The Death of the Small Trader


A bit of nonsense to fill the space as I wait for the next delivery from The Muse – fingers crossed.  This was an entry in one of the FFF competitions on Authonomy 

The Death of the Small Trader: 

“Stan, ‘ello. Doris. Another pint?”

“Aye, yeah go on then. Bitter thanks Peter.”

“No, not for me thanks love I’m fine.” …

“So, you two alright? You’re looking good Doris, new coat?”

“He, he, no you daft thing, just my ordinary one. Phyllis alright? Not with you?”

“No, no she’s visiting our Sharon. Can’t keep away since that baby arrived. Cooing and googling at it.”

“Still, nice though a grand-daughter.”

“Aye, oh yes lovely but best for ‘em to be on their owns a bit. I was just speaking ta Old Ben.”

“Ben, Ben in your road?”

“No, Old Ben, you know Old Ben, the butcher.”

“Oh, Old Ben. Aye the butcher I know. Alright is e?”

“Well not really. E was tellin’ me e’s havin’ ta close.”

“Naw, not Old Ben. Up in the top road. Battersbys.”

“Aye, Battersbys. ‘Avin’ to close. Proper cut up about it ‘e is.”

“Well, I should think ‘e is. ‘Ow long ‘ave they been there. Crikey, it’s got to be well over ‘undred year. It were ‘is dad’s afore im.”

“Aye and ‘is grandad’s an’all. ‘Undred and seventy years ‘e reckons and now closin’ just like that.”

“Well, it’s a shame is that. Why though, why’s ‘e goin’”

“Just can’t keep goin’ anymore. Nobody goin’ in, not like afore. Everyone goin’ down ta Supermarket.”

“Aye that’s it in’t it. It’s a shame it really is. Me Gran used ta tek me in there y’know. Every Friday without fail. A nice joint for the weekend and some sausages for Saturday. Eh, it makes me proper sad.

“There were allus sawdust on’t floor and rabbits ‘angin’.”

“Aye I remember rabbits. Two to an ‘ook with the fur still on. An them eyes looking at ya. I remember that. Do you remember Christmas though. Full of turkeys and chickens. ‘Ams an’ all great ‘ams ‘anging from ‘ooks in’t roof.”

“Aye that’s it and blood dripping on sawdust. An that great choppin’ block and ‘is chopper. It ‘s not right is it?”

“E used to deliver as well. My mum she used to have a delivery every week. Lad on a bike used ta come with a great basket. Sausages, made ‘em ‘isself. Pork chops an’ braising steak. All wrapped in white paper. No prepacking , wouldn’t ‘ave it. Still doesn’t does e?”
“No, that’s it and then a bill once a week. It’s another nail in’t it?”

“Nail?”

“Aye another nail, in’t coffin. High Street now, nowt but estate agents and charity shops. I blame them in Whitehall.”

“Oh aye, definitely. They don’t care do they? When did they ever come to our High Street eh tell me that. Whole town dying, do they care no. That’ll only leave a bread shop and that just part of a chain. Nothing left. You could cry couldn’t ya?”

“Aye, well sorry to bear bad tidings and all that.”

Well, I think sommat should be done I really do. There should be a way to keep ‘em going. These little shops are special, they are. What is it going to look like, High Street when they’ve all gone eh? Government should do sommat, they should be forced to. Poor Old Ben eh.”

“Aye. Well that’s me are you comin’ up through town?”

“Us, no, no you go on. We’re in the car. Got money off vouchers for petrol from Tesco we’re gonna fill up afore we head back.”

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