The Hound of Baskerville Athletico– Part 1
Hercules "Eckle" Profiterole, the Belgian centre-half and part-time private detective, was disturbed.
Managers came and went like professional porn studs at Branston Rabids Football Club; it was a well-hung and well-oiled swing door that swung freely and without noise. But today the Rabids chairman, Sir Derek Tannic-Stanza, had called everyone together for a meet-the-new-manager meeting.
We should be training for the Melchester Roofers game, thought Eckle, not off chortling with chipolatas on sticks.
The 28 man squad had been allocated 3 seats in the corner of the President's Suite for the meeting - at the back, behind a Plexiglas screen. As he came in Eckle covered his sensitive Belgian nose as a heady stench of putrefaction hit him in the face like a Roberto Carlos free-kick. He nodded to Warsaw and joined the melee.
Eckle and Warsaw are the rocks of the Branston Rabids defence - Warsaw more overtly rocklike being 7 feet 8 inches of heavy Black Russian on loan from Gasket Moscowa. He’d been on loan for 7 years now and had been nicknamed Warsaw by a dyslexic ex-manager.
The Belgian and the Russian had adapted to life in Branston, England differently. Eckle with a flat in town; Warsaw a basement storage area under the abattoir, Eckle speaking clear Marquis of Queensbury rules English whereas Warsaw managed to communicate in the language of football, with a thick Afro-Russian accent.
"What’s that disgusting smell?" said Eckle just as Chris Rocket the blonde and flashy number 7 walked in.
"Morning all!" chirped Chris: "Ughh! What’s the stink man? Warsaw have you let rip again? Foul, man, foul."
At that moment the oily chairman Sir Derek clapped his hands.
"Good morning to you all and it is!" he coughed. "The start of a bright new day here at Branston Rabids Football Club! The sun is shining.." he swept his hand across an imaginary horizon "the birds a singing and all is for the very best in the best of all possible worlds, n’est pas?"
Players shuffled intimately inside their Plexiglas cordon.
"Ok, riiight, well if you can all just quickly sign these forms then we’ll move right on to meeting the new cheese on the block, ok?"
He handed out small bookies' biros and sheets of paper. All the players signed their names and handed them back without reading them. Except Eckle, who frowned.
"Why are we signing injury disclaimers Sir Derek?"
"What? Oh, don’t worry its nothing, bit of red tape really, just there please."
"But this means we won’t get paid if we get injured then?"
"Temporarily and regrettably yes, that’s right, have you got a pen?"
"Yes, but…oh never mind," Eckle shruged, he was very proud of his record of 207 consecutive games.
"Jolly good, pip pip," said Sir Tannic-Stanza as he collected the forms.
"Now, let’s get on with the introduction shall we? All the way from the European Champions, Baskerville Athletico, to sunny Branston, a warm hand for … our new manager!"
The chairman clapped and whooped twice loudly and enthusiastically until he realized he was whooping alone, the door opened and a waft of rotting flesh blew in a sweating and pale Jorges Mourir.
"Arrr, hello eberyone," he limped over to put his arm around Sir Derek and then leant on him heavily, breathing spittle hoarsely.
"Er…so, the beginning of the great adventure eh lads? I’m sure you’ll afford the new gaffer all the support you can in these difficult first few days…" the chairman shuffled uncomfortably under the weight of the sagging Portugazi.
"Jorges," ... ah ... record at Baskerville Athletico is without equal and we are very fortunate to …ah … Warsaw can you give me a hand here?"
Warsaw obligingly stepped behind Mourir and held him by his collar and belt while the new manager’s torso, limbs and head hung limply from his giant new skeleton.
With a look at the new manager and a quick step towards the door, clutching disclaimers in doughy white hands, Sir Derek added: "I know I can count on you all. Jorges will be taking training from now on…bye." And left.
The players blinked as the Portugazi sagged quietly, and then wanderd off. Warsaw put Mourir gently on a chair and went outside to join Eckle and Chris Rocket.
"Well at least he’s taking training instead of bloody Basho," said Chris, lighting a fag.
Eckle said nothing, there was a look behind his eyes as if lightening is trying to pass through wet clay. He was thinking. Something about the injury disclaimers and the stench of Mourir. . .