“The piano has been drinking
Not me, not me, not me…”
– Tom Waits
It was a trick of sorts.
Magic, but only in the modern sense of the word.
That is, it was an illusion, a conjurer’s flourish of the hand, yet it startled and confused us in a way no hidden coin or false bottomed hat could ever have done. Impressive enough to have been performed only by a top conjuror, it seemed to me, yet ridiculously mundane because of the audience for whom it was performed and because the odd subject of the ruse.
Yet Martin, the trickster behind it, my friend of many years, claims it wasn’t even a trick at all.
The magic was real he reckons.
Not real in the conjuring sense, with hidden compartments and misdirection, with levers and mirrors, but real as in the sort of nonsense Harry Potter could have done. Or, even, real in some scientific sense which has grown out of watching too much Star Trek and Doctor Who, something about wormholes and subspace; a dive down the rabbit hole.
“Look,” he told us, still tells us, “space is nothing right? Atoms filled with nothing? Well I accidentally found a way through the gaps. I didn’t try to, it just happened.”
Why he thinks we would listen to anything said by a library assistant with an overactive imagination and an underactive thyroid is beyond me; or it isn’t really, because although I know it’s another facet of the scam, a diversion from letting us see how he performed the trick, but the how of it bothers me immensely.
One day, when we’re a bunch of old farts scrunched into the backroom of The Bell in Romford for the fortieth year running, maybe he will let us know how he did it. Let us know that he did it. Admit it was a trick. I for one need him to admit it was an illusion.
Maybe when one of us finally kicks the bucket, he’ll reveal all to the others down the pub, but for the moment, when we go back to that night, when we plead and cajole for him to pull back the curtain and show us where he hid the mirrors, he just says, “it was real. I’m not that good.”
A good conjuror sticks to his story; makes you question the fabric of the world and realise the fragility, and malleability, of vision.
Don’t believe your eyes.
A dog’s eyes see two colours, a mix of blue and yellow, beamed from the two colour receptors in their brains; humans have three receptors which blend to produce all the colours of the rainbow; the mantis shrimp has twelve. You have to wonder how much there is in the world which can’t be seen by us.
For now Martin sticks to his story though, and is so convincing that Alan has started defending him, saying that it must be true, quoting that thing from Sherlock Holmes about eliminating the impossible to be left only with the improbable.
“So, it must be true,” says Alan who, in my opinion, is not the brightest member of our group.
What do I remember of the trick?
I recall a drunken Friday night.
Boys Night. Missus home with the kids. Saturday was family night, or sometimes it was get-rid-of-the-kids and night-club or restaurant night. We all settle into a routine eventually, or most of us do, and Friday: Boys Night was part of mine. The highlight of my week. Even now.
Three hours in The Bell, talking nonsense about the week and the footie.
It was ninety-seven and the Hammers were having a dismal year, which dominated much of our conversation, and Alan was mouthing off about some bird in his office who he was certain fancied him, before we all moved onto the Curry Kingdom for Chicken Tikkas, Lamb Baltis and Bombay Potatoes followed by an unsteady wobble on the last mile home.
Simple pleasures for simple men.
Sometimes on these nights Martin would tell us about one of the customers in the library who he reckoned had a crush on him, but we always laughed him down.
Hardly a beacon of sexuality your average librarian, but he insisted that there were some out there who went for the weedy intellectual type; looking for love between the book shelves, and after walking for an age, batting insults back and forth, we’d reach Chadwell Heath and the High Street, ready to divert off onto the final segments of our journeys alone.
Usually at some point en-route we’d feel the press of Carlsberg against insides of our bladders and would take the opportunity to relieve ourselves down alleyways, or against fences, keeping back from the street, hiding in the limited privacy of the shadows.
Yes, I know it’s disgusting, but we’re men and we all did it.
We still do, our aging bladders even less resilient these days.
Martin didn’t do it.
Martin had what he described as a shy bladder.
Alan regularly asked if that was code for ‘small cock’ and we always laughed because after a night in the pub even the stupidest joke is genius, but Martin insisted he just couldn’t wee in front or alongside other men, and so his habit was to use the Superloo outside ‘Birdshit Park’, which I’m sure has a real name I’ve never taken the time to learn.
