The Tale of the Geezer Cat by Kwin
Last night, after the Saints game, I got talking to some young lads in the bar who related a most amazing story about a mate of theirs - and what happened to him after the Leicester game the previous week.
It seems that the bloke in question is a brand-new first-season Quins supporter - he'd gone to Twickenham with them last February and got completely caught up with the passion and drama - crying over the Lander catastrophe like a true geezer and, well, one thing led to another and before you knew it he was going to the Stoop regularly last season and eventually, in a wave of excitement after the Narbonne game, even bought a season ticket for 2001/02
So anyway, last week this bloke decided that the time had come to go the whole hog and finally get a pair of those amusing trousers he saw each game at the Stoop.
So, he went along to the gift shop under the East Stand to look for a pair, but was surprised to find that they didn't sell 'geezer trews' (as he learned they were called) at all - and moreover they didn't even know where he could get them. They offered him instead some navy-blue thermal ski-pants with a grey Harlequin sewn on the pocket... but he couldn't see the point of those and politely declined.
Disappointed he left the shop, but when he went outside he was so cold in his short-sleeved replica shirt that he started to shiver badly, causing the stiff CSF logo to rub quite painfully against his already sore nipple (he'd worn the shirt the two weeks running now, of course) so he popped quickly back into the shop to see if he could perhaps get a fleece (or jacket of some sort) in Harlequins colours to wear over his shirt.
He had a quick look around, but was surprised that he couldn't see anything like that at all. However, reasoning that some such thing must exist (after all every other rugby club that visited the Stoop seemed to do something along these lines) he looked harder. After a few minutes, as he was rummaging through a pile of mulberry-coloured polo shirts, he came across a beautiful, small, bronze statuette of a cat.
It caught his eye, and at once he decided he must have it. However it didn't seem to have anything to do with Harlequins at all, and at first he wondered if perhaps it wasn't part of the shop stock and someone just had dropped it or something. But then, he reasoned, you could just as easily think the same about the orange day-glo Quins stretch-vests hanging over the door, so he approached the desk to make his purchase.
By now there was quite a queue at the checkout and he had to wait for a long time while the assistants chatted with each other, laboriously looked up prices in a big book, puzzled over the till and stared at £20 notes as if they'd never seen one before. He was a bit annoyed, at first, at how they slow they were, but another fan explained that they were actually bar staff from the East Stand just helping out at the shop, so he understood and waited patiently.
When his turn came he asked how much the cat was.
"Ah, now. That's the famous Geezer-Cat, Sir, and a strange, beautiful, wonderful, magical object it is too. It's £25 Sir, and £200 for the story that goes with it"
"Well, I'll have the cat then", he said, "but forget the story" and with his purchase safely in his pocket, he left the shop.
Once he got outside the shop he could hear shouts and merriment coming from the East Stand bar and he was tempted to go back inside for another Boddingtons but as he approached the bar he could see some fat bloke on the stage singing the Wild Geezer or something, and he turned back hastily with a shudder, almost colliding with John Kingston coming the other way. He stepped aside quickly, but just caught JK muttering to himself, something like "...that'll show the bloody message board.... Quin with a bloody "K" he doesn't even know how to spell, no idea about running a professional sports club... and what sort of name is kev-one-enn anyway... I'll show 'em, be on the bloody board if I could just stop TMJ deleting my posts..."
It didn't seem to make any sense at all. But then he realised - JK was probably on the phone doing a Sky Sports post match interview or something.
He hurried on out of the stoop out into Craneford Way, gently rubbing the geezer-cat inside his jacket pocket. And that's when it started to happen, as he walked along Craneford Way, and out on to the Whitton Road suddenly a cat darted out of a shadowy front garden and fell into place behind him, and then another and then another.
By the time he reached Twickenham Station there were half a dozen moggies on his tail, and he quickened his pace, past the Cabbage Patch and down London Road.
But still they came, cat after cat, darting from the cellars, the side streets and rooftops. He broke into a run, by now pursued by dozens of cats. Past HSBC he ran, scared now as cats poured from every side. He ran past McDonalds down to the embankment, by now hundreds of cats at his heels, he ran full tilt down Water Lane to the river where, with a smooth swift action (like a Nick Duncombe pass) he took the cat from his pocket and heaved it into the Thames.
And he watched in amazement as cat after cat leapt into the brown river after it and each and every one sank beneath the cold, limpid water.
10 minutes later he was back at the Stoop, sure enough a light still burned in the East Stand Shop and he ducked under the shutters and found the same cashier (counting some lime-green Quins ice-hockey masks) The assistant looked up:
"Ah, welcome back - did you enjoy your geezer-cat? truly a strange and marvellous thing. I suppose you've come back for the story?"
"No", replied the fan, magenta and chocolate to the core, "No, not at all, I couldn't care about the story - I wanted to know: do you stock a small, bronze Steve Lander?"