'Nell carefully swept the floor of her grandfather's curiosity shop in West London with a broom, West London with a broom being the unfashionable part of that city, and sighed to herself.
For she was only 14 but always curious about things and wanted to know why the British had put so much effort into defeating Napoleon Bonaparte, and why Tottenham Hotspur would never really achieve anything no matter how many top quality players they had. 'Why oh why oh why oh why?', she thought to herself, 'why?', when her grandfather came into the shop.
'Nell', he said, 'I have decided this shop needs to sell books', and he was carrying a box full of them, 'so put these up on the shelf while I go to the bookies and get a treble down on the geegees', and Nell put down her broomstick and opened the box.
'The Future History of World War One' by H. G. Wells she saw in it, and 'How The Soldiers of The Mightiest Nation In The World Waste Their Time Losing Wars' by George Wise Bushmill. There was also 'A Beginner's Guide To Writing Satire for Englishmen' and 'A Beginner's Guide To Taking Yourselves Too Seriously (USA edition)', and a tiny book called 'America's Achievements Since 1776', which had no pages in it.
As she was such a curious girl Nell began looking through the books, when the door opened and a tall man came in. 'Good morning', he said to her, 'I am Franklin Pompous Aardvark the Fifth', and she recognised his American accent from listening to her grandfather's transistor radio set. 'I have won this shop from your grandparent after beating him in a game of poker, and there are going to be a few changes around here', and Nell wondered what he meant by that.
'As I am American I have no curiosity about the world or about history, and will be teaching my children a black and white and very childish view of that world. Which basically is - everything America does is perfect and the best and mighty and successful and wonderful and makes Americans very very proud of it all. And we'll pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist, and hasn't already done everything Americans are now doing hundreds of years before them.'
'Now take those confounded books and throw them in the bin, the only reading on sale in this shop will be CNN and ABC comic books!', and Nell took the box out to the back while the American started to paint the words 'Lack of' onto the shop's sign that had 'The Old Curiosity Shop' written on it.
But Nell sat down on an old tatty Constitution that was lying outside the back door, long since broken and useless, and began to read 'A Beginner's Guide To Taking Yourselves Too Seriously (USA edition)' to see if she could understand what the new shop's owner was talking about.
She couldn't understand why people didn't want to learn new things and about history from books, unless they were scared to find out that what they had been brought up to believe in as children was all untrue. 'The USA was created by England', it said, 'as a colony mainly for English people to move to, often to escape religious persecution and intolerance, and because they were crybabies that couldn't stay in England and actually try and change things for themselves.'
'And at first they created a colony of freedom and equality that was a great improvement on England, with its endless wars and religious persecution and corrupt laws, and even worse being next door to the Scots and the Welsh.'
'And 'the land of the free' seemed a very good idea and attracted many decent people from England and then Europe. But not all the people arriving their were so nice, for many who were frankly murderers and thieves and worse were also soon arriving in America, people that the British and Europeans were quite glad to get rid of.'
'And such people soon created 'the Wild West', and large parts of America were now inhabited by psychopathic deviants and bank robbers with little brains and were the worst sort of lowlifes on the planet. And naturally such people had no interest in the common good or being told what to do, but then the Industrial Revolution began in England.'
'Eventually the Americans, who had farcically declared 'independence' from Britain in 1776 but have changed absolutely nothing in America at all ever since, had their own factories and other things copied from England, and as they had no dangerous neighbouring countries like France or Germany to deal with they soon became the wealthiest country in the world.'
'But in the 1800s America had adopted the Monroe Doctrine, to ensure that it would never get involved in any pointless European or worldwide wars or waste their wealth on them, plus apart from anything else the very nature of being American - having freedoms in a huge country with no real problems - meant that Americans didn't have a military or warlike nature.'
'But the British had long decided to trick the American into using their wealth in British wars, though when World War One began -' and Nell hadn't heard of that war - 'the USA correctly refused to fight with Britain against Germany for three years.'
