A Bad Week for Jimi – Day 1
The sun was high in the sky as they trotted out onto the pitch. Patches of
wispy clouds broke up an otherwise perfect summer’s day. Song thrushes sang, and
skylarks…well…larked about. Starlings did…star jumps.
Freddy had let Clara lead the team out – as it was her tenth appearance for
the team since she had joined last year. She wore her blue and red colours proudly,
and waved to the small crowd on the touchline, smiling.
There was a short pause before the opposition emerged from a huddle on the
sidelines. Jimi, who was sitting cross-legged on the touchline, guitar in hand,
muttered out the words to a song (‘Sisters… are doing it… for themselves’), perhaps
suggesting that this match would not be so easy as they had thought.
Almost imperceptibly, a few more clouds gathered up and momentarily
blocked out the sun. Michael squinted upwards.
‘Don’t look at the sun’, said Wil.
‘Well, I’m not’, replied Michael, ‘because it’s gone’.
Although not exactly true, the sun had been obscured by a huge cloud which
was rapidly turning from white, to light grey, to a deep shade of dark grey. Other
clouds appeared from nowhere. It became a bit colder, and a breeze got up. Was that
a rumble of thunder in the distance? Mockingbirds mocked, crows crowed, and
Well, you get the idea. As the opposition ran onto the pitch, things started to
Freddy and Mr Andrews had spent some time planning for this match, after
the last time, when the girls had changed the referee at half time, and Wil had
discovered the original referee lying in a ditch at the side of the field, groaning
This time, they had pulled Michael back into defence, where his speed would be
able to outrun the most dastardly attacker, and put Clara up front (as a one-woman
strikeforce). With Alec, Wil, and Freddy forming a three-man midfield, and Jaz
supporting Michael at the back, they looked a formidable unit. Hardy, in goal as usual,
had taken precautions, and was wearing shin pads, knee pads, elbow pads, a chest
protector, three pairs of gloves, a cycle helmet, and sunglasses.
They were lined up for what seemed like hours, but was only a few minutes. The
opposition girls (now in a little huddle in the centre circle) were singing their own song,
to the tune that Jimi was playing on the guitar.
‘Hey, what’re you doing?’ called Freddy to Jimi on the sideline.
‘Cool it, man, I’m only playing. I didn’t know they would sing my song!’ Jimi
‘Yeh, well, don’t encourage them, right?’ said Freddy.
‘I’ll play what I like’, muttered Jimi, who got up and walked away. Freddy was
going to go after him, but then thought better of it. I really need to talk to him, he
The match started, and Lancaster Road were soon two goals up, the first
thanks to Clara’s close control in the box, and the second courtesy of a penalty,
which was awarded when Clara herself had been up up-ended by two of the girls
grabbing her ankles at the same time and dumping her face down in the goalmouth.
The dirty tricks were coming thick and fast – sly little digs in the ribs, quick
little taps on the ankles, shifty little shots to the shins, and testing trip-tackles.
But nothing could prepare them for what was to come.
Michael, dazzling as usual in defence, had brought the ball out down the left
wing. From far on the right, the tallest of the Hags defenders had sprinted after him,
and had crudely slide-tackled him from behind, crumpling him into a miserable heap on
the ground. Michael had seemed motionless, but was perhaps counting to make sure
he still had the right number of arms and legs. Although moving, he was obviously in a
bad way. The Lancaster Road supporters looked on quietly as their star player lay
stricken on the floor.
Just then, another tall figure emerged from the side of the pitch, carrying a
bucket in her left hand, and a sponge in her right.
Thank goodness. First Aid. The Magic Sponge!
Michael sat up groggily.
‘Here love, have a bit of this’, sneered the First Aid Lady, dipping the sponge
into the bucket, and offering it to Michael.
Offering it? Wasn’t the magic sponge supposed to go on the injury?
Michael, still shaken from the tackle, took the sponge in his hand, and soaked
his face with the cool liquid. His face brightened, and a little steam rose from the
‘I said have a bit of it!’, said the lady, sounding quite cross. She grabbed the
sponge from Michael, then picked up the bucket and poured some of the liquid into his
mouth. From a distance, Michael heard Hardy yell, ‘No!’
On the side of the bucket was a small label. Freddy peered down at the label,
and just caught sight of the writing before the First Aid Lady was off again to her
post at the side of the pitch, where some of her colleagues stood laughing and
The label said LaughCryFlyJuice.
Michael got up and flexed his injured leg. It moved in all the right ways, so he
jogged up and down on it. He looked fine. He even smiled a bit.
Then he smirked. Then he giggled. Then he grinned, and beamed. Then he
started laughing. Michael was a serious boy. But he laughed and laughed and laughed,
holding the sides of his stomach as he guffawed.
Suddenly, his face went rather serious. He looked down at the pitch, the smile
disappearing from his face. A huge tear splashed onto the hard ground. Then
another, and another. He sobbed. He snivelled a little. He started to moan and weep.
Bawling his eyes out.
After a minute or so of uncontrollable howling, Michael looked up, smiled again,
and gazed into the far distance.
He lifted his arms, and spread them out wide. Then he started to run, waving
his arms up and down like an albatross., running faster and faster as he tried to get
off the ground. He ran, trying to fly, over to the far side of the pitch, where Jimi was
now playing a tender version of ‘Fly Me to the Moon’.
Despite Michael’s departure, the match ended with a five-nil victory, and a
hat-trick for Clara.
Freddy’s thoughts turned now to the Champions League final on Wednesday,
and of course, how to get Jimi and Michael back.
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