Picking up witches

I was sitting with my book, reading, on a bench in the main railway station in Gothenburg. I was hoping to get a good long way into my book. The corner of my eye noticed the man coming to sit down next to me. I didn’t look at him, but felt that perhaps he had sat down slightly too close.

He turned to me and peered at the book.

‘Are you reading about love?’ he asked hopefully. He was foreign, and I only mention this because a Swede would not start a conversation quite like that.


I was my usual charming self, not wasting a single word on this idiot.

‘What is it about?’

‘Demons,’ I snapped.

‘Are you travelling to Stockholm?’ he wanted to know, presumably stumped by the demons.


He was sufficiently astute to decide to leave and try some other witch, on some other bench. There was no love to be got from me. Not even a travelling companion to Stockholm.

A big Thank You to Jon Mayhew for writing about demons, and not about love.

8 responses to “Picking up witches

  1. In Santa Cruz, demons would not be a deterrent at all. Quite the opposite.

  2. Perhaps he was a fallen angel looking for directions.

  3. I’ll have to count myself lucky that demons weren’t attractive to him. What ARE you like in Santa Cruz?

  4. This reminds me of an incident which occurred when I was working in a bookshop. There I stood behind the counter, wearing my Distinctive Bookshop Uniform and selling a book to a customer. Enter, stage left, a flustered looking gentleman. He approaches the desk and, as I slide a book into a plastic bag and hand it to the customer, enquires: “Do you work here?”
    With great restraint, I reply: “Yes.”
    He continues: “Where do you keep your books on love?” (He may have gazed soulfully into my eyes at this point. Or he may not. I forget). Ever the professional, I tried to think what he meant by ‘books on love’. Pornography? Men are from Mars, Women Etcetera?
    “Er – what sort of love?” I asked.
    “Platonic love.”
    Brief pause.
    “Um… you might find something in Popular Psychology?”
    And he went off, and I was left thinking: it’s a sad world when someone looking for love is directed to Popular Psychology, but on the other hand it did seem the quickest way of getting rid of him.

  5. He doesn’t sound anywhere near keen enough. In my youth I had to hide in all sorts of unlikely places. Some men have no taste at all.

  6. Surely the best approach with a bookseller is to buy a book and then say, ‘Have one yourself?’

  7. On second thoughts I feel the reply should be ‘on a shelf next to my bed’. Or would that invite the wrong reaction?

  8. Wrongish

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