...with a box of Burke & Hare and a box of Cancertown to make the tables a bit less bare.
This did not compute. Here was the guy we'd been led to believe was responsible for the whole no-show debacle, making an eight-hour journey on one of the hottest days of the year to do us a favour*. Not just that, but furious to no longer be part of the company from which he had supposedly wanted out. You do the math.
(* It's a curious thing, which I'd heard some people on the train discussing the day before. Although it's only about an hour and forty minutes by rail from Paddington to Temple Meads, apparently if you want to drive you have to go by a circuitous route that takes a great deal longer.)
Still, willingly or no, he was out, and he wanted rid of the stock he was holding. So Cy Dethan took responsibility for the box of Cancertown; and Martin, as Line Editor of the Vigil historical imprint the most senior Insomnia staffer available on the day, agreed to take charge of all Al's remaining copies of Burke & Hare - both the box he'd brought with him and a few more he had at home and would ship north later in the week - in order to stop internal company politics affecting ongoing promotion of the book.
Laden as I was already, there was no physical way I could carry home more stuff than I'd brought in the first place, but we managed to arrange a favour from friend and fellow exhibitor Dave "My Excess" Gordon, who took the extra books home in his car - intending to return them to us at the National Library of Scotland talk we had scheduled on the 3rd of June.
I stayed in Bristol that night, but Martin emailed Crawford when he got home to bring him up to date on events, and that's when all hell broke loose...