A column of reminiscences from
Bendaton's oldest man, Alfred Buggery.
Shopping in Bendaton used to be a nice simple affair. Once a week we’d go down to Mr Canasta’s corner shop. He used to sell everything under the sun except for fruit, vegetables, fish, cigarettes, meat, bread, stamps, tinned goods, rubber products, magazines, newspapers, jam, sweets, matches, large items or feminine goods. He were a right modern shop keeper he was. He were the first man in the whole of Firkinside to do away with the old counter and let people help themselves to goods. He had trolleys and everything. Well, a trolley. There weren’t room for more than one trolley in his little shop. Most of the time it used to get wedged and I’d have to stand by it while Mr Canasta fetched the items from the shelves and then helped me get the thing free with some butter. He didn’t charge for the butter either. He were like that. Generous to a fault.
His wife used to run the slaughterhouse next door. I say wife, she were his second wife. His first wife discovered the joys of lesbianism while they were on holiday in Crewe and she went to live in a commune with a woman called Geoff. The second Mrs Canasta used to wield a knife like no woman I’ve ever seen before. She could separate a pig from it’s vitals quicker than you could say “I’m glad I’m not a pig”. It meant that the shop had a nice bloody smell about it. I’m not swearing by the way. We didn’t swear in those days – it were frowned upon. My old English teacher, Mrs Cuckfunt, used to tell me “Alfred – I want you to remember this advice as you may need to recount it to young people over a communication medium which doesn’t yet exist – a dirty word is a sign of a dirty mind and a dirty mind could easily end up with a brick of soap embedded in it so you watch your language.” I’ve never forgotten that and I’m… years old.
All good things come to an end though and Mr Canasta closed his little shop shortly after the old Bargainsave superstore opened on what used to be Farmer Oral’s farm. They did him right though – they bought his trolley off him for a fair price and offered him a job wiping down the shelves between two and six am every day except Sunday. He turned them down – he had his pride. Sadly the old Bargainsave burned to the ground shortly after it was opened. Constable Forkwitt senior said it looked like a case of arson but no one were ever arrested. The parish council passed an emergency resolution asking Mr Canasta to reopen his shop but he’d mysteriously vanished. Seven people died of starvation in the village before Bargainsave were able to open an Express store in what used to be Mr Canasta’s corner shop. But they were happy times.