We all used the Superloo sometimes, mainly if you needed a number two, escaping the orange streetlamp glow to do your business enclosed by dappled, bleach cleaned aluminium walls, hoping the door wouldn’t malfunction and swing open whilst you were sat there.
Once, Fat Kev fell asleep in there and after fifteen minutes or so was awoken by us lot laughing at him as the door slid open, but I think it was the only time it happened, and it couldn’t honestly be called a malfunction, more of a failsafe.
Mostly, when someone’s in the Superloo we all wait for them, sitting or leaning about, the oldest gang in Romford, to wait for them to finish; on mild nights anyway, a short break on the long walk home.
I liked to sit across the road on the bench facing the bog, and if you’re waiting for Martin he’s generally prompt in his doings, so there’s no great hardship, and the company is pleasant and literate on the remainder of the journey.
For anyone reading this who is unclear on the whole Superloo concept, and they do seem to be less common these days, and I should probably describe the contraption.
They look like an escape pod from some hoary old sci-fi programme, but instead of offering space adventure, they provide a relatively clean facility for anyone not wanting to dodge desperate homosexuals in the public bog once you get back into town.
All this for only twenty pence, which you dropped into the angled slot to make the curved door slide open like something out of Star Trek. When you step inside one of these capsules you’ll discover the resemblance to a space-pod remains undiminished.
All gleaming metal and strip lights, the door slides closed behind you with a hiss to leave you to your needs. Then, at the end of your visit to Captain Kirk’s bathroom you click the handle down and the door eases back open.
To reveal: us.
Sitting, standing, staring, at you.
Some nights, shifting from foot to foot, urgently awaiting our turn.
From our perspective, viewing this scene, then as now, you can’t see the back of the facility, as it is squashed tightly into a solid brick alcove, against the semi-derelict remains of an old insurance firm behind.
The perfect locked room set-up.
No possible escape. Sure a person could detach panels and climbs through the mechanism, but how he could then re-tighten the screws and disguise his exit I have no idea. Plus we’d have seen him. The wall behind the Superloo stood and stands tall and solid. Both sides of the facility were clearly visible, so even if he had found a way out through the panels and the wires and the mechanisms before covering his traces, we would have seen him sneaking out.
We’d sat looking at the toilet the whole time, for a good twenty minutes at least, before the safety release automatically triggered the door to reveal the interior.
“Oy oy!” Alan shouted as the door eased open, “someones’s fallen asleep.”
Alan had been closest to it, and had hammered on the door at least three times for Martin to both wake and hurry, and had been giggling about the state of Martin to have fallen asleep like this.
“Teach him to bloody laugh at me,” Fat Kev mumbled as he half dozed on the bench, “show us ya cock, Martin!”
As the door swung open we ambled over to see if he needed help, and to cheer him awake, but as we discovered, he was no longer there.
Only the vacancy awaited us.
We took crowded in and took turns in banging at the walls and calling him, and all agreed it was some sort of a trick, bafflingly clever, especially when measured against his usual standards, usually things with coins or cards, but nothing like this.
He had completely disappeared and despite our pleas would not re-appear that night.
It was back before mobiles, or back before everyone had them, and we didn’t want to worry his missus, so we left it for the night and walked off down the long road home.
My doorbell tinkled at about five the next day, just after watching Arsenal snatch the league and I invited him in with a guffaw and a hug, before demanding to know where he’d been and how he’d done it. Devious bastard.
“Definitely beats card tricks or strings of handkerchiefs,” I laughed, “Come on, you git, I mean, sod the magic circle, you have to tell.”
He paused, gazing shakily around my front room at the missus’ fairy ornaments and my signed David Beckham photo on the telly and shuddered before speaking.
“I don’t know how I did it,” he told me, with a pleading look in his eyes, “but I had a right night of it.”
“I – I just don’t know.”
“How do you do a magic trick and not know how to do it?” I asked, “come on, spill.”
“It wasn’t a trick. Not mine anyway.”
“I – I’m, just not that good,” he said, “it’s like this.”
I was sitting there on the cold plastic rim of the bog and took a dump, or whatever, and then finished off. Washed my hands with a dribble of pink soap from the machine, then dried them with the warm blast which follows. My hands were still damp and I dried them on my jeans before tugging the door to step out.