'Until the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill ordered a British submarine to sink the S.S. Lusitania near Ireland, killing thousands of American passengers, and then blaming it on the Germans, and at last the American joined in the war.'
'Of course their soldiers were unimportant and actually made things worse for the British and French, as the Germans simply increased their efforts to deal with them after they arrived, but it was the supplies that were needed from the USA, the soldiers were pretty much hopeless at fighting.'
Nell read on, fascinated by how devious the British and Europeans were and how naive were the Americans, and then turned to another chapter. 'In 1939 Britain declared war on Germany again', and this must be a science fiction book set in the future like Mr. Wells's books, she thought, 'but their army was crushed easily and had to leave Europe, while France -
the only other real opposition to Germany - quickly surrendered. And so the UK was the only nation left to fight the Germans, and of course was in terrible trouble and asked the USA for help.'
'The Americans openly refused to even send supplies to them this time, despite Germany being lead by a murderous maniac who was to become responsible for millions of people being killed over the next few years, and despite the US President at the time publicly telling Congress that the USA's duty was to help Britain.'
'Then in 1940 Germany attacked Britain from the air to prepare the way for an invasion, so all the British had left to defend themselves was the Royal Air Force's fighter planes, flown by amateur pilots with no experience at fighting.'
'And now facing the mighty Luftwaffe's fighters and bombers with battle-scarred air crews in them, and whose planes outnumbered the RAF's by 4 to 1', and Nell hurriedly turned the page, eager to find out what happened next. Or what will happen next in the future. She guessed planes were flying machines such as ones that had taken to the air for a few minutes last year near Oxford.
'The Germans attacked the RAF fighter airfields and it looked hopeless from the start for the British, but with incredible courage the RAF then began hammering the attackers and downing so many that it looked possible to save Britain, and they were helped by a few Poles, Czechs, Canadians and others, and even a few Americans, that were disgusted with their own Congress refusing to help Britain.'
'But the RAF were running out of pilots and planes and soon flight engineers and others had to take to the sky and fly sorties by instruction over their radios, such was the desperate situation during this, The Battle of Britain', and Nell quickly turned the page.
'But then the RAF deliberately sent some bombers to bomb the centre of Berlin, and Hitler in a furious rage ordered the Luftwaffe to attack London in revenge, and so the airfield attacks stopped but nevertheless the British had won the battle as so many more German planes were destroyed than British ones and they never lost control of the skies. And the world was saved from the Nazis by the only country left willing to fight them, and the Blitz on London allowed Fighter Command to train more pilots and build more fighter planes', and she wasn't sure what Nazis were, but guessed they were very bad men.
'And yet you'll never hear the British going on about The Battle of Britain like inadequate children, desperate to make themselves seem important, just as the British have no real need for or interest in their flag or National Anthem, or any sort of day of whatever the point of American Independence Day is. When 233 years after 'independence' American are still speaking a British language and their troops are in the British colonies of Iraq and Afghanistan. Some independence!'
'Curiosity may have 'killed the cat' but it also means a quick read of history books will show you what nonsense most history that children are taught is - and nowhere more so than in the United States of America. Those books will show anyone that reads them that America soldiers made no difference to World War One, and that in 1943 the RAF began destroying German cities one after the other with 1,000-bomber raids.'
'And in that same year the Red Army broke out of Stalingrad. So either the Soviets would have conquered Germany, Stalin allowed 10 million of them to die in the war and would have sent in another 10 million if needed, nothing could have stopped them - or Germany would have been wiped off the face of the map from the air by the British bombers. And without a single American soldier yet landing in Europe.'
'The War was all over bar the ending after 1943, and even many Nazis knew it and began leaving Germany, some trying to negotiate a peace deal with Britain. Yet try telling grown American adults any of this history and they actually don't believe it's true, thanks to their schools and ridiculous movies like 'Saving Private Ryan'. In reality the toughest and most ruthless German soldiers in France in 1944, the Waffen SS, saw the Americans as irrelevant apart from their large numbers and supplies - but were highly respectful of the British, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian ones that fought them to a standstill for many months.'
