Ball Kickers Episode 1

This is completely unrelated to Heroes of the Storm, but I just thought I’d post it here rather than go to the trouble of setting up another wordpress site.  It’s about what would happen if intramural soccer teams were owned by James Bond villains.  Also: one team is cursed, a manager tries to get revenge on his former boss, three fanatical team podcast hosts attempt to break the curse, and so on.

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SCENE 1

WHAT IF THE GOVERNMENT CRIPPLED PRO SPORTS WITH CRAZY LAWS, AND PEOPLE CARED MORE ABOUT INTRAMURAL TEAMS THAN PRO TEAMS? AND THOSE TEAMS WERE OWNED BY FOREIGN BILLIONAIRES WHO WERE EVEN CRAZIER?

2007

(Interior, Day. The workplace of a FORTUNE TELLER, who’s going for an ‘exotic’ look without overdoing it. In strides an absurdly dressed man. You immediately feel that he must have a huge ego, though after a few seconds’ observation it’s possible he could take a joke after all).

TELLER: (Taking his appearance in stride) What can I do for you?

PINCHBACK: So you can see the future, correct?

TELLER: I go where the cards take me.

PINCHBACK: Vague yet charming. I like you. (TELLER seems a tiny bit nervous). I want to ask you about something I’m already sure of. Just to make sure you’re accurate, you know.

TELLER: Okay. (Gets out the tarot cards and begins shuffling).

PINCHBACK: My question is this: will my team defeat our hated rivals and win the championship today?

TELLER: Please, sit down. (PINCHBACK does so).

(TELLER finishes shuffling and reveals the first card: death).

PINCHBACK: Is that bad?

TELLER: Not necessarily.

(TELLER flips another card: also death).

PINCHBACK: (now slightly agitated) What about that?

(TELLER looks a bit puzzled, but says nothing and flips another card: yet again, death).

PINCHBACK: What kind of sick joke is this? They’re all death cards!

TELLER: I swear they’re not! (She shows cards to PINCHBACK. Indeed, none of the visible cards are death. PINCHBACK seizes the deck and flips six more cards at a quickening pace. All death).

PINCHBACK (close to losing it): You’ve cursed us all you crazy hag! You know what, I’m sure you’re wrong. In fact, I’m gonna double down on that.

SCENE 2

BALL HANDLERS LOCKER ROOM

(A locker room. There’s a MANAGER addressing his players. There’s also a statue of a gnome on the table).

MANAGER: So that’s why it’s so important to stop #9 Murgatroyd. Do that, and we’ll keep the title. And if you ever doubt yourselves, we still have the lucky statue. (Phone rings, it’s PINCHBACK). Sorry guys, it’s the owner. Gotta take this. Maybe he’ll wish us good luck. (To phone): Hello?

PINCHBACK: I’ve just sold your golden boy.

MANAGER: Is that even legal? We’re about to walk onto the field!

PINCHBACK: Look, I needed some quick cash in order bet on us. I had to prove a fortune teller wrong. You understand.

MANAGER: (displaying masterful restraint) I’ve put up with a lot this year. The clown incident. The trust falls. Having you play with us at practice. But none of those affected us on the field.

PINCHBACK: Look, just win, okay? (Hangs up).

SCENE 3

(Soccer field. Day).

ANNOUNCER: (voiceover) Hello and welcome to the final and title-deciding game of the 2007 season between Ball Handlers and Playground Legends. Let’s not beat around the bush here: Ball Handlers are the overwhelming favorites, having won eight straight titles and in the process earned 1-200 odds from Vegas. Only a year of devastating injures has allowed Playground Legends to get this close. As for Legends, they’ll hope for a moment of genius from star midfielder Tony Murgatroyd, and if they can’t get that they’ll have to rely on lucky bounces, long balls, and set pieces like less-skilled teams throughout history.

HALFTIME: PLAYGROUND LEGENDS 0, BALL HANDLERS 0

(PINCHBACK makes a beeline to his car as the teams adjourn for halftime, and starts drinking immediately).

