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THE SILENCE

OF THE FANS

by Thomas Harris

"Blower, Roy. Good morning," said the man behind the desk.

"You wanted to see me."

"Yes. I've a job for you," said the chief of the Professional Footballers Association."He's at it again - transferring players for fees far greater than they can justify and telling them afterwards. We want you to find out why? What does he think? What does on in his business-like mind?" Blower felt a glad knocking in his chest and some apprehension too.

"Who's the subject?"

"The serial seller, Councillor Robert Chase." A brief silence follows the name. always, in any civilised gathering.

"Bobby the Slobby," Blower said.

"Yes. You'll see him immediately." Blower stood to leave. "Be very careful with Robert Chase", Taylor added, "and never, under any circumstances, let him get inside your wallet."

*  *  *  *

 

The corridor was about 30 yards long, with cells on one side, some padded, other standard prison cells with a wall of bars opening on the corridor. As Blower walked down it, he discovered exactly what fear was. Luckily he carried a change of underwear in an old carrier bag. Halfway down, he heard a voice hiss vilely at him.

"I can smell your Reeboks." Blower ignored it and walked straight to the cell at the end. It had no bars. It had thick bullet-proof glass. A solitary figure behind the shield and facing away from Blower sniffed the air.

"Good afternoon Roy," he said emotionlessly.

"How did you know it was me?" asked the shocked visitor. Chase turned and look evilly at his guest.

"You wash with Lifebuoy, and wear Old Spice, but not today. Today I smelled the spontaneous production of faeces in your pants. Tell me, what did Giggs say to you?"

"Who?"

"Ryan Giggs. The man who spoke to you." Blower became embarrassed.

"He said 'I can smell your Reeboks'." Chase shook his head.

"He's always trying for the quick plug. Sad Giggs. What do you think of him?"

"I think he's a great footballing talent," answered Blower after careful consideration.

"And that," stated Chase,"is why we will never buy him, or anyone like him."

"That's why the fans want you out, Councillor Chase," explained Blower. The prisoner walked right up to the glass and glared.

"I've been in this job now for 9 years now, Roy, and you know they will never get me out while I'm alive. You know it. I know it. The fans know it. We've got to accept it and move it."

"I need to ask you something, Councillor. Why do we always sell players who could bring us success?"

"Taylor sent you, didn't he?" asked Chase, avoiding the issue. "Did he offer you a job?" Blower hesitated. He was slowly losing his nerve.

"He sent me, yes, but...."

"You're so ambitious, Mr Blower. You so desperately want to go all the way to the P.... F.... A. Do you know what you look like to me with your carrier bag and your new trainers. You look like, and I want to make myself perfectly clear, and old twat. Allow me to elaborate. We've sold all our talented lads. So what? We've made a great deal of money by doing so. And we've bought in youngsters to replace them. They've got a bit of skill, but their all one step away from poor white trash. I will never spend good money if I can avoid it. An agent once tried to negotiate a better signing-on fee. I ate his contract, with some baked beans, and a can of coke. Yum yum.". Blower was chilled by Chase's cold voice. "Quid pro quo, Roy. Now you must tell me your worst experience. What is it, and don't lie, or I'll know." Blower thought for a moment.

"It's the screaming. I can't stand it anymore"

"Who's screaming, Roy?"

"The fans. The fans are screaming at me about you."

"And what are they screaming?" Roy covered his ears.

"'Get rid of Chase', and 'where's the money gone?', and 'who's that fat bastard?' and..."

"I get the idea," interrupted Chase, "and you think I can stop them."

"Yes," begged Blower. "Please stop them."

"How Roy? How do I stop them?"

"Stop selling stars. Stop raising prices. Resign," suggested Blower. Chase moved closer.

"I can stop the screaming, Roy. I will stop them screaming."

"Oh, thank you." Blower was overjoyed.

"You're fired Roy. Goodbye Mr Blower." Chase turned out the light in his cell.

 

THE END

 

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