Wednesday, November 08, 2006


‘Ah yes, but is that all it’s supposed to do?’ His gleaming eyes narrow all of a sudden, ‘As I pointed out, there weren’t any instructions in the bag with it, and it’s not immediately obvious how one is supposed to use it.’

That’s true. Items like the Spinetingler aren’t generally supplied with an operating manual. But then again, any red-blooded woman – or man – should know almost by instinct what to do with it. I get the feeling that Sir is just being deliberately obtuse. You get characters like this in the retail trade all the time, and it’s usually best for business to try and play along with them.

The customer is always right and all that stuff, don’t you know?

‘Perhaps a brief demonstration would help?’ he suggests, anticipating me. For a moment he purses his lips, and seems to find it difficult to meet my eyes. But then his broad face straightens again, and gives me a long, almost imperious look.

‘Of course, if you think so…’

‘Oh, I know so,’ he confirms with great authority, settling his large form more comfortably in the chair and tweaking at his long, unglamorous raincoat again. He seems to be making certain that it fully covers his lap.

‘Well, usually a young lady would tend to use this sort of item at night, in the privacy of her bed, or perhaps in her bath in the case of the waterproof version.’ I twist the bezel again, for effect. ‘But sometimes, of course, an armchair will do just as well.’

‘Do you often use it in an armchair?’ Sir enquires.