Wednesday, August 1, 2007

At home with Michael Vaughan and "friends" – Mimitig and Mouth of the Mersey

After the debacle of the World Cup, and the leaks from the England Dressing-Room, some snitch (who shall remain nameless) revealed just how your fearless correspondents had managed to get both audio and video tapes of what had been presumed to be private discussions between Captain Vaughan and his troops. As a result, security has been tightened to the extent that we are powerless to infiltrate the sanctum – a shame you’ll all agree. However, some desperate undercover work has enabled us to bring you details of an evening chez Michael following the hideously bad performance at Trent Bridge. Our thanks go to our anonymous helper, and we hope you all enjoy what is a revelatory meeting with some key players in the England side.

MV: Honey I’m home – how are the kids?

Mrs MV: Sssh – I’ve only just put them to bed with a few sweeties to keep them quiet.

MV: Oh my Christ – you’ve not raided the pot of jelly-beans for them, have you? You know those aren’t for kids – they are weapons of mass destruction in my secret war.

Mrs MV: No, no, don’t panic – I used the jelly-babies. You said you didn’t need them anymore.

MV: Thank fuck – anyway, I forgot to tell you a few of the lads are coming over tonight. We’ve got to work out what the bastard fuck went wrong against India – did you get the giant bag of Pick ‘n Mix I asked for?

Mrs MV: Yes, yes, darling, everything’s in place. I checked for bugs and I’ve drawn all the curtains too. You’re quite safe.

(sound of doorbell ringing)

MV: That’ll be Ali – I asked him to come early. The others should be here in the next 10 minutes. I’ll talk to him in the kitchen, show the rest into the lounge, then man the look-out, and if you see Peter Moores approaching, activate the escape route for the lads.

(Mrs MV opens door to Ali Cook, shows him into the kitchen where MV waits – a gentle look on his face, then she retreats to await more furtive arrivals)

MV (jovially): Ali, come in boy, come in. Tea, sweeties, a little tube of pastilles perhaps? (his face changes – almost Jekyll and Hyde-like). What the bloody fuck did you think you were doing, you arsehole? Christ Almighty – The Telegraph of all places. To go and tell the world that our next weapon is the pastille? You fool, you absolute fool. How do think I feel now? I’ve gotta think up a new plan, I’ve gotta explain to the lads who’s fucked it up. Why (MV drops head into his hands and begins to sob), why Ali? Are you working for Them? Just get the fuck into the lounge now, sit in the corner chair, and don’t fucking open your mouth unless I tell you too. OK (doorbell rings again). The lads are here. Keep that lip buttoned. And you can stop that fucking Bambi look right now – it works on the Npower girls but not on Michael Fucking Vaughan.

MV: Hi boys – come in, sit down – no not the corner chair Belly, there’s someone sitting there. Anyone want a drink? No, good – glad one lesson has been learned. So we’re here, on our own, and not all of us (thank fuck none of you blew the whistle and told Mooresey that we’re meeting tonight), just to have a captain’s man-to-men with some of you responsible for the disaster at Nottingham. You all know exactly what I mean and let’s get to the main items.

Number One: Sweeties. Now I don’t know for certain who stuffed AD’s trouser pockets with the damned things but someone owes him a tenner for the dry cleaning. Pounds not rands KP. And give him the money for Gods’ sake, he’s bullying Jimmy enough as it is

Number Two: Batting - Colly don’t look like that – get back to reading the Brearley book, you’ve a lot of work soon. Michael Vaughan was the only batsman who played well, Michael fucking Vaughan – and you all know what happens when Michael gets upset. And if you get all Geordie on me, I’ll just remind you what I did to Harmison – yeah?

Ah, fuck’s sake KP: if you must bring food, eat with your mouth closed – I can see the flavour from here. I think I speak for us all (well, Belly for sure) when I say that we need you to get back in the runs. And it would help if you didn’t speak in Afrikaans to AD – yes, we all know the story about the lion in the playground, but, fuck Kev – I thought we’d got over that in the Caribbean. Getting all exclusive with Al doesn’t build the Team.

