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I, LUDICROUS

Conversation

 
Conversation
John arrived a couple of minutes late and after muttering his apologies bought himself a pint. We had arranged to meet to discuss the forthcoming season. We exchanged pleasantries, my head still throbbed though it had eased from an hour ago. I was pleased to see John. He was about forty, an ex naval man with an angelic face which mirrored his boyish enthusiasm for cricket and the club. He had been elected vice-captain next season in recognition of this enthusiasm. He was not the best cricketer we had by any stretch of the imagination but he was certainly the keenest. He handed me a list. It contained the names and telephone numbers of all the players which I would need in the months ahead. My eyes rested on Vincent's name. I chuckled to myself, remembering the innings of his last season when he tore into the bowling and made about seventy runs in under an hour. The west indian in him had burst out that day and had lifted the whole team; in many ways it had been the season's turning point. Dai Rees, or the Prof as we called him, was next on the list. In my mind's eye I saw him running in to bowl and stepping on his sunglasses which he had put down as a marker. I remembered not being able to stop myself. I was fielding at first slip and Paul Kelley, the keeper, had turned round his face creased with laughter as I fell about. Great days.

This remembrance of things past stopped abruptly. I read something that made me so angry I could not speak for a while. I stared at John in bewilderment. He caught my eye and asked if there was someting wrong. I could still not speak, I felt as if I were about to explode but managed to remain relatively calm and answer John in a measured voice.

"I see my name's down on the list", I stated.

"Of course" came John's reply.

I paused.

"What is the point of giving me a list with my own name on it?", I felt the anger rising. I mean, what am I going to do - ring my self up for f*ck's sake?"

John looked at me insolently.

"It's a list with everybody's name. I photocopied it for you, that's all", his voice trailed off.

It was then that the indignation that had been building up burst out. The week's frustrations had been heaped upon me: the flat tyre, the rejection of an article submitted to the listener, the time and energy wasted rehearsing what to say to Phillipa when she called, the nagging headache.

"So", I bellowed, "why didn't you cross my name out with a red pen?".

I din't recall much about what happened next; things were a bit confused. I vaguely remember a girl screaming; someone's cool hand on my brow; of waking up and the feeling of straps digging into my arms; and the headache - which was much worse.


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