At first I thought you lot had just buggered off and left me since there was no sign of you – fair enough you’ve all homes to go to – so it took a moment before I registered the change in location, the warm breeze and the scent of flowers. Yes, I know you don’t believe me, but every word is true.
I don’t care.
But this is the truth, and if you ignore it then you are ignoring one of the most miraculous things in the universe. True unexplainable magic. I know it seems unbelievable, but I have to explain.
Firstly, understand that my conjuring skills extend no further than a selection of well-rehearsed, ready-made, tricks and illusions,
Pulling out garish flowers to impress birds down at The Bell, not that it really works; more useful for pulling coins from behind the ears of gullible children; picking pockets of the absent minded or easily distracted. A strong sleight of hand, but nothing original or even pretending to be.
This was something different; for you I disappeared, but for me the world swayed and I stood on an unfamiliar street struggling for a sense of my bearings.
Gazing around I reckoned I was standing downstream from the Ministry of Sound, all the way over in Southwark, sound thumping in the distance.
It took a moment to regain my bearings. Most places look so similar now, and there was a second when I realised the Dixy Fried Chicken I was staring at was different to the franchise in Romford.
I walked into a toilet in one part of London and out in another part entirely, and as I tried to regain my bearings I noticed a young lady observing me fiercely, approaching rapidly, examining me, before slapping me with a sobering left hand.
“Where is he?” she screamed at me, as I stumbled backwards clutching my face, “where is he?!”
After maybe five minutes of this she began to calm down a little and explained how her boyfriend had gone into this Superloo around ten minutes ago, but instead of her beloved I had stepped out.
For a while we sat together on a low garden wall; me trying to focus, to tune in to my new surroundings, she silently glaring at the convenience. Waiting for a boyfriend who would never arrive.
After about ten minutes or so she announced she was going back in to find him, and despite my protestations about the quality of this idea, she was insistent and was gone. I wondered if she’d made it, followed his path, and after a few minutes the door swung open to reveal the empty cubicle, so I decide to see if it could work for me too.
I plunged back in, hoping to beam back to Romford, but instead of the return journey I found myself stepping out into the footprint of Saint Pauls Cathedral.
Did you know there’s a Superloo at Saint Pauls, in sight of the cathedral? Planning nightmare. Snuggled up against one of the walls like a toilet TARDIS.
I’ve been to Saint Pauls before, of course, but only during the the day and had no idea how beautiful it was at night all spot-lit and dramatic.
A speck of brightness in a dark night. A magical palace; austere hangout of the gods. I laid on a bench and examined the Portland stone walls as they followed the vanishing point up into darkness and nothing.
It was warm last night, even that late, and the air in the city, free of breeze in the centre, hung about me like a blanket and I dozed a while, listening dreamily to drunks arguing about something in the distance, only beginning to re-awaken as a crowd of Japanese tourists massed about me and started taking pictures of me on my bench. There I lay, forming part of the rich tapestry of their holiday in London, and I watched them walk off chattering and laughing in a high pitched language I didn’t understand.
I lay back down. The beer and the warmness of the night turning the hard wood of the bench into the softest, most comfortable mattress beneath my tired bones. Maybe, I thought, I could just stay here…
Two rough hands grabbed me and began shaking.
I half expected the police, ready to drag me off to a night in the cells for being drunk, or at the very least to move me on for vagrancy, but it was the girl again, still minus her boyfriend, and she told me the Superloo had beamed her right across London, but that somehow she’d found herself back here where she had spotted me and wanted to tell me it was possible to use the Superloo to get back home, if I wanted.
“I could end up anywhere, from what you’re saying.”
“True, but it’s either that or the night-bus.”
I asked her what she planned to do.
“Keep looking I suppose,” she responded, “and if he doesn’t show, then I’ll night-bus it home myself to wait for him. Maybe a Superloo will drop me nearer home. I just want to know he’s okay.”
“It might be better if you just head home yourself now, on the bus, wait for him there,” I suggested, “a woman out on your own, late at night. Not so safe.”
“I’ll be okay,” she said, popping twenty pence into the slot and heading off to her next random, or seemingly random, destination.
Recalling the sharp smack she’d administered on our first encounter, I figured she probably would.
The night-bus. Squashed in with all the other Friday night drunks. Dodging fights and vomit. It didn’t much appeal. But I wish I had taken that route home. Unfortunately, in my foggy state of mind I decided to take the magic door. Without the slightest idea where it would deliver me.