Last tonight, before you go:

Bowling: well, Ryan – You’re a haircut away from a contract son, so go and do it – I read that fucking article “The Locks of Sidebottom”. Christ’s sake, do we need another prima donna in the side?

Monty – Just stop signing the photographs and for fuck’s sake when you have to, just scribble your initials – there’s no need for these long personal messages, they’ll have us all doing it. Good stuff, but there were times when you were quicker than Ryan, so slow it down. There’s a youtube clip of Tendulkar being bowled by a slow, flighted delivery at Trent Bridge on the last tour that shows you how it’s done.

Chris – Stop texting your dad for a moment please. For a 21 year old, you did well, really well. You’ve a lot of potential there. Speak up! You’re 26 next month? I can’t believe it. Okay, not a bad show but I’m still looking for a bit more pace – use your fucking height for Christ’s sake.

That’s it for tonight. I could get into keeping, but Matt, I haven’t the strength. You’re not the worst I’ve seen – fuck, I had to captain Jones – but you’re not the best and if you want to stay in white, bugger off to the nets.

The lads gather up their pads and pencils, start shuffling out, cautiously in case Mrs MV has slipped up and not alerted them to the presence of their esteemed coach, but all is well.

One player remains behind – he’s worried because MV hasn’t singled him out for censure.

Ian Bell: Michael, please sir, what am I to do? Why was I invited here tonight with the big boys?

MV: Ian: sorry kid, didn’t see you there. Just do your best, boy, do your best. Class is permanent, form is temporary. I believe in you, I love you, I really do.

In a moment, scarily reminiscent of The Godfather, little Belly-Boy gets down on one knee and kisses the heavy gold ring Michael has recently taken to wearing.

And our tapes, audio and video end as Ian exits – via the back garden.


mimi said...

Vaughan: I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Bell goes into the gents (at the Oval) plucks a gun, its handle taped to belie the fingerprint experts up the road, from behind the cistern.

He walks into the Indian dressing room, eyes steely, hand steady, the words of his captain in his ears (Ian, boy, I’m counting on you).

Legs shaking, but hand steady, he walks up to Ganguly, puts the gun against his head, fires – down, one down, two to go. Before anyone can recover from the shock, Ian takes out Tendulkar. Suddenly the dressing room erupts – Ian is wrestled to the ground. He’s failed his captain. In slow-motion, it seems, he turns the gun upon himself.

Three dead bodies at the Oval. But there’s a match to be played. What can they do? In a weird quirk of fortune, Richie Benaud is in the crowd. Mark Nicholas spots him, rushes up and begs him to save the situation. Frantically searching amongst fans for a suitably cream, ivory or beige jacket – Richie understands the exact colour doesn’t matter, he shrugs on the borrowed garb. The cameras swing away from scenes of paramedics removing covered bodies, and the god of commentary gets play underway.

Good afternoon, whoever you are, wherever you are ….

And so the final test begins!!

MotM said...

This is completely unbelievable - I mean, ten rands for a dry cleaning bill?

Zeph said...

Why didn't MV warn little Bell that writing a column for the Guardian immediately ruins your game? Look at Saj, a promising bowler till he started his weekly dose of 'we're all very positive'... or is it part of one more devious plot?

file said...

every day I learn a little more about the men in white

The Skiver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Skiver said...

I see that Strauss got away scot free again. He must have photos of MPV doing something very norty indeed

MPV said...

Who's Strauss?

guitougoal said...

I'll be happy if you can teach me some.

offsideintahiti said...

I keep reading in the hope that, one day, I will understand.

I do have an idea to boost morale in team England's camp. Why not organise a game (match? test? picnic? what do you call them?) against France?

bluedaddy said...

Sounds good OiT. You lot bring the bonbons.

mimi said...

Oh, I got way too carried away by my imagination.

greengrass said...

A fine piece indeed, somewhat besmirched by a lack of veracity: a son of Lancashire like Michael Vaughan would never, ever, use such foul lingo.

levremance said...

...perhaps this is how the story ends...

