By the way, do you have somewhere I could put this? (gestures to the mouse)
Cashier: How about here? (he opens his mouth, detaches his jaw and opens it horribly wide; the customer screams)
(jump cut to: we are in a friendly local game store. The Cashier was sleeping but has been startled awake by the electronic buzzer that goes off when a customer comes in)
Cashier: (straightening his apparel) Good morning, Sir
Customer: (removing his Trilby) And a very good morning to you, Shopkeeper! What have you got that’s new THIS week?
Cashier: (rummaging about) Well, there’s the new Star Wars ScrabbleTM set?
Customer: Which is..?
Cashier: ...any combination of vowels and consonants counts just as long as it sounds like a Lucasian Planetary system. Or there’s the Game of Thrones re-skin of Tigris & Euphrates?
Customer: Which is..?
Cashier: It’s Tigris & Euphrates, only a bit more cutthroat.
Customer: In what way, exactly?
Cashier: You all have real knives and are attempting to actually cut each others' actual throats.
Customer: I see. Well, I’m certainly interested in the ScrabbleTM edition – I’ll take one! (pats his pockets, locates his wallet and withdraws it)
Cashier: (beginning the packing ritual) Excellent, Sir.
Customer: (handing over the money) Tell me, Shopkeeper; how did you come to be in this particular line of business?
Cashier: (pauses his wrapping and going a little misty eyed) Well, it’s quite an unusual story...
(cue: wobbly transition effect – we are in a version of the shop in the distant Past – we know this because the shelves are stocked with Panini sticker albums and copies of Trivial Pursuit – Genus Edition emblazoned with homemade ‘New!’ and ‘Just In Today!’ stickers; the cashier – not OUR cashier – has enthusiastic sideburns and a massive moustache and is smoking a John Player Special.)
Narrator (our Cashier): ...it was a long time ago. I’d just heard about this new party game and had popped in to the local Toy Store to see if I could pick one up...
(a customer enters; it is a young version of our Cashier. He holds the door open turns to speak to someone outside, whom we cannot see from this angle)
Customer: (to the unseen) I’ll meet you in the High Street in half-an-hour! (he closes the door and turns to the hairy cashier)
Narrator: ...I was in luck; they had one copy left, but it was in the Stock room, so the shopkeeper stepped outside for a moment. I was just browsing through the latest issue of Model Railway Models Monthly (the magazine for people who like to have models of railways in the buildings of their model railways) when I heard an almightyCRASH!
(the customer in the scene looks up at the sudden noise and rushes to the stock room)
Narrator: ...tragically, the room had been piled far-too-high with copies of Mastermind Deluxe and The Spitting Image Board Game; they had collapsed on the unfortunate fellow and crushed him to death! I tried to pull him out from under this horrific avalanche but set off another fall and was buried alive myself! A copy of Trivial Pursuit caught me on the temple and knocked me out!
(the scene darkens; our cashier stirs from under the cardboard wreckage and crawls over the damaged boxes to the stock room door)
Narrator: The blow left me bleeding and with no memory of who I was or why I was there. I assumed that this was my property, so I tidied everything up, buried the unfortunate owner behind the Mousetraps and got on with the business of running the shop.
(cue: montage of the day-to-day life of a functioning, mildy-successful 1980s FLGS)
Narrator: Little did I know that my wife and daughter were waiting for me in Woolworths, between the Pick ‘n Mix and the 7” singles...
(cut to the present day)
Customer: (shocked) Your wife? And your daughter?
Cashier: (nodding sadly) Indeed. It took years for my memory to return and, when it did, I tried to make contact with them. (dabs a tear from his eye) They thought I was dead, you see? They buried an empty coffin, held a Memorial Service and moved away to another Town.
Customer: (speechless) Gosh!
Cashier: (wistfully) She would be in her thirties now...
Customer: (dumbfounded) Well, I...
