It's fair to say that since the 'News of the World' went south, there has been no better place to search for and eventually find 'all human life', than at the esteemed, uncluttered premises of Elias Sagtrouser. The characters which form the steady line of customers come from so many walks of life, that Gloriette has at her fingertips, the intimate details of more unpleasant charlatans than the House of Commons, more rogues than the list of bankers on over 250 grand, more philanderers than the pages of those tatty sleb mags, more f...(That's enough 'more thans', Scrobs - Ed)!
But she also knows much more about the nicer people in the building business, and again, the intimate details of these people are nestled in her laptop (not her personal one, I mean the one made by Dell, but lets stop this avenue of discussion NOW)!
In fact of course, the majority of all these customers would also be very keen to experience a bit more than just the fingertips, but Elias maintains a steady gaze on anyone who even considers thinking about the possibility of an encounter, and several leering well-wishers have been requested to look behind them to find one of the large dogs which roams the yard, is within biting distance of the well-wisher's now diminishing and shriveling accoutrements!
Now, all this changes when a certain customer enters the shop. The world stands still. You can even hear Meccano's Ipod blaring out some awful noise by his latest band, 'Crackplunger'.
Bessie Breakspear is an old school contemporary of Gloriette's, and indeed they are still reasonably good friends. What Bessie doesn't have in Gloriette's good figure and looks, she makes up with sheer personal, physical presence, and she can dominate the assembled throng at the bat of an eyelid. More unkind persons mention, that she is Breakspear by name, and Breakspear by nature, but this is not actually as true as weaker mortals have only themselves to blame for getting it wrong...!
Invariably she is accompanied by a man named 'Mossie', who is her labourer, because Bess works as a lorry driver for various firms, and she sometimes needs some muscle to help unload the various heavy items from her truck.
The main problem is that Bessie has always had a crush on, and holds the torch for, and still lusts after, Elias Sagtrouser. Her dominant attitude towards him can be broadcast in just one wink, which signifies that she wishes to gently lower him onto a few of the soft, bouncy rolls of fibreglass insulation, or even a pile of dust-sheets, or even let's face it, stand him up against the paint shelves for a passionate embrace and more besides.
But Elias stands firm, as he and his ever-loving wife made certain vows which they've maintained for over thirty years, and anyway, Gloriette is watching the proceedings like a hawk, or whatever the female word for a hawk is. Elias usually keeps his distance simply by standing at his till, and making sure that the money he collects is counted, and signed for. Most customers have accounts, but he is not averse to counting a wedge of tenners, and fitting these in the drawer in the till, and maybe, if nobody is looking, into his jacket pocket to count later...
Nobody knows why 'Mossie' is called 'Mossie'. Some say that his real name is Amos, some say that it's because he has the last Zapata moustache in Kent, or some say that he's just a thick twonk, but he is totally harmless. He also has a problem with his eyesight, in that his eyes flit very quickly from side to side when he is looking at you.
Now this flitting affliction is usually a nervous condition, but like Simon Templar describing his accomplice Hoppy Uniatz's brain as a loose collection of stray nerve endings which arrive somewhere inside his small head, it is more likely that Mossie is a few screws short of a kitchen cabinet, (or in Ikea's case, 'doink plurgs flit erf un krokleblenkenderbrilsoder'!) So, when he is looking at - say - Toniatteline, he is actually doing the flitting subconsciously, whereas most of the blokes who come in to the shop, are doing it for an entirely different reason, and when Gloriette is standing next to Toniatteline there is a positive blur of lots of eyes just whizzing from side to side in the presence of such enchanting accoutrements!
Anyway, Bessie walks to the till, Mossie is continuously flitting, and Gloriette starts to arch her back, (which is a full-fat, multi-flitting experience in itself).
"Morning Elias, you dirty, great, sexy man you", she starts, and Gloriette arches a little more, although she waves half a welcome to her old chum.
"Bess, it is indeed a pleasure to see you again", says Elias, firmly rooted to his till, and pretending to study an invoice. Mossie wanders over to the electrical goods, and picks up a big yellow electric drill.
"Mossie, put it back", says Bessie, without even looking over her shoulder, as she knows what he's up to by the small, irritating nasal sounds he emits when he's inspecting any new toys.
"Elias, I wonder if you could help he with finding some grommets for the flange on the Long Wheelbase please? The garage people are useless, and I know the ones you keep RIGHT OVER THERE, BY THE INSULATION, are a reasonable match"! says Bessie.
Mossie goes to another shelf, and takes down an electric saw. "Put it back Mossie", repeats Bessie.
"Bessie, I can't leave the till at the moment"' replies Elias. "There's a glitch on the account switch! Meccano knows all about them, so he'll help you"! Gloriette lessens her arch, and most of her acreage returns to amber alert.
"Meccano. Meccano?, MECCANO!", yells Elias, "Take those flippin' plugs out of your ears and show Bess the grommets will you!" Meccano meekly obliges, and to be fair to him, he does a certain amount of flitting at Bess, as she is a well-constructed lady in her own right. He lifts the flap on the counter and walks through to assist Bessie in her search for flange accessories. Of course, Toniatteline is watching all this, and as she always fears that Meccano could possibly get some of Bessie's attention as an after-thought, she arches a bit too, so both girls are at amber alert, and the small queue at the counter is starting to flit more than somewhat.
With one last sorry look of thanks at Elias, and no doubt despairing about yet another passionate opportunity thwarted, Bessie follows Meccano to the back of the shop, and as they vanish behind the nail shelves, the amber light raises to red alert on Toniatteline's arch, and Gloriette's returns to green. There is even a small squeak from out the back, and Toniatteline utters a yelp of dismay, but it is in fact only Mossie picking up and fiddling about with a petrol strimmer.
"Put it back Mossie", calls Bess, just as she reappears with Meccano, who has a box of grommets in his hand, which they sort out on the counter.
Just as they find the bits they want, Mossie appears pushing a huge wheelbarrow, and Bess just sighs heavily, turns round and loses her rag and shouts at him in desperation, "Mossie, take that bloody wheelbarrow back where you found it, you know bugger all about machinery...!"