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‘What the bloody hell happened to you?’, Mick demanded to know, in an animated manner. ‘Their fucking keeper had already gone the wrong chuffing way before you’d even hit the ball – so, all you had to do was slot it into an empty net!’. ‘Fuck off!’ said Terry, ‘It hit the inside of the basta’d post, rolled along the line and then bounced back off the keeper and was cleared! I couldn’t get to the rebound, so what the fuck was I supposed to do? And, in any case, you made a right cock up of that clearance in the second half and they bloody well scored from it; so, stop having a go at me, okay?’ Terry was determined to defend his position against Mick’s derisory comments, and, in any case, they were best pals and this sort of banter was the normal type of post-match analysis that occurred after matches that we all knew we should have won at a canter. ‘We didn’t lose though, did we?’, Terry continued rhetorically, ‘At least we got a bloody draw out of it!’ Mick then added bitterly, ‘Yes, but we should have fucking hammered them and you’re the best player we got – so, we bloody well expected you to sco….!’
At that, the conversation in Mick’s banana yellow, ex-post office van suddenly stopped as our alerters all sounded in unison. I was cramped in the back of the van, sat on a wheel arch listening to Terry and Mick’s friendly exchange of disgusting verbal banter while simultaneously trying to act as a passive mediator as-and-when I could get a word in edgeways! On these occasions, and in such instances, I knew from previous experience that it was best to just sit back and allow the pair of them to ‘let off steam’ – although I did agree with Mick that we normally relied on Terry too much to get us out of trouble as he was a very good player, albeit with a pair of dodgy knees! But, then again, it was also true that Mick’s bloody stupid error as our ‘butterfingers’ goalie had cost us our lead in the first place.
All that was forgotten now though, as we raced to the station – which wasn’t that far away – with my body being bumped around in the back of the vehicle the way that postbags would have been haphazardly stacked during the van’s previous incarnation. Mick was an excellent driver and took it upon himself to accelerate safely through the traffic as-and-when he was able, while the sound of the alerters going off had resonated around the back of the van which became a makeshift echo chamber, adding to the sense of drama. Mick’s ‘need for speed’ was because of our desire to get to the station quickly so that we could all get on the first ‘pump’. (Full story available for 99p using PayPal)