The tiny screen comes to life to show an expanse of brown dusty uneven ground , the date in the corner shows 02/08/2040 . Audio kicks in.
“Well this was the cricket pitch ” the camera slowly pans around more brown dust and dirt to a ruined building , barely more than a pile of wood and bricks . “there’s the pavilion , where i live now , it was all different back then of course ; before . That was the first thing i noticed , people stopped playing cricket and then everything just got worse until , well you know what happened as well as i do. You haven’t come to talk about that have you ? You want to know about the game .”
The image shakes and swirls around , there is the sound of adhesive tape being applied , finally the image of the old man who has been speaking appears.
“This is a cricket bat but i’m using it as what we used to call a selfie stick . So this is the exact spot where i hit that magnificent six to win PSM , skipped down the pitch and lofted it back over his head . You see where that pile of bones is ? That was the boundary and the ball landed a good ten yards beyond that , a beauty. Also the spot where Jerry uppercut a beamer for four on his way to making 70 odd , great knock that was. Benjamin square cut a ball right to his parents feet by the pavilion as well , he had a great game too batting and bowling. Darryl hit one right over to that line of tree stumps there and one from the other end straight down to where that burnt out roller is, a lot of great shots .Jerry and i both hit the the stumps with direct hits when fielding. Were they given out? Erm , i don’t think , erm . What else happened you say? Its hard to remember , hang on .”
The camera shakes as the old man reaches into the voluminous trousers he is wearing tied up with string , he takes several large swigs from a battered hip flask , dark purple liquid dribbles down his chin .
” Oh i remember ! That’s why you’re here for this interview , the 6000 . Well it was a big deal at the time of course , ticker tape parade , meet the mayor for a slap up do at the town hall , all the trimmings.”
The old man takes another swig , the camera steadier now.
“Its all coming back to me now , Terry flashing down the pitch so fast , we called him the Bolt of Whitening you know , Alex’s electric stumping from Ibrahim’s unplayable spin , Sean diving around like Jonty Rhodes . Marvelous !”
Another swig , and another .
” Yes we were unbeatable you know , Rob and Guy fast and accurate as openers , followed by Zac and Benjamin mopping up the other wickets , they didn’t stand a chance . What was that? No balls ? No we never bowled them , Jerry would have shouted UTF and i’d have remembered that . We weren’t the sort of team a lad could make his maiden hundred against , no , no ,no .”
The old man upends the hip flask and drains it , his voice growing stronger now .
” Yes what a team we were , never lost a match , never dropped a catch , great days , this was all grass you know? Yes the whole of this area , beautiful green grass , trees , sunshine , not all this haze and dust. 25 years eh? Well thanks for coming to do this , i’d never have remembered that shot otherwise , you’ve brought it all back to me wonderfully”
He upends the flask again but nothing comes out . He shakes it above his mouth to no avail and looks slightly peeved .
“Oh well time for a refill .”
As he starts to shuffle back , kicking up tiny clouds of dust , he stops suddenly.
” Silly old duffer i am , you’ve got to do your piece to camera haven’t you ? To wrap up ? Yes i thought so , got to do it properly if we’re on the telly.”
The camera angle veers wildly, we briefly see a deserted wasteland again as the old man turns it around to face away from him and down , sitting in the dust looking up at him is a mangy black and white cat .
Bolt of Whitening, like it. You bring an oblique angle to match reports which sets a new precedent. Don’t get the black and white cat though?
Australia after a game Sunday. Gave them Bodle Street’s number, as we’re too good.
you’re a dark horse
Got to have photos of the score book to make sense of that match report! ..that maiden hundred etc Marvellous writing Biff, like a Doris Lessing novel. Result is all Burmese to me. That might be because I’m in the only hotel room I ever experienced with free beer in the fridge. Really.
Not exactly in line with the ‘Beer and Banter’ ethos but deeply moving nonetheless.
Quite so Hatrick, especially as I think I might be the pile of bones at Long On.