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Customer Enquiries Part Two (The Emperor, Major Arcana Series) by Francesca Burke

From Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

To Mandy King (mandyk1968@gmail.com)

28th July, 8:03am.

Dear Mandy,

  Thank you so much for your email and my sincerest apologies for the delayed response. I have only had email set up for a few months and am still learning how to use it.

  I believe we have some items that may work for your mother. I have attached photographs of each item.

  The first is a set of magical notebooks, in which the owners can write messages on one page, and have the message appear in the corresponding notebook. Any pen or pencil ink will work. They retail at £40 plus postage.

   The second is a set of pocket mirrors—in Liberty print designs, I believe—into which you can directly see and hear the people in the other mirrors. They come in a set of three, so may be useful to your whole family? We’ve had them in the shop for some time as video messaging renders them a little obsolete, but that may appeal to your mother? They are priced at £85.

  Finally, I have two tin cans (salvaged, I am told, from 1940s London) into which one can speak and hear the person who is holding up the other tin can. Although they don’t sound exciting, you can see from the photograph that they have been painted quite exquisitely. The tins are priced at £40.

  Don’t hesitate to ask if you require any more information. I look forward to hearing from you!

Kindest regards,

Ernest Bezzina


From Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

To Church of Jesus (admin@churchofjesus.co.uk)

28th July, 8:25am.

  Dear Ms Beauregard,

  Thank you for contacting Bezzina’s. I have, in fact, heard of the Church of Jesus. I struggle to see what Jesus would support about a group that campaigns for the death penalty for women who choose to undergo abortions, promotes gay conversion therapy, and spends thousands of pounds of donation money on Facebook advertising claiming that coronavirus was sent from God to punish sinners. It’s been a while since I read the Bible back-to-back, though. Do let me know at which point Jesus specifies the above activities.

  Thank you for your concern about the state of my eternal soul, but I am not remotely worried it, nor about the souls of my customers. This is predominantly because I’ve seen far too much magic and suffering in the world to subscribe to the existence of a monothetic deity who is all-powerful and all loving but could not bring itself to stop, say, so-called religious leaders who use fear to build a cult. Another, lesser, reason is that I had a quick look at your website and according to a video posted by Mr van Aarle just a few weeks ago, the world is scheduled to end at some point in the next eighteen months. If we’re all going to shuffle off our mortal perches before the next election, then I really see no need to worry about the minutiae of what happens to my soul—especially as the Church of Jesus is very clear about what happens to LGBT men such as myself who have chosen to embrace our lifestyle rather than submit to ‘therapy’.

  On 19th September this year I will be trading as usual and Mr van Aarle is welcome to visit to look around the shop. I must warn you, however, that the sheer number of magical objects present might make attempting an exorcism rather like wearing platform heels on cobblestones after consuming half a bottle of Smirnoff. I’m sure Mr van Aarle has no experience in such things, of course.

  Have a nice day.

Best wishes,

Ernest Bezzina


From Mandy King (mandyk1968@gmail.com)

To Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

28th July, 8:39am.

  Hello Ernest,

  Thank you for getting back to me. I love the descriptions of all your items but I cannot view any images?

Best wishes,

 Mandy


From Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

To Chet Cooper (chettman123@gmail.com)

28th July, 8:48am.

Dear Chet,

  Thank you for your enquiry. We do have a couple of Ouija boards and some skulls in stock. We are open every day except Sunday from 8am to 6pm (we close at 1pm on Wednesday and open until 8pm on Saturday).

  I look forward to seeing you! Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any more questions.

Best wishes,

Ernest Bezzina


From Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

To Mandy King (mandyk1968@gmail.com)

28th July, 8:56am.

Dear Mandy,

  I do apologise! I believe I have now attached all the images. Technology, eh…

Best wishes,

Ernest


From Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

To Timothy Briars (t.briars@sky.com)

28th July, 9:15am.

Dear Mr Briars,

  You are not looking for Confederate or Nazi items for educational purposes but to take them to the next Black Lives Matter march in London. I know this partly because those of us in the antiques trade stay in touch via a newsletter and partly, well, because I am not an idiot.

  I sincerely hope that one day you learn to escape the cloud of ignorance and racism that currently engulfs you, and realise that the world is a much nicer place when you don’t think that most of the people in it are inherently inferior to you.

Warmest regards,

Ernest Bezzina

PS I’m taking it as a good sign that you came to my shop at all. If you’ve done your research, which I imagine you will have done as the historical and/or magical artefact community is fairly niche, you’ll know that Bezzina’s Emporium was founded by an immigrant and is now run by a yoga enthusiast who was once interviewed for a documentary about his LGBT rights activism in the Essex and the South East. If you’re as bigoted as your enquiry suggests, I don’t imagine you love that last sentence. So for you to willingly consider shopping at my establishment, you must be finding it rather difficult to procure the items you require. I take that as an encouraging sign that the remaining artefacts from those eras of history have been placed into a museum as tools for teaching people how not to end up like you.


From Mandy King (mandyk1968@gmail.com)

To Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

30th July, 3:05pm.

  Hi Ernest,

  Thank you for those lovely options. I have shown them to my family and we would like to choose the set of three compact mirrors, with the Liberty print design. We think they are just what Mum would use, and they’ll go fabulously with the silk scarf we’ve bought her!

  Please let me know your bank details at your earliest convenience and I will pay straight away. My address is:

Mandy King, 21 Nith Street, Glasgow, G1 2EG.

Best wishes,

Mandy


From Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

To Mandy King (mandyk1968@gmail.com)

31st July, 9:02am.

Dear Mandy,

  I’m so pleased you like them! I’ve attached an itemised invoice with my bank details, due in seven days. As soon as the invoice is paid, I’ll get them sent up with the Royal Mail Tracked & Signed option.

Best wishes,

Ernest


From Church of Jesus (admin@churchofjesus.co.uk)

To Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

31st July, 9:34am.

Dear Mr. Bezzina,

  Mr van Aarle will visit your shop on Saturday 19th September as planned, and he will likely bring several assistants and possibly a film crew.

  On a personal note, I’ll be praying for you.

Best wishes,

Katherine Beauregard

General secretary, Church of Jesus Essex Branch

Our next service: https://churchofjesus.co.uk/services

Watch our pastor live online: https://facebook.com/churchofjesusuk


From Ernest Bezzina (bezzinasemporium@outlook.com)

To Church of Jesus (admin@churchofjesus.co.uk)

Dear Ms Beauregard,

  I very much appreciate your prayers; as my yoga teacher says, we can all use some ‘good vibes’ these days. I will burn some healing herbs for you.

Kindest regards,

Ernest


Thanks for reading! I rarely write email/letter-esque stories and I always forget they’re hugely satisfying. Please consider sharing these stories with anyone you think might enjoy them!

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Copyright © 2020 by Francesca Burke

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

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