By Ash D


“You’re quality, mate”, I tell him, for maybe the fourth time in the last hour. Never been a great conversationalist. Would’ve been hard to put into words how I feel about this guy even if I was. Like a knife through butter he was, slicing through defences, in and out, and a shot like a piledriver. The one at Wembley was a beauty. I have the cut-out on my wall. Keeper on the ground, this guy rounding him with the ball and the defence looking the other way.

He is lying face down on the staircase, his feet dangling from the last step a few inches above the filthy carpet. Filthy because of my heavy duty boots. Always a shedload of mud in the ridges at any time of the day, even when the bleeding sun is out.

I’ve tied his hands to the bannisters at either side. Looks like an image of our Saviour. I have that cut-out somewhere too.

I’m glad this isn’t one of those fancy spirally staircases, which was what I expected in a place like this. No, this is a standard staircase. It’s marbled, so it’s still posh. But straight and not winding, with steps just the right size.

His shinbones are resting on the edges of those steps.

“That right foot of yours, mate. Pure class” I prod the back of his right leg with my boot. The shinbone’s braced against the sharp 90 degree angle.

He groans. Finally coming back to his senses. Took him long enough.

“And then you had to go sign for them lot.”

I stomp on his right leg. The tibia resists for a fraction of a second, before it shears into the marble and crunches. The bone echoes like a gunshot. One that’s drowned by the screams.

The bone juts out under the skin, stretching it like a tight drape with the shattered spikes pushing through. Had no idea skin could stretch that much.

I stomp again. Right where the bones are poking out.  They tear through the ligaments and skin and arteries, and the blood spews right over that expensive but filthy carpet.

I stomp again, and again, and again.

The fibula sticks out from the mush that remains. I know the name because he’s injured his often enough.

I use pliers to grab it. I pull and twist.

Funny how many different ways we can scream. The greatest striker of his generation has already shown an impressive range.

I keep twisting until the bone snaps. That’s my retirement package right there.

He’s passed out in a sorry mess. I sit down and wait. The human body has 206 bones. And I’ve got an expensive pair of pliers.

Should’ve asked him for an autograph earlier.