'If American just accepted being what they are, easy-going nice people and not violent dangerous ruthless ones, there wouldn't be a problem with the rest of the English-speaking world. But when they believe they are the opposite of what they really are and are a mighty nation winning wars all the time,
it's highly irritating for millions of people, many of whom lost many family members, men, and women and children, in 6 years of fighting the Nazis and in 4 years of fighting in the First World War. And when Americans actually fund Irish terrorists to murder people in Britain and Ireland but then say they are fighting 'a war on terror', which doesn't even make grammatical sense, the irritation becomes anger.'
'And not criticising the most murderous country in the world in recent years, and actually sending it weapons to massacre its own citizens in Gaza City, disgusts the rest of the world. If the USA is really so mighty and loves justice and democracy so much it should start proving it -
for if even their friends the British are turning away from America because of the way it has acted since Vietnam, Americans should start to worry about their real enemies. Because the world is getting smaller and smaller, and on its own it has no real defence against people that have fought serious wars for thousands of years.'
'The USA could always elect an intelligent decent President that knows what he's doing, and get all of their troops back from foreign countries and leave the world to get on with things without it. It's almost as if British and European businesses are controlling what the USA does nowadays, while American don't spot it thanks to patriotism and a flag and an independence day.'
'But as long as the USA keeps acting ridiculously and electing little boys and alcoholics and failed movie actors as leaders, and is making itself the most hated country in the world thanks to them and people like Dick Cheney, they can't expect the rest of the English-speaking world to stop harpooning them with satire and jibes. What would we do without them? There can't be a more ridiculous nation on the planet to give us all a good laugh.'
Nell heard the American calling for her from the shop, and carefully hid all the books in a hole in the wall beside her and covered them with a stone. It was 1878, so she wasn't sure what some of the things in the book meant, but like all English children her school had taught her real British and world history without missing out any bad things the British had done -
such as creating a massive slave trade that sent many Africans to America. Americans are taught that it was the Britons' fault, which hardly ties in with the Americans continuing using slaves for another 70 years after gaining 'independence'.
She went back into what was now The Old Lack of Curiosity Shop and picked up her broomstick again, when Mr. Aardvark came into the shop through the front door. 'You, girl', he rudely said to her, 'what were you doing out the back?' 'I was reading some of those books', she replied, 'one was about America in the future,
and how it will be used by the British and French to fight in their colonial wars, and to supply them in two World Wars.' 'You must be delusional, little girl, the USA is the mightiest country in the world and no-one tells the American what to do', and being British Nell kept her thoughts to herself and went through to the kitchen to wash her hands.
And then left the shop to go to find her grandfather at the bookmakers, to try and persuade him to use any winnings he had to take out patents on his inventions of the steam engine, jet engine, television, tarmacadam, computer, hospital anaesthetics, logarithms, personal computer and telephone, and write books about his discoveries of penicillin and DNA. Though she remembered reading that after 233 years America's only undisputed invention was ... the banjo.
Maybe they should read more books, Nell thought to herself, and decided she didn't want to work for Mr. Aardvark and preferred as a young English lady to invent the modern hospital system to get ready for all the World Wars that that book predicted the British would be fighting in in not so long a time from now.
And she sang to herself happily for being British wasn't as bad as it seemed, as why else would the whole world use British inventions and speak the British language, except for China and Russia? And her warm heart felt sorry for Americans like Mr. Aardvark, for why did their country actually exist?
Maybe a Scotsman called Baird could invent the television and the French invent moving pictures and American could spend their lives sitting watching them both, she thought, and decided she would tell her grandfather to invest some of his money in Scottish Inventions Limited, for those five million people had given the world more important inventions than any other country in the world. But not the banjo.