To be fair, I only had about forty pence left from my night out and didn’t fancy trying to persuade a bus driver ‘to help a fella out’. I had no more twenty pees though, so no way of opening up the cubicle. I could go looking for change, but I worried there was a risk the magic might wear off.
No chance of that in hindsight. Not last night.
Wherever you were in London that night, whatever Superloo you entered, it was primed to play this metaphysical gag on you.
Why? Who knows?
Maybe God and Einstein got drunk up in heaven and decided to chop up space-time as a prank.
It should be huge news, this prank, yet because of when it happened, late Friday night, when the cities drunks would be the only witnesses to the event, the strangeness will go largely unregarded, for who wants to listen to the outlandish ramblings of drunks? I’ve looked in the newspaper. Not even the hint anything strange occurred.
Rather than risk losing the magic I stayed put, hoping to catch a passing stranger and swap some of my change for the correct coinage, but whilst I sat waiting the Superloo hissed and the door swung open and a young couple piled out, giggly and laughing, amused, then bemused as they tried to comprehend their surroundings.
I had no time to explain. No desire to try to explain the strange metaphysical connectivity of the Superloo network. Even as I say that phrase it sounds ridiculous, but it’s what happened.
So I pushed past them before the door could close and pressed the button to shut the exit behind me.
The meaty odour of sex and Dettol hung in the air.
From talking to the Girlfriend I knew that it was possible for me to travel anywhere across London, somewhat erratically, by simply opening and closing the door, and following this exposed a slide show of the city, resolving that if I didn’t end up near home soon I would exit at the first busy looking area to beg change for the night bus.
I pulled open the door onto maybe 30 locations, but mostly had little or no idea where I was, and at no point recognised anywhere near home.
Then I opened the door find someone waiting to use the loo, a tourist, backpacker, Nordic type, and even though I knew this slideshow method might land me right in the end, I stepped out and allowed him to make use of the facility.
I was tempted to just pull the door shut rather than risk a hunt for loose change, but felt vaguely embarrassed in front of the stranger, clearly desperate for the toilet, even though I’d probably never re-encounter him again; I had no desire to appear strange before him.
One day I’ll be a grown up and unconcerned about the judgement of strangers, but I’m not there yet.
I politely stepped out, and allowed him to move into his own journey, then again glanced about my new surroundings.
Just down the road a policeman leant against some railings, and although I might have been able to solicit change from him, in exchange for the coins in my pocket, I am, like most people, slightly agitated in the presence of police uniforms and I knew, surrounded by a fog of alcohol as I was, he was rendered unapproachable.
Someone once said the ones who feel no guilt in the presence of the law are the unlawful, but I’m guessing even they would be feeling a little vulnerable if they were drunk and being space warped around London. So I decided to walk past him and find a new Superloo and spare change elsewhere.
This policeman was of the appropriately tall variety.
I know they reduced the height restrictions for very proper multicultural and political reasons, but I quite liked the days when the Police loomed over you like giants. I recall an image of my Dad, not a tall man, if you recall, but not tiny, when I was a little boy; he was massive to me then, as all fathers are to their young children, but he looked up at a Policemen he’d asked for directions in the manner of a hobbit questioning an orc.
The policeman studied me as I approached and passed, and I nodded nervously to him as I shuffled by. I didn’t recognise my surroundings, but I guessed correctly I was somewhere off Soho, and set off in search of change with which to continue my journey.
I passed night vendors and bars which seemed too sleazy to venture into, and settled instead upon a nice Greek woman in a little all night newsagents off of Frith Street to exchange a ten and two fives for a twenty, then ten minutes later I stepped into the Superloo outside ‘Les Mis’.
Again after I stepped inside and pulled the door closed, opening and closing the door as if I were playing a slide show of the seedy side of London; but still got no nearer home, until, after about twenty different scenes I opened the door onto the very Soho street I had so recently vacated. Not only this, but the policeman who had stood tall nearby was now directly in front of the door waiting to make use of the facility himself.
Much to his surprise and obvious irritation I slammed the door back closed, and when I reopened it I looked at out onto Watford, onto yet another Dixy Fried Chicken Shop and a dodgy looking nightclub closing up for the night.
