|Beware Page 37
Author: x-x-Rhii-x-x PM
Bernard got drunk and ordered seven and a half thousand copies of the "Kama Sutra". What could possibly go wrong? Answer: an awful lot, actually. Slight Bernard/Fran.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Bernard B. & Fran - Words: 1,712 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-15-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6240060
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Alarms bells rang but I loved the drama,
In a dark place, but I loved the Kama Sutra…
"La la, la oh la la di da…"
"Manny, if you don't stop that right now, I'm going to throw this mug of coffee at your unnaturally hairy head," Bernard threatened. He was not in a charitable mood. True, Bernard was hardly ever in a charitable mood, but that was beside the point. Manny stopped humming, instead choosing to skip and pirouette his way around Black Books, a large, hot pink feather duster in his hands.
"You might as well be brandishing a knuckle duster for all the good that old brush is doing," Bernard observed sourly, glancing at his wine-stained, torn up diary. "Hm, it says there's a delivery scheduled today…" he said with a vague feeling of confusion. Manny paused in his indignant defence of his feather duster, and came over to look at the diary Bernard had read from.
"Derly…daly…veru…shoe…um, okay, whatever you said," Manny conceded, looking away from the black squiggles and scribbles that counted as Bernard's handwriting before his eyes suffered permanent damage. Bernard closed the little book and dropped it neatly into a bucket of some strange, probably toxic, liquid or other. He glanced at the clock. Quarter to midday. Bernard reached under his desk and grabbed a bottle of (very cheap) white wine, pouring himself an unfeasibly large glass. He was not a wino…merely a man with a very difficult job.
A potential customer walked in. Manny scooted towards the man, but Bernard was faster.
"OUT!" He yelled wildly, waving his glass of wine at the customer, who began to look a little perturbed. "Sorry, you can't stay, we're expecting a delivery." Bernard clarified in a surly tone of voice.
"Well, really, I only wanted…"
"Haven't you heard of Waterstones?" Bernard demanded crossly.
"Of course, but this is such a lovely…"
"…Shithole, yes I know. Now GET OUT!" Bernard stood up rather menacingly, and the customer shot a frightened look at Manny, who smiled serenely and turned around in order to dust a pile of books that had been dumped on a rickety old chair. The poor man who had dared to venture into the veritable lunatic asylum that was marketed as a bookshop took another look at the manic tableau before him and ran for his life. Bernard sat down and refilled his wine glass.
"Mmm bop, didi da da do wap…"
"Manny!" The sharp voice rebuking Manny did not belong to Bernard, for once. Fran swept into the shop, drowsily rubbing at her eyes.
"Sorry!" Manny said, in far too loud a voice for the hangover Fran evidently had. She winced and clutched at her head. Bernard handed her the remainder of his bottle of wine, and she took it from him without another word, taking a drawn-out swig of the stuff. "That'll only make it worse!" Manny chirped brightly. Fran glared.
"The wine giveth, and the wine taketh away," she muttered darkly, sinking down onto the couch, the bottle still clutched protectively in her hand. "Bernard, can I stay here tonight? My landlord's doing the whole freaky 'let's get naked' thing again."
Manny started whistling. Bernard sighed, and turned his attention to Fran with great difficulty and self-discipline – something that he was definitely unaccustomed to.
"Fran, you know I don't like it when you sleep in here – it gives the customers the wrong idea."
"What customers?" Fran asked innocently, widening her eyes in pretend surprise.
"Well…" Bernard cast wildly around for an idea, and seized the first one that came within his grasp. "It gives Manny the wrong idea!" He claimed.
"I don't think you and Fran are sleeping together," Manny said helpfully. Bernard ground his teeth together. "Anyway, Bernard," Manny continued, completely oblivious, "you're sleeping in the bathtub at the moment, and there are too many spiders…"
"…Yes, Manny! Thank you." Bernard said quickly. For once, Manny took the not-so-subtle hint and went back to his dusting. There was a slight pause, and then:
"Mmm bop, diddy da da do wap, diddy da da mmm, yeah-yeah!"
"Manny, I swear to God." Bernard didn't elaborate on this statement, but Manny stopped singing MMM-Bop with something of a panicked look about him. Bernard sighed in relief and drank the rest of his glass of wine in one gulp.
At half-past two, there was a sharp rap on the door. Bernard forced himself to open his eyes and sit up wearily.
"Manny, get the door!" He demanded, his vision too blurry to focus on the door and to see who was calling on him. He remembered something about a delivery and groaned.
"Bernard, I'm in the kitchen." Manny pointed out in response to his drunken employer. "You're at your desk."
