You’ve read this before, but it was different.

(A customer walks in the door. A bell rings)

Doorbell: Tingley-tingley-tingley-ting!

(A sound-track of screams, shouts, and battle-cries plays softly in the background – well, as softly as screaming and shouting CAN)

Customer: Good morning.

Owner: Good morning, Sir. Welcome to the National CCG Emporium.

Customer: Ah, thank you, my good man.

Owner: What can I do for you, Sir?

Customer: Well, I was sitting in the public library on Thermokarst Street just now, skimming through a copy of ‘Rogue Kavu’ by Hugh Fullnight, and I suddenly came over all ‘Type 2.’

Owner: Type 2, Sir?

Customer: Standard.

Owner: Eh?

Customer (whining like an ungreased ‘nipple’): ‘Ee, I wanna ploy mi leegil cards, loike!

Owner: Ah! Constructed!

Customer: In a nutshell. And so I thought to myself: "A considered browse through multi-pocketed exhibitorial facilities will do the trick." So I curtailed by studying activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some desirable rares.

Owner: Come again?

Customer: I want to buy some cards.

Owner: Oh, I thought you were complaining about the Berserki player!*

Customer: Oh, heaven forbid! I am one who delights in all manifestations of the belligerent muse.

Owner: Sorry?

Customer: ‘Oooo, Ah lahk a narse toon, ‘yer forced to!

Owner: So they can go on bellowing, can they?

Customer: Most certainly! Now then, some in-print rares please, my good man.

Owner (lustily): Certainly, Sir. What would you like?

Customer: Well, eh, how about a little Urza’s Rage? Hammer of Bogardan?

Owner: I’m afraid we’re fresh out of red burn, Sir.

Customer: Oh, never mind. How are you on Orim’s Chant?

Owner: We never have them at the end of the week, Sir; we get a fresh batch in on Monday.

Customer: Tish, tish, no matter. Well, stout yeoman, four mint-condition Phyrexian Scutas, if you please.

Owner: Ah, they’ve beeeeeeeen on order, Sir, for two weeks. Was expecting them this morning.

Customer: ‘T’s not my lucky day, is it? Aah, Shivan Wurm?

Owner: Sorry, Sir.

Customer: Foil, alternative art Tahngarth?

Owner: Normally, Sir, yes. Today the van broke down.

Customer: Ah, Ertai the Corrupted?

Owner: Sorry.

Customer: Undermine? Absorb?

Owner: No.

Customer: Any foreign Edition Routs, per chance?

Owner: No.

Customer: Draco?

Owner: No.

Customer: Pyre Zombie?

Owner: No.

Customer: Rishadan Port?

Owner: No.

Customer: Lord of the Undead?

Owner: No.

Customer: Skizzik?

Owner (pauses): No.

Customer: Jade Leech?

Owner: No.

Customer: Blinding Angel?

Owner: No.

Customer: Foil Serra Angel? Vampiric Tutor? Coalition Victory? Misdirection? Teferi’s Moat? Tsabo’s Web? DCI Counterspell?

Owner: No.

Customer: Wrath of God, perhaps?

Owner: Ah! We have Wrath of God, yessir!

Customer (surprised): You do? Excellent!

Owner: Yessir. It’s …ah…a bit scuffed…

Customer: Oh, I like it scuffed – I’ll be playing it in a deck protector.

Owner: Well, it’s very weather-beaten, actually, Sir.

Customer: No matter. Fetch hither the mass removal spell of long-standing choice! Mmmwah!

Owner: I…think it’s a bit scruffier than you’d like it, Sir.

Customer: I don’t care how f**king scumbled it is. Hand it over with all speed.

Owner (regretfully): Awwwwwwwwwwwww…(pauses)

Customer: What now?

Owner: The cat’s eaten it.

Customer (despondently): Has he?

Owner: She, Sir .

(There is a pause)

Customer: Twilight’s Call?

Owner: No.

Customer: Reverent Mantra?

Owner: No.

Customer: Lin Sivvi?

Owner: No.

Customer: Japanese Questing Pheldagriff?

Owner: No, Sir.

Customer: You do HAVE some cards, don’t you?

Owner: Of course, Sir. It’s a card shop, Sir! We’ve got…

Customer: No, no – don’t tell me. I’m keen to guess.

Owner: Fair enough.

Customer: Uuuuuuuuuuhhhh, Darigaaz?

Owner: Yes?

Customer: Ah, well! I’ll have one of those!

Owner: Oh, I thought you were talking to me, Sir. Gary Daaz, that’s my name.

(There is another pause)

Customer: Kavu Furens?

Owner: Uh, not as such.

Customer: Kavu Titan?

Owner: No.

Customer: Obliterate?

Owner: No.

Customer: Teferi’s Response? Saproling Burst?

Owner: No.

Customer: Euro Land Set Three?

Owner: No.

Customer: Venezuelan Promotional Arena Creeping Mold?

Owner: Not TODAY, Sir, no.

Customer: How about an Island?

Owner: Well, we don’t get much call for them around here, Sir.

Customer: Not much ca – it’s the single most popular card in the world!

Owner: Not ’round here, Sir.

Customer (slight pause): And what IS the most popular card "round hyah"?

Owner (proudly): Parallax Wave, Sir.

Customer: Is it?

Owner: Oh, yes. Staggeringly popular in this manor, squire.

Customer: Is it?

Owner: It’s our number one best-seller, Sir.

Customer: I see. Parallax Wave, eh?

Owner: Right, Sir.

Customer: All right. Okay. "Have you got any?" he asked, expecting the answer "no"

Owner: I’ll have a look, Sir. (pause) Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-no.

Customer: It’s not much of a trading card shop, is it?

Owner: Finest in the district!

Customer (annoyed): Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

Owner: Well…it’s so clean!

Customer: It’s certainly uncontaminated by trading cards…

Owner (brightly): You haven’t asked me about Ankh of Mishra, Sir!

Customer: Would it be worth it?

Owner: Could be…


Owner: Told you, Sir.

Customer: (slowly) Have you got any Ankhs of Mishra?

Owner: No.

Customer: Figures. Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place. Tell me:

Owner: Yessir?

Customer (deliberately and carefully): Have you, in fact, got any Magic cards here at all?

Owner: Yes, Sir.

Customer: Really?

Owner: No. Not really, Sir..

Customer: You haven’t

Owner: Nossir. Not a scrap or trace of one. I was deliberately wasting your time, Sir.

Customer: (pulling a gun from his jacket) Well I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to shoot you.

Owner: Right-O, Sir.

The Gun: BANG!

Customer (exasperated): What a senseless waste of human life.


* Hence my elaborate introductory spiel about shouting, etc. These things take a lot of planning, you know!

** Just the one this week – hoorah! (pause) Oh, bugger.