The Gweat Wed Dwagon And The Woman Clothed In The Thun
By The Walrus
© 2013 David Jasmin-Green
A muscular, heavily tattooed man with a scarred upper lip and funny looking teeth walked into Hickenbottom's Book Bonanza, a cluttered second hand book shop that also sold old paintings and prints. “Good morning,” he said. “Do you by any chance have a William Blake watercolour called The Gweat Wed Dwagon And The Woman Clothed In The Thun?”
“Clothed in the what?” said the man behind the counter, looking up from a yellowing copy of HP Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness.
“The thun, it's the star that our twivial little planet orbits awound.”
“Yes, I know what the thun is. I mean the sun. I do apologise Mr. erm.....”
“Dolarhyde, Fwancis Dolarhyde. I assume you are Mr. Chickenbottom, the pwopietor of this establishment?”
“It's Hickenbottom, Raymond R. Hickenbottom.” The old man ran his fingers through his unkempt grey hair, which he kept in a surprisingly difficult to maintain, couldn't care less, I've been dragged backwards through a thorn hedge Something About Mary style that a pretty female customer had recently said made him look like Albert Einstein. He was nurturing a bushy moustache to increase the likeness, though according to his wife only Colonel Blimp could mistake him for Einstein and he looked more like an electrocuted tramp.
“What does the 'r' stand for?”
“Aah, it would be Waymond Woger, wouldn't it? Are you taking the pith like in that widiculous Monty Python film?”
“No, I genuinely couldn't understand what you were trying to say, Mr. Dolarhyde, because of your, um, the barely noticeable speech impediment you were left with after the surgery you had on your cleft palate when you were a kid. Sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned that.....
I haven't got a bona_fide Blake, I'm afraid. Even a sketch by such a master would be worth an awful lot of money, you'll only find Blake's work in museums or private collections. There's a row of boxes of pictures under the bookshelves against the far wall, have a look through them, why don't you? I have a variety of paintings and prints, some of them dating from the Victorian period and a few that are quite rare, maybe you'll spot something else that takes your fancy. There's a nice gouache of a row of rampant roebucks and an oil painting of ruddy ducks on the Rhine.”
“I'm not intewested in wampant woebucks or wuddy ducks on the Whine. It's Blake that I'm intewested in, particularly the painting I've just mentioned. Money is no object, Mr. Chickenbottom, I'm willing to thpend, ooh, at least twenty five quid.”
“I don't care if you have a million notes to spend, young man, I still haven't got the bloody picture. Why don't you contact the National Gallery in London or maybe a local gallery, they should be able to supply you with a poster sized print.”
“I don't want a poster sized pwint, it would give me indigestion – I want the weal McCoy! I have to tear it up and eat it, pwefewably with a dash of mayonnaise, because the gweat wed dwagon of wevelation is the cweature that my pawanoid delusions insist I'm thlowly but surely twansmuting into and it's the only way I can completely absorb his awesome stwength. My shwink said I need a check-up from the neck-up, but what do doctors know? I thought maybe you keep the weally intewesting stuff tucked away in the back woom away from the genewal public's gaze.....”
“What sort of place do you think this is, you dick? You sound like a pervert slithering into a sex shop and asking the assistant if he has any films featuring midget lesbian nympho nuns on crystal meth and particularly well-endowed stallions. Why the hell would I keep the good stuff in a back room? I'm trying to run a business here, and if I had anything really rare or worth a fair bit of money it'd be in plain view where the few wealthy tourists that drop by in the summer can see it.
Have you, erm, been watching a film called Red Dragon by any chance, Mr. Dolarhyde? Do you avoid looking at yourself in mirrors? Hmm? Did you have a few problems with a domineering, infernally cruel relative when you were a child, perhaps?”
“No, what makes you thay that? Do you perchance have a gwimoire called The Necwonomicon in thtock, Mr. Chickenbottom?”
“Do I have a what called the what? And it's Hickenbottom, h-i-c-k-e-n-b-o-t-t-o-m, OK? How many times do I have to tell you?”
“A gwimoire, you thilly man, its an occult book, pwefewably a vewy, vewy old one, and it's cwammed with magical spells and potions and wituals and whatnot to make a perthon wich or good looking or supwemely powerful or whatever they damned well desire. The gwimoire I'm twying to get my hands on is called The Necwonomicon, it's by a mad Awab called Abdul Alhazwed. If you had it you'd know, because appawently it's bound in human thkin.”
“Aah..... I think you'll find that The Necronomicon doesn't actually exist. It was a figment of HP Lovecraft's macabre, some would say twisted imagination, I believe he first mentioned it in a story called The Hound in the early nineteen twenties, but there are of course a few fruit and nut cases who claim that he was referring to an actual book..... I did have a first edition copy of HR Giger's Necronomicon, a volume of airbrush paintings by an incredibly talented Swiss artist who deals with rather unsavoury subject matter, but I sold it the day before yesterday for a fair profit. Giger was the fellow who designed the monster and the sets in the film Alien.”
“I know who Giger ith, matey-peepth! And I don't want his thodding Necwonomicon, I alweady have a copy – I want the weal thing!”
“I'm sorry, buddy, I really can't help you. What are you gonna do, super-glue me to an antique wheelchair, bite my tongue out, set me on fire and wheel me down the slope of an underground car park? Have you tried Ricky Reardon's Bookstore next door, Ryan Rathbone's place around the corner or Rachel Rheanne Risotto's ramshackle establishment by the river?”
“Yeth, of course, I've twied Wicky Weardon's place, Wyan Wathbone's shop and sevewal other places with an unweasonable amount of letter r's, but though I had a stwoll by the wiver I don't wecall passing a shop owned by a Wachel Wheanne Wisotto, wamshackle or otherwise, you infuwiating little man. Maybe I will thuper-glue you to a wheel chair and thend you blazing down the thlope of an underground car park, Mr. Chickenbottom, you certainly deserve it. Good day, thir!”