90’ + 2’

(A LEGENDS PLAYER kicks the ball into a crowd near the Ball Handlers goal and a few BALL HANDLERS PLAYERS get a foot to it, but it soon winds up in the Ball Handlers’ net).

ANNOUNCER: And Murgatroyd scores one of the flukiest goals of all time! Playground Legends are champions!

(PINCHBACK staggers toward the lucky statue dragging a sledgehammer, intending to destroy it. MANAGER is appalled).

MANAGER: What are you doing? And where’d you get a sledgehammer?

PINCHBACK: What’s it look like? Its luck has run out.

MANAGER: Nobody wins every year and half the players are superstitious. What are they gonna do if they find out you smashed their good luck charm?

PINCHBACK: So what? I just lost like eleventy billion dollars.

MANAGER: Give me the sledgehammer and let’s go to the car. Then we’ll figure out what to do to take your mind off it. Whatever you’re into.

PINCHBACK: Really? Anything?

MANAGER: Just don’t make any rash decisions. I’ll help you down to the car.

(MANAGER glances back at the statue as he takes the sledgehammer in one hand and supports PINCHBACK with the other. When they reach it he puts the sledgehammer in the trunk, closes it, and the silhouette of PINCHBACK is visible in the passenger seat. He walks over to PINCHBACK).

MANAGER: I’m going to let the players know what’s going on OK?
PINCHBACK: Sure. Whatever.

(MANAGER hurries back and reaches the spot formerly occupied by the statue, but it’s not there anymore and he looks dejected).

SCENE 4

PLAYGROUND LEGENDS OFFICE, 2014

(Day. Office of GORDON GUFFMAN, who carries himself like the dangerous oligarch he was in his former country as he paces around the room).

GUFFMAN: (on the phone, clearly eager to interrupt) Look, Lorenzo, I don’t care how much you think you need him. The man was trying to find the next great player by examining their testicles. Do you have any idea what kind of roasting we’re going to get on social media? Leave that to the Ball Handlers (Pause). Well we could replace him with anyone we want, and at least 80% of players and scouts are average. You know this (Pause). Okay, but since he’s displeased me he’s still getting the usual treatment. (GUFFMAN hangs up).

GUFFMAN: (shouting) Manservant!

(MANSERVANT speed-walks into the room, places a drink on GUFFMAN’s desk, and swiftly departs).

(GUFFMAN takes a swig, then writes ‘Major Polkinghorne’ on the corner of a legal notepad. Tearing the name off, he then places it into a fishbowl filled with many such pieces, presumably other names. An alarm goes off).

GUFFMAN: Oh yes, of course. (GUFFMAN vigorously shakes the fishbowl, and is careful to avoid dropping it or letting papers fly out. Placing it on the desk, he walks to the other side of the room, rubs a trophy for good luck, returns to the fishbowl, and dramatically plucks out a name. Pausing a second, he looks at the paper. A wry smile appears).

(Cut to a scene of LORENZO addressing his players).

LORENZO: Congratulations on your tenth straight win, everyone. Our lead over Ashley is 12 points with only 21 left to play for, but don’t let up. I don’t just want to win, I want to humiliate them next week. Make sure you pick up the game plan before you go. You’ll know what they’re thinking before they do.

(Cut to an empty locker room; LORENZO is just about to leave when two SECURITY GUARDS enter).

SECURITY GUARD: Lorenzo Markovik?

LORENZO: (suspecting all sorts of things) Who?

SECURITY GUARD: (checks his phone) We’re here to escort you off the premises.

LORENZO: What the hell for?

SECURITY GUARD: Your number was up.

LORENZO: How did I even get in there though? I’ve won ten straight games and three straight titles! I never ask for more money for players! Hell, I even take care of Guffman’s fish!

SECURITY GUARD: That’s none of our concern.

LORENZO: Yeah, well screw this job anyway.

SCENE 5

(Bedroom, night. LORENZO is worriedly pacing around the room. He tries to make a call, but gives up after a half-dozen rings. The he texts someone named Annie: ‘When are you and the kids