Little Shoppe of Bolocks – Part 1
It’s the morning of the big game with Melchester Roofers and the bulk of the Branston Rabids first team squad are ‘stable’ in their own ward at Branston General Hospital.
Hercules “Eckle” Profiterole, the Belgian centre-half and private eye, has had his nose bitten off by a savage Portugazi and the club chairman looks strangely smug.
The local A&E staff had worked their fingers to the bone in a pandemonium of players, their agents and family, press, police and fans the previous night. Fending off reporters and supporters and jabbing everyone with rabies shots, seaming endless stitches, reattachments and wrapping of miles of bandages.
A surprising amount of pain killers were being consumed too, thought the ward sister, who was a rugby fan.
Those conscious and not hallucinating saw Jorges Mourir once more, live on TV news, getting shot with a tranquilizer dart by the RSPCA. It, they agreed, was a shame; he’d been the best manager they’d had in ages.
He was already being linked with the vacant Gorky Blu Meanies job.
Eckle had tried half-heartedly to marshal the troops but eventually given up until the morning.
[The etymology of the Rabids name surprisingly predates this incident, though it is thought by some to be prescient. The club's founder, and great grandfather of the present owner, Sir Fagan Tannic, came from a long line of wealthy industrialists.
Their family business was one of many mysterious things to have come out of the shadowy corners of the dark ages; the recycling of rabbit condoms that underpinned the giant multinational that is today’s Rabbit Brand Corp.
Unfortunately in 1869 when the club sent its erstwhile tea lady to register with the newly formed Football Union, she had had a horrid head add dose cold. No amount of screaming ‘Rabids I tell you, Rabids!’ could convince the clerk and even her frantic bunny impressions were misconstrued. A succession of spiteful FU officials had refused to change it ever since, hence Branston Rabids it is.
Incidentally, the multinational arms were given to Sir Derek Tannic-Stanza’s four elder sisters while he was left only with a knighthood and a football club with rising damp.]
The next morning Sir Derek was in early, checking under the players’ bandages, sneezing, loosening the odd stitch here and there.
"Morning all," he said breezily "how are my honed Adoni today then?" The slight Scottish winger winced and let a tear hit his cheek as the chairman ripped off his ear bandage again, ear and all.
"Nurse!" Yelled Rocket.
The morning morphine was kicking in and Hercules Profiterole decided to go out in to town to see about finding a nose guard.
In a side street off a back road, near the canal, Eckle noticed a dirty little old shop he had never seen before. He saw the sign under the grime "A Little Shoppe of Bolocks" it said, Eckle read it twice. Through the thickly crusted windows he could only make out that it was some kind of antique shop but just as he was about to walk away he saw a shining silver nose plate.
He pushed the creaking door open with the "Tink" of a broken bell and immediately found himself in the middle of all manner of dusty sporting memorabilia and bulging paraphernalia.
Old trophies and medals in boxes, caps, armbands, signed photos and Figurine Panini albums, a complete set of West Indies touring athletic supports (unwashed) were draped over gloves and shin guards, shirts, boots and a mounted display of Accrington Stanley lucky heather.
As if by magic the shopkeeper appeared, he was a short and balding man in a striped pinafore.
"Good morning sir," said the man.
"Good morning to you," Eckles replied.
"If I’m not mistaken you are a Rabid man are you not sir?"
"I am and," Eckle and paused for effect "...he he! Are you Mr. Bollocks then?"
The round faced man stiffened slightly. "It’s pronounced Bo – lock if you don’t mind. Are you looking for anything in particular or just perusing the annals of history?"
"Not really into annals as it happens, or history, I can’t even remember where I left me fags. I just came in to look at that old nose protector in the window."
"Oh yes, a lovely piece that, rumoured to have belonged to a descendant of Ethelred the Unready. We have many titbits that might awaken your historical curiosity, what about this, it’s an original print of the first FU Cup final at Wembley."
"Oh, I saw that. The Gorky Blu Meanies won didn’t they?"
"Noo, not the new Wembley the original Wembley, don’t they have Wembley where you come from?"
"No we don’t, who’s that then?"
"Ah, that’s PC George Scorey."
"That’s a fancy name for a horse," said Eckle.
"No the copper, the horse was called Billie, its called The White Horse Final now you know."
"Did he win then did he? Did he? Heh!"
"No, Bolton won, but they single-handedly kept 200,000 fans in order. Djunno he wasn’t even on duty that day?"
"Who the horse?"
"No the copper."
"So why did he have his horse with him then?"
"I don’t know."
They chatted gaily away like this for a while and then the conversation turned to Mr Bolock’s business partners who could do wonders with in vitro fertilization and the possibilities presented by an unusual light box in the back room.
"Ye what? You’ve got a magic light box that can send me back in time so’s I can collect his sperm for your mate? Yer mad, man! Heh!"
"Well that nose plate is solid silver and it would probably be worth a few thousand to a collector you know, what if we called it payment?" said the wily antiquarian.
"A few thousand you say. Hmm." Eckle rubbed his Belgian chin "And I’d definitely be back in time for this afternoons match?"
"Oh yes, the time you spend in the… er …light box doesn’t count here, you’ll be back as soon as you left."
"Mmm, well alright then, where is it? Back there?"
The little shopkeeper pulled back a heavy green velvet curtain to reveal a shining light box in the centre of a gloomy ante-room.
"That’s right," he said with a little smile "just put the picture on the box. Oh, you might need this," and he handed Eckle a very large test tube.