How cruel has just two cycles been to this once quaint and gentle hamlet. No longer do the tourists visit for meadow walks, for picnics in the leafy glades. All that remains here is dust, tumbleweed and the Banditos!
Gesturing towards the gaggle of cricketers currently idling aside a game, the bandito in the weird hat spoke;
“Is this anyone’s phone?”
“Don’t think so” they replied in unison.
The stranger toured the edge of the corral, slowly. The shadow cast by the sundial had not moved far when he returned again, with the same question:
“Is this anyone’s phone?”
Most of the idlers pretended they were slightly hard of hearing and fixed their gazes upon varying points of little interest in the middle distance. Unperturbed, the bandito continued with his inquisition;
“I found it on top of a car. Who likes cars?” he said, widening his eyes and fixing his crazed gaze upon El Zonko, the weakest and most metally fragile of the group. El Zonko would have squirmed in his seat but alas, his posterior was so generously proportioned, and the inexpensive plastic garden furniture it rested in was so miserly in its hospitality, that there wasn’t really room for any squirming to commence.
The bandito, unmoved, slowly reached into the inside pocket of his weird jacket and, without unfixing his stare on the weak but charmingly-buttocked cricketer, pulled out a ziplock bag of loose human teeth and held it aloft.
“Are these anyones teeth?” he said with all the conviviality of a demented and blood-thirsty jackal. “I found them on top of a car” he grimaced, as one of his eyes rolled backwards into his skull. Zonko grabbed his cricketing baton and hid behind one of the older boys, cowering in fear.
Concurrently, certain others of their number – the cricketers that is, not the banditos – were engaged in the game upon the dusty corral. Now, to engage in crickets on the Sayers Common is to invite certain tribulations into the contest that wouldn’t arise on any other Common. Somehow our victorious gang of idlers managed to accrue in chase a total of more than 215. The more numerate amongst you therefore surmising that between the two combatants a score of more than 430 was achieved in the combined 80 overs. It is with special regard I bring this to people’s attention, for the surface on which the games central plays unfolded was perhaps more suited to a bullfight than an artform such as the crickets. To keep wicket on this outcrop was a fool’s errand and El Amstel De Encuentro deserves several plaudits for taking the job on.
El Telvardor and Roberto O Boberto, secured the victory for The Greys against The Wanderers. El Tel braving the burning sun for the first time this annum with only his stag-scented, fear-inducing sweatband as protection. Like a matador in the midst of battle, La Sombra danced and tricked his way to glory (and twatted a pull shot so hard, square-leg could only parry it away in self-defence). His though, was only a supporting role, for it was Roberto O Boberto around whom this chase was built. El Luchadore dispatched the first delivery he received for four and then plundered many a six in the most handsome and chanceless of centuries. A joy.
The preamble to this denouement though, contained many a contribution from the contests other players. In fact a telling involvement was added by pretty much every man gathered for The Greys.
Right from the off, the opp knew our Greys meant business as they employed the axis of Roberto in the eyeline of the enemy baton-wielders. El Cancillor de Hierro deployed as lobber, flanked by El Tortazo and Roberto O Boberto. With El Cartero operating as metronomically as usual at the other end, the Wanderers initially were contained.
When I tell you this was a battle won by the entire ejercito, I’m by no means exaggerating. Seven of the nine (!!) bowlers deployed by The Greys took a wicket (and El Clunko surely would have taken one if he’d been given a second over). Each of these wickets falling is a treasured memory that I could describe in great detail, but for the sake of brevity I’ll just mention El Cancillor de Hierro taking a great catch at point to dismiss the most troublesome opposition baton-waver and El Capitan trapping the second-most troublesome opposition baton-waver leg-before towards the end of the Wanderers musings. Also El Jefe did a wicket and was very handsome throughout even though I can’t succinctly weave notice of his actions very smartly into this paragraph.
Not to be outdone by the chuckerers exploits, the batters also produced a fine team effort with no single batonist flailing or failing. El Tortazo caused carnage early-doors with an overhead tennis smash through extra after a length ball had reared up dramatically off the dusty surface of the bullring. Not to be outdone, Herry lashed a lofted beauty over the cover region himself. El Dunko produced a textbook Clunko but also a superb drive for 4 as well, and, briefly escaping the mesmeric stares of the Bandito, El Zonko even had time to produce a reverse-sweep of sorts (though, I must report, he didn’t take the knee so perhaps another name must be sought) before the two heroes mentioned atop this piece bought the contest to a jubilant close.
“Are these anyones teeth?” cried the Bandito, who, it seemed, was still ambling around like a weird menace.
It wasn’t until the Wanderers had returned to the shade cast by a few desperate, wilting trees at the edge of the corral, that Zonko noticed all the missing dentures in the smiles of the day’s opposition.
“ARE THESE ANYONES TEETH?” screeched the Bandito.
Shrunken by defeat The Wanderers nodded in unison and fell to their knees. What foul ritual was this? Like some faustian pact, it seemed they owed, in defeat, some offering to the Bandito of Sayers Common. They thrust open their mouths like baby birds awaiting regurgitated food from their mother. The Bandito reached into the other inside pocket of his weird jacket and pulled out his pliers.