(there is an awkward pause)
Cashier: (bursting in to a wide grin) Gaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! Gotcha!
Customer: (chuckling nervously) What? Oh, yes! Yes! Very well done! You certainly had me going then! Ha-ha! Quite the story, eh?
(the awkward laughter dies down)
Cashier: (handing him the completed package) There you go, Sir!
Customer: Thank you, yes. Thanks very much. (departs)
Cashier: (calling after him) I hope you get Yavin on a triple-word score!
(the customer has gone; the shop is deserted. The cashier leans back in his chair and pulls a photograph from his breast pocket and stares at it)
Cashier: Thirty eight, to be exact.
- [+] Dice rolls
(we are in a friendly local game store; there is a sign in the window proudly announcing a “Twice-the-Price Sale on ALL Asmodee North America products” and directing one to a website URL. A customer stops at the window, reads the sign, shakes his fist at it and then enters the shop)
Door Bell: *ding ding-a-ling ding-ding-ding*
Cashier: (looking at us) Whoops! Here comes another one! (turns to the customer) Good afternoon, Sir; can I help you?
Customer: (looking toward us, like the cashier did) Who were you talking to?
Cashier: When, Sir?
Customer: Just now…when I came in...
Cashier: I wasn’t talking to anyone, Sir; as you can see, there’s no-body else here
(the Cashier turns to us and winks)
Customer: (confused) You’re winking too!
Cashier: (innocently) Am I, Sir?
Customer: (turning around and pointing at us as he speaks) Yes! You definitely winked in that direction!
Cashier: It’s a bit dusty in here, Sir; perhaps something was in my eye and a blinked more noticeably than usual?
Customer: (ruffled, but seemingly placated) It is rather dusty in here, isn’t it?
Cashier: (holds a flat hand – thankfully his - against the side of his mouth and says to us) *phew* That was a close one!
Cashier: I was just coughing in to my hand, Sir
Customer: I see; anyway…do you have Star Wars: Rebellion...
Cashier: (chuckling) You’ll be lucky, Sir!
(the cashier pushes a button on the counter and a loud volley of canned audience laughter bellows out of the walls)
Customer: (jumping back and clutching his chest) Sweet Mothers of Invention! What was that?!
Cashier: What was what, Sir?
Customer: That noise! When you pushed that button!
Cashier: (covers the button with a cupped hand) What button, Sir?
Customer: (peeved now) THAT button; the one under your hand! (points)
Cashier: No button here, Sir
Customer: (steps forward) Yes there is
(he grabs the Cashier’s hand and tries to pull it off the button; the Cashier is resisting)
Cashier: (presses his other hand on top) There’s...nothing...there!
(they wrestle for a while then the Customer tires and steps away, panting)
Cashier: (catching his breath) Star Wars: Rebellion was it?
Customer: (wheezing) Yes. (gasping) Please.
Cashier: I’ll just go and check in the stock room...
(the Cashier lifts the entire counter top off and carries it away with him through a nearby door. The customer examines the space and pulls at a couple of loose wires)
Customer: (muttering) I bloody knew it!
(moments later the Cashier returns carrying a box)
Cashier: (handing it to the Customer) You’re in luck, Sir; we have just the one copy left! That will be ninety pounds please.
Customer: (examining the box) Um...
Customer: This is a Morphy Richards 4-slice Electric Toaster box with the words “Star Wars” and “Rebellion” written on in marker pen! I’m not paying ninety pounds for THAT!
Cashier: It was worth a try; how about thirty quid...and I’ll throw in the actual toaster?
(they shake hands then speak simultaneously)
Cashier: You certainly have been!
Customer: You certainly have been!
(the Cashier retrieves a solitary button from his pocket and sniggers; he presses it and a 16 ton weight suddenly crashes through the ceiling, crushing him completely; the sound of spontaneous applause breaks out)
Customer: (looking to us) Now THAT'S comedy!
- [+] Dice rolls