"Fran's gone out, Bernard," Manny reminded Bernard patiently.
"God, am I expected to do everything around here?" Bernard grumbled as he got to his feet a little unsteadily. He managed to walk in something resembling a straight line towards the door of the bookshop. Outside, a tall, skinny man stood, clad in denim overalls and with a name badge declaring that he was called Joe. He held a clipboard in his thin hands.
"Yes?" Bernard barked shortly as he opened the door.
"Um, are you Bernard Black, sir?"
"No, I'm his oddly hairy, utterly useless assistant – no, wait a minute – no, I'm definitely Bernard Black." Bernard said confidently, shuddering a little. Joe the delivery man's face grew concerned.
"Well, Mr Black…if you could just sign here, then I can unload those books that you ordered last week." Joe handed over the clipboard, along with a black biro. Bernard took the two proffered items from him, and, with great effort, thought back to last week. He didn't remember ordering any books. He lifted the lid off the biro and signed his name in the general direction of the dotted line Joe had pointed at. Maybe he'd been drunk when he ordered the books. "There you go," he slurred at Joe, who took his clipboard back gingerly, as if drunkenness was some sort of contagious disease.
"Thank you Mr Black."
"Get on with it then; we need some privacy around here, y'know," Bernard said. The delivery man looked blankly at the empty shop, and heaved a sigh, before going to his van to unload the books Bernard had apparently ordered. Bernard staggered back to his chair and collapsed into it. Well, he considered slowly, reaching for another bottle of wine to consume, how bad could it be?
"Well, I'll b-be off t-then," the delivery man panted around three hours later, his eyes exhausted and desperate. Bernard and Manny didn't acknowledge him, partly because a lot of sound was being blocked out by the many ceiling-high piles of books taking up about nine-tenths of the shop. The remaining one-tenth contained furniture. Bernard had hurriedly sobered up when he realised what was going on, and he and Manny had watched the floor space of Black Books slowly being consumed by some seven and a half thousand copies of exactly the same book. They were now standing on Bernard's desk, effectively marooned by books. Identical books.
"Bernard," Manny said cautiously, when the roar of Joe's van had disappeared into the great yonder hills.
"Mmm?" Bernard mumbled, not really paying attention to his assistant.
"Were you drunk when you ordered these books, by any chance?"
"Why, how dare y – yes. Yes I was. Blind drunk. Plastered. Hammered. I don't know anymore!" Bernard answered, his voice tailing off into a high-pitched wail. "The bloody Kama Sutra," Bernard said, an almost apocalyptic despair imbued in his words. "Why?"
"Maybe you were struggling with your feelings for Fran again," Manny suggested with a small shrug.
"Mmm, perhaps…wait – how did you – I do not struggle with my feelings for Fran!" Bernard stuttered.
"Of course not, Bernard," Manny soothed, smirking a little. Bernard glared at him but did not reprimand him, instead turning to look at his wreck of a shop again.
"Manny, what are the chances of us moving seven and a half thousand books before Fran gets back?"
"Oh my God!" There was a horrified shriek, followed by a clatter of Hindu sex manuals.
"Too late," Manny said.
"Dear Lord," Fran said. One of her eyes was concealed by a swathe of dirty bandages found in Bernard's suit pocket, so it was with just one eye that she was devouring a copy of the Kama Sutra. "Bernard, does page thirty-seven look even vaguely possible to you?"
Bernard flicked to page thirty-seven and choked on his eighth glass of wine. "Only if you were a world-class gymnast. Or extremely drunk." He replied. He and Fran shared a glance, and then, in almost comical unison, they lunged for their respective bottles of wine.
From his safe place in the kitchen, Manny heard an ear-shattering crash and two unimaginably terrified screams as eight hundred and twenty-three copies of the Kama Sutra toppled over, directly onto Bernard and Fran.
Manny sighed and placed a few more copies of the Kama Sutra into the sink, before absent-mindedly turning the cold water tap on. The toaster beeped, and two freshly-toasted copies of the book popped up. Manny ignored them and went to the fridge. A nicely-cool copy dropped out, and Manny picked it up, flipping with curiosity to page thirty-seven.
"Bernard?" He called after a moment's consideration. And a good deal of admiration too, it had to be said.
"Mmmphf?" The reply came after a few seconds, slightly muffled by the crushing weight of eight hundred and twenty-three ancient sex guides.
"Bernard, shall I give the emergency services a call yet?"
Please review if you have the time! I don't own Won't Go Quietly, and I definitely don't own Black Books, or there'd be a series four by now.