Disclaimer: this post – Among Us – was written at Westwood Cross back in 2014 BEFORE the Iceland Warehouse Supermarket moved in at a time when the world was very different. For a start, crimes were things like theft and assault, not meeting your friends or visiting your nan’s house without a passport. Nevertheless, this happened pretty much exactly as I’ve described it…
I’m having coffee with Michael at the Costa Drive Thru and it’s the usual mix of girlfriend troubles (for him) and the pressures of family life (for me) when something he says suddenly catches my attention: big time.
I frown a bit, put down my cup and mutter: ‘What was that again?’
He shrugs. ‘I’m just saying: she never really seems interested in what’s going on with me and-‘
‘No.’ I shake my head. ‘Not the stuff with Laura: you said something before about a gang at Westwood-‘
‘The Cross Cult.’ He points out of the window. ‘Complete mentalists, mate: I’m so glad I didn’t end up getting involved in any of that stuff.’
I try to look where he’s pointing, but all I can see are shoppers. There’s a couple going into Staples, a few guys coming out of Pets at Home and a small group leaving Matalan.
‘Cross Cult?’ I ask, trying to get a glimpse of anything remotely unusual.
‘The Cult of Westwood Cross, mate: two of ‘em just went into Matalan. A few years back, I nearly joined myself.’
I lean back in the chair and fold my arms. I know how much Mike likes to talk, so I’m desperate not to indulge him….but he looks so serious.
‘The idea of a shopping centre having a cult is just ridiculous. A cult is a religious thing: what do they worship? Tesco?’
‘It’s not that sort of cult: it’s more of an underground hobby group. You know Iceland?’
‘No: the supermarket.’
‘Of course I know Iceland….but there isn’t one at Westwood Cross.’
‘Exactly. Now: WATCH-’
He points a finger and I find myself staring intently at the doors of Matalan.
‘Wait for it-‘
‘What exactly are we waiting for?‘
‘THERE! NOW! LOOK!’
Coming out of Matalan is a couple who look to be in their early thirties. Both seem relatively ordinary, both are wearing jeans and t-shirts and both are burdened with shopping bags….
….Iceland shopping bags.
‘That’s just a coincidence,’ I say, with a nervous laugh. ‘You probably saw them go in and just made it up-‘
‘Yeah? What about OVER THERE! Coming out of Staples!’
I switch my viewpoint, and – sure enough – there is a third man on his way out of Staples: a distinctive looking guy in a biker jacket.
He is also carrying an Iceland plastic bag.
I shake my head slightly, and I feel my nose scrunching up in that weird expression I tend to use whenever the world goes a bit Twin Peaks on me.
Mike grabs my shoulder and says : ‘Now……CHECK IT OUT.’
As we both look on, the three people converge into one group, and begin to have a conversation: an intense conversation. They all look slightly uncomfortable, and the biker dude keeps looking behind him.
It’s like a scene out of a spy movie, and it’s incredible to watch.
After a few seconds, I turn back to Mike.
‘How often do they meet?’
‘Once a fortnight.’
‘Who’s in charge?’
‘Guy from Kingsgate: nobody knows who he is, but apparently at the meetings he wears a rabbit mask. His deputy is a bloke called The Fisherman: a hairy dude who hangs around Westwood Cross, smoking a fake pipe.’
‘Ridiculous or not: it’s TRUE. I don’t know what they’re actually into, but Iceland is a big part of how they identify each other. You can’t just join. You have to get noticed. You have to be approached.’
‘You need to walk around Westwood Cross with an Iceland carrier bag.’
‘I could totally do that. Er….when, exactly?’
‘ALWAYS, Dave. Every time you come to Westwood Cross. You never know who’s watching.’
‘Right! Come on: I’ll drive.’
‘Where are we going?’
‘Ramsgate Iceland….for bags.’
‘You’re not seriously considering-‘
‘Of course I am. It’s me.’
We head for the car, and I feel a burning excitement in my stomach.
It’s like this: I come to Westwood Cross all the time, so I might as well be part of the massive.
The Fisherman is waiting.
Note: It’s 2021 (seven years on from when this piece was written) and there is now an Iceland Warehouse at Westwood Cross – I reckon it might be a place of worship. Among Us was originally written by Davey Stone in 2014. Thanks for reading ‘Among Us!’