Ridiculous, I thought, and resolved that if or when I found myself in a busy part of town I would beg my bus fare home, and then begin a routine journey back home on the drunk-bus and for about twenty minutes I danced eclectically back and forth across London. But not once did I step back into my part of suburbia or even anywhere close.
Then it all went wrong. I opened the door on to a busy street at last, one which I now knew only too well, gawking up into the face of a now extremely indignant policeman giant, who had already forced his boot into the doorway before I could slam it shut for a second time.
“Fucking little shit,” he shouted poking me hard in the chest, “playing silly buggers with me are you? You little prick. Did you think this might be a nice place to sleep? Cosy little hole to curl up in rest your drunken pisshead skull? Well don’t worry you’ve got somewhere now you little sod. It’s more spacious than this, but funnily enough smells even more strongly of piss and vomit.”
I did consider giving my odd version of events, but figured that with this ammunition he would probably have me committed.
There are worse places than a drunk tank I decided, knowing with my creeping exhaustion I would certainly sleep regardless of surroundings.
I soon discovered then there were indeed far worse places than the drunk tank and that one of these was being handcuffed to a railing outside a Soho toilet waiting for an arresting officer who even now was probably wandering around Croydon, dazed and confused, and wondering how to explain his situation to his Duty Officer.
I had tried to persuade him that it’d be safer to lock me in custody up first, but he told me to “belt up” since he’s been waiting for too long outside this ‘fucking toilet already’, to not now relieve himself.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” he told me.
And that was that me. Locked to a wrought iron railing at two in the morning in the middle of London.
I felt unsafe to say the least. Rather worried for my health. As much as I could I lowered my coat sleeve over the cuffs to try and conceal my obvious vulnerability, quickly losing any hope my policeman had just beamed round the corner.
After about an hour of avoiding the glances of passing crowds, trying to look nonchalant, I spotted a girl staring at me from the corner. Sixteen or seventeen maybe. Dressed for clubbing by the look of it. Sober looking though, and watching me hawkishly.
I returned her gaze she approached me.
“Blow job, Thirty, full sex, Fifty. Anything else negotiable.”
I decided to take the trusting approach and ask for help, showing her the cuffs and offering an invented explanation. I told her I was getting married in a couple of weeks and that my idiot best man thought this was funny. Play the sympathy vote. My hooker with a heart of gold. “Please help me.”
Like Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places.
“I’ll get my boyfriend,” my tart with a heart told me suspiciously, and thirty seconds later he’d appeared.
A small but solidly built man with pinkish skin and bottle blond hair wearing a flamboyant green check suit appeared from the shadows of a doorway, and made his way along the street. He appeared to have styled himself after the stereotypical nineteen seventies American pimps and made his way along the street with an ambling flamboyant gait which could have been lifted directly from a scorsese film, and he examined my trapped wrist carefully, tugging at the cuffs, before withdrawing a massive machete from inside his suit.
“What’s that for?” I asked in a panic, desperately assuring the man that there were numerous preferable ways to assist my escape from my predicament, none of which involved the removal of a hand.
“Nah,” he said, “what yaa got?”
Sensing I was confused at the question he then ordered me to first remove my rather expensive watch and then directed his girlfriend to empty the credit cards from my wallet.
“You’re not helping me them?”
“Heh, and spoil the fun?”
He turned to walk away and had made it a few feet when a new thought clearly occurred to him, and he rolled back round, peering at me, seeing me anew. Pinning my free arm with one hand and he forcibly removed my shoes, trousers and, to my utmost terror, my underwear with the other.
Leaving me half naked in Soho; the most embarrassing half as well, exposed to the night’s warm air, which now felt far less warm.
While he’d helped me out of my clothing he became very insistent I seriously chastise my friends next time I see them, and that the next time they chain a groom to a railing they “need to do it properly, blood.”
Then he wandered off with the girl, cackling, in search of more dodgy dealings no doubt, or maybe to see how much they could spend on my Barclaycard before I cancelled it.
I prayed for death, a quick and painless death, rather than this humiliation.
Mostly the passing strangers just laughed at me, although on one occasion a woman in her early twenties pulled a Polaroid out and started taking photographs of the amusing scene. Certainly no one thought to help. I was part of the night’s entertainment.