Bell dusts himself off. He looks wistfully at his gun and realises that his form is so wretched that he has 'played and missed' in his own suicide attempt. Amid the smoke and confusion he manages to slip away. On the way out he collects his cricket bag and from the hallway hooks purloins a white coat and a panama hat for a disguise. Then a tube train takes him to Kings Cross and within an hour he's on an intercity headed north. That evening the fugitive number 6 holds lodgings in a grim, but cricket loving, northern town.

At dusk, Bell's shirtless torso is lit intermittently by neon and the lights of passing cars as he takes a piss in the wash basin sink. His pate is sporting a fresh Mohawk and in his heart he knows he's a man alone. He asks a dirt-frosted mirror a question, "you want a jellybean, punk?...well do you?... there's one right there on the pitch...just pick it up..." He points with his gun. His postal eyes survey an otherwise empty room.

With a knock at the door he hurriedly does up his fly, re-holsters his Beretta and slings it on the chair. The manageress has brought an electric fan up to cool his room in the steamy English summer night. Although she is long past the firm blush of youth her maturity now holds a certain sway and she’s old enough to know better than to ask about the sawn-off shotgun lying under the bed.

Within an instant they embrace and moments later they are locked, grappling, liberating. The pressure on the young cricketer, accumulated by a string of low scores and the day’s events, is released into the welcoming encirclement of a woman who has known more lament than love in her life. They fall asleep exhausted, entwined.

Next morning, a pigeon flies into the window pane waking the pair and through the paper thin walls Bell overhears a plummy voice on the radio "...and in the Test match at the Oval, India will resume today at 316 for 4 with Tendulkar 48 not out..."

In the street a visceral scream can be heard, "Nooooooooooooo".

MotM said...

Lev - I rather think Matt Prior would welcome that role.

Mimi - the gauntlet is thrown. Lev has taken Belly Boy further into his psychosis - can you extend the tale?

mimi said...

Lev: you are a god! Thanks for getting me out of a nasty situation there - I've been regretting killing off the Boy all week. Now his resurrection has been confirmed and we can relish his further adventures. I will attempt to make contact with Bell's troubled psyche and bring news, unless Lev meets him first!

mimi said...

Ian has a ticket in his pocket - he is going north. No-one knows how far but Ian's dreaming, he's dreaming - his life will surely change. He's stared at his reflection and it wasn't pretty. Now life must move on. The shame of failing his captain will be seared into his soul forever, but he looks into that mirror and realises - I'm a young boy. I have talent, I am a free soul.
So he boards the train, travels north and wonders where to leave the train. Who knows? Will there be another good woman for him? Will he regain his batting form? AAhh, these thoughts are just as maybe.

levremance said...

Belly boy takes a train:

levremance said...

You want a jellybean punk?

mimi said...

I've just got to stop Bell getting off the train at Newcastle. God, Lev - I hope he hasn't been studying Caine in that clip. Nicking off the train now, after ingesting substances could lead to a bad incident in a multi-story car-park. He MUST stay on the train. If I can only get him to Aberdeen or Inverness, he'll be OK. Won't he....??

levremance said...

Don't think so Mimi. He's turned into a bad egg. Belly boy's going up north and if people don't tell him what he wants to know, Now, then they are going to get hurt.

The jellybeans, the sledging, next stop is describing beady deepset eyes as 'pissholes in the snow' and a whole lot of peril.

Perhaps a Bollywood remake is on the cards, Get Karthik anyone?

mimi said...

lev: your wealth of awful puns is a rich seam to be mined! Get Karthick! Honestly!

mimi said...

Travelling, on a train, I listen to the tracks - score boy, score boy - that's all I can hear. But I'm Ian, I'm the Bell-Boy, the crowds love me. All I have to do is keep my shape, use my feet and belt the bugger - it's a small round thing. I can do this. My life does not have to be a catastophe. I am not, NOT Mick Travis - no matter what the world thinks. Hey and here's a thing - get Matt Prior to take the shit! Why not - he was shit, and actually I wasn't bad. Though still glad I'm on the train and I'll be meeting Mick - "what's there to smile about?"
Shine on Ian boy, shine on.

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