Monday 21 June 2010

Fallen Idol

The muddied football, stuck in a slick of dirt, stared up at me. Go on. Kick me, you old fart. I want to kick it so bloody hard, so desperately need to kick it.

A magnetic field keeps me rigid on the park bench. The ball, neither repelled nor attracted by the force stays in the mud.

A small team of boys, all no more than 12 years old, study me from a distance. They must be the owners of the ball. Moments pass and still they keep their position, like the moon in unchanging orbit.

I notice the football kits they wear; flashy nylon outfits with sponsorship emblazoned across the midriff. There wasn’t anything like that in my day. One of the lads, dressed in the blue of Chelsea approaches.

He looks terrified of me. Here am I, an elderly gent, drinking (whisky) peacefully on a park bench on my own. I should be the one fretting.

‘Excuse me?’ the boy says.

I wish I had kicked the blasted football back to them now. I don’t respond, hoping he’ll go away, but I know what’s coming.

‘Can I have your autograph?’

Christ. You kick a ball for a few years and 60 years later and the public still own you.

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