I figured this was too public for even the most brazen rapist to molest me, but these sorts of fears also lingered, however, those passing who seemed they would might have been inclined to this sort of thing mostly just made lewd comments about my predicament, as the cooling air grew even colder with embarrassment.
I’d grown extremely sober by this point and decided there was no option but to begin pleading with the passers by for assistance, but the only effect of this was to make the general levels of amusement even more raucous, or did until, one kind woman peeled off of a group, and wrapped up my embarrassment in a kind of shawl, which when draped round my waist made me look as though I was wearing a skirt.
This being Soho; I could cope with skirt wearing.
If it’s good enough for Beckham, I thought, then I suppose I can live with it.
However, it didn’t help that I was still attached to the railing and I asked the Samaritan with the shawl if she could call the police for me.
There was a hiss, and the Superloo re-opened.
I prayed it would be the Policeman, but instead an Italian man stepped out and started exclaimed rapidly in his mother tongue, presumably expounding his confusion, then with a shrug which suggested he had made the mistake, easier to accept than magic toilets, I suppose, and he made his way into the still bustling night.
I decided to try and outline a version of the truth and explained to my Samaritan I had been arrested then abandoned by a policeman, and she agreed to call the police from a nearby phone box and was about to leave when the door whooshed open again and this time the Policeman stepped out looking startled.
He sidled over to me. Looking shifty.
“Er,” the ‘Er’ was long and cautious, “why didn’t you say it did, that?”
“You’d have listened to me, then? or assumed I was even drunker than you’d thought?”
“Fair point,” he answered, pulling his keys and undoing my bonds, then noticing my current state, “where did your trousers go? And your pants? And – everything? Where’d you get that skirt? What the bloody hell have you been up to.”
“The night attacked me,” I explained, shooting the policeman an exasperated look, “a not so friendly pimp took them and my watch, after you abandoned me here. I wasn’t in much of a position to argue.”
The officer pulled a face which expressed a mix of guilt and embarrassment.
“Anyway, on your way,” adding as an afterthought, a reluctant, “Sir.”
“Looking like this?” I gestured to my skirt.
“I’m afraid so, Sir. Want money for the bus?”
He rummaged in his pocket and handed over enough for the bus, along with a couple of more twenties pees, in case I wanted to “risk the bloody TARDIS again,” then he strode away, clearly pretending he’d never seen me or my condition.
I was left with the Samaritan who wrote her address on the back of an envelope, “send me the scarf after you get home – wash it first though,” she instructed, and then I was left alone, as she and her friends wobbled off down the road.
I looked at the money and decide to ride the Superloo one last time, after all the hassle I actually did need to go again, so I entered, lifted my skirt to do my business, then turned to re-open the door, finally stepping out of our Superloo, just a mile from home.
You lot were long gone, of course, so you didn’t get to see me in a dress, and no sign of police or trouble lurked outside. The pavement felt cold and hard against my bare feet and from time to time I had to stop to pick fragments of glass out of them, but eventually I made it home, opening the door with the spare key I keep above my door.
“And that is the end of my story,” holding up a soft looking parcel, addressed to a Samantha Lane, “I’m off to post this back now. I can’t explain it, but it definitely happened, and it wasn’t a magic trick, it was a magic reality. Or maybe a science experiment, aliens playing games with the mice. Maybe God does play dice with the universe, and thought it would be enormous fun to link up every Superloo in London. Whatever it was, I’m never going into another Superloo again.”
He’s remained true to his word to this day, and from that night on as we pass the Superloo on the way home, he waves a hand and refuse to wait, hurrying his shy bladder home.
Now, I’m certain, this was a trick, but like all the best magic I don’t know how it was done.
What I do know, after I’ve emptied four or five pints of Bulmers into the metal toilet bowl and turn to put my hand on the lever to pull open the door, I momentarily wonder if it is true, and if adventure lurks on the other side of the door.
Thanks to http://www.1001freefonts.com/from_cartoon_blocks.font for the cover font and AnthonyGibbons for the sea of holes cover image and https://openclipart.org/detail/25156/aiga_toilets_bg-by-jean_victor_balin for the toilet image.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story and I hope you will forgive the odd typo or grammatical error that slips through. Feel free to tell me about any you find via @edgarmillion . As much as I try to proofread everything, I know I miss errors here and there, and I’ll remove them if you tell me.
There are e-reader friendly versions on smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/488562