Once, I went into a Travelling Shop.
It was a second-hand bookshop. The bookshelves were in different sizes. The place had an old sort of feel to it – it was in an older building, down a mysterious lane in Dunedin, south of the Octagon, where only the bravest venture. There was dust, there were high windows. I was absolutely certain it hadn’t been there the last time I was in the area.
The best part was the owner. He had an old blazer, a scarf, and glasses, and I decided he was a Watcher because of how much he reminded me of Giles. In retrospect, he might also have been a Time Lord, or perhaps Aziraphael. He was drinking a cup of something, coffee or tea, and talking about philosophy with a man with a white beard.
I cannot remember interacting with him, but I must have, because I came out of there with a book. And I wouldn’t have stolen it. Steal, from a Travelling Shop? Madness. I bought Watership Down, a nice hardcover edition with a fold-out map. I’m sure I bought something else as well, but now I think on it I can’t remember what it would have been. I spent a lot of time looking through the old poetry books, half-listening to the men and their philosophy discussion, but I’m not sure I found anything there I wanted.
I went back there once more. The third time, it was gone. I had been pretty sure it was a Travelling Shop to begin with, because it just fucking appeared one day out of nowhere, but when it disappeared subsequently, I was convinced. It looked like nothing had been there. You couldn’t see in the windows. I had to go back and forth around the same handful of quiet streets, just to make sure I hadn’t got the wrong place. I’d dragged a friend along with me, and she was not impressed.
I’m glad I bought something, just to reassure myself the place was really there.