Saturday with Stu was a response to a call for submissions from PDG Books, who were aiming to compile an anthology of short stories on the theme of football madness. The story was selected for publication by PDG books in 2005, and tells the tale of a man who undergoes a weekly metamorphosis, giving consciousness to his obsession and routine. In this extract, Stu’s football shirt wakes up.
– – – _ _ _- – –
Stu isn’t just a chunk of organs, muscle and vein that came from a reproductive system. Similarly this shirt isn’t just a mass of fabric hammered into shape by a production line. It becomes his skin. A part of him, every week.
100% Polyester. Made in Tunisia. The Brand with the Three Stripes.
This shirt is large and long sleeved. It represents one hundred and thirteen years of tribal history. An emblem of loyalty and pride to thousands of very different people. A mark of established common ground. This is one snazzy shirt, full of self-importance.
Inside the shirt, near the bottom, there is a label with eight different flags. It scratches Stu’s left ear every week as he pulls it over his bald head, and the hairs on his chest entwine with the shirt fabric.
Germany. Japan. The United Kingdom. France. Ireland. The USA. Spain. Canada.
The shirt feels its fibres being stretched. Similar to the sensation of being pegged to a line to dry, but a more holistic tension. No stitch is left unwarped. It doesn’t worry. It is very self-aware. Knows that it has been designed to cope with strains of modern wear. It has faith in the German scientists back at HQ, working like madmen. This shirt can laugh the tension off and shout for more.
The shirt leaves the house confident to the point of garmently arrogance, and is poised to keep its insides at optimum temperature under varying stress levels. That netted mesh underarm will expel perspiration without even batting a hem. As with any football shirt, it is determined to approach every public appearance with a parade mentality.