Wednesday 20 July...London...14:18
The air foul and dank. The musky weave of scratching intermingled with stale gravy overpowering. The glooping odour of sweat deeply set in crevices long since washed. Body hair matted to skin in oily resin long since recognisable. The oversized mouth hung open, helpless, hopeless. The eyes gave a flicker but only the most positive of optimists would argue there was someone at home. The red and “white” scarf clinging to the flaps of skin around his neck was wet with the bile of anger and froth from the brown ale.
She had left him long since. His one, guiding light. When he accepted the job in the North East she spat in his face. 40 years of marriage unravelled in those moments. Incredulous scenes in Wharf Towers.
His mobile blinked. He had long since turned the sound off. As he roused his moist lumps of flesh he noted his ballsac had become stuck to his thigh…”Eeeee, 3 weeks’a no washin’ will do that t’thee” he moaned.
Pawing at his mobile his eyes slowly focussed on the caller ID….”F.A HQ” vibrated the letters, almost teasingly. “Fink are’ were born yesta’day!” roared Allerdice, and slung the device at the wall.
Wednesday 20 July...Austria...14:19
The sun glinted off the corner of the black ray bans. A thin line of white smoke rose from the tip of the Marlboro light that rested easily between soft, fur lined lips. His beard had become a Cruella De Ville masterpiece, black and white intermingling like a sorcerer at work. His eyes scanned between his texts, emails and twitter .He saw the rumblings of the fans. Sure, the procurement of a talented youngster from Manchester was a clever piece of business, but the masses needed more when stepping into their new home.
They needed a sure fire 20 goal a season striker. More than one preferably but one step at a time……Putting one earphone in he speed dialled Sully.
“Ah Slaven my boy, how the devil are old sport? Enjoying the tour?”
“It is working as I planned Mr Sully yes. The fitness levels are improving, youth players are staking their claim, or not, and new signings are seeing the level required of them. There is, however, something missing……you know this don’t you?”
“Ah, [cough] yes old boy of course [splutter] erm, you know how it is, I’ve been on the phone [cough] for 23 hour s a day! But, erm, it’s been tricky you know!”
“Mr Sully, you know what I need and when I need it. Do not, I repeat, do not disappoint me. Good day”
“Hello, Slaven old chap? Hello?, hello?”
Slav leaned back and took a long drag, feeling the texture coat his lungs. He knew it was bad, but my, it was so good, like most things in life.
Seconds later his phone danced on the table to the tune of War Pigs by Black Sabbath.
He grabbed it and saw the text alert from Sully. “Bids accepted, players on board, medicals booked, yours Mr S”. Slav exhaled. The long line of cloud flew into the air taking on mysterious whips and turns, like a Dimi free kick.
He smiled to himself.
Opening his new text file he sent a new message to a mystery recipient. “Daffy and Enid available end of next week, alert China. Get top dollar. 2 on way in, further poss 3rd which will really blow the doors off but bad news may precede it”.
He took his expresso and sipped.
Pushing the sunglasses up onto his recently shaved thatch, he leant back and let the rays do their work…..
Wednesday 20 July...London...14:25
Sully tilted his fur lined fedora to block the sun from scorching his pale, cold, damp face.
He hated this weather. Everyone wandering around with next to nothing on, eating outdoors like it was second nature, smiling, laughing.
They knew nothing of the real trials of life. Hunched over a laptop 24/7, scouring Europe for bargain basement players…..b*stards……The retractable seating was in its final stages of testing. Rumours it would be named the “Hokey Cokey” stand were unfounded, but Sully had woken on more than one occasion, screaming, with visions of the stand retracting during a match live on sky. Sully wanted them up out of theirs on a regular basis, but not in this way…..
The ground had taken shape nicely.
Even the grass had grown.
The club shop had nearly 50 tills, 7 of which actually worked which was a real bonus….
But in the pit of his stomach a knowing returned. When things were so good he always got this. Something, just something, always seemed grab him by the ankles and pull him back.....
Wednesday 20 July...South of France...15:00
His head bobbed up and down rhythmically, side to side, not missing an inch.
She moaned in pleasure, watching the concentration on his face.
He smirked, he liked her watching.
His 2 children watched in amazement too, fascinated with their fathers precision...
Shaving one’s own head is a tricky business, but Dimi would let no man near his follicle masterpiece. “Eh voila!” he shouted and turned to his adoring family, they clapped and smiled, “We’ve got Daddee, the best best Daddee, I just don’t think you understand!” sang his children. Dimi clapped them, “Now, now, time for your frogs legs and snails children, come along” he ordered, picking up their beret’s and string of onions they had left on the floor (kids never clean up after themselves, in a world of their own I tell’s ya)….
Sauntering through to the patio by the swimming pool Dimi’s mobile buzzed for the 28th time that day.
The message from a familiar source ….”CR7”…
Dimi gulped and scrolled down “You know the promise brother, do not let me down. Ciao”
Dimi’s heart sank.
His family were so happy in London, he was so happy. But a lifetime promise had to be kept. He could no longer put this off. Scrolling through his favourites he found “Boss” (not the aftershave or musician) and composed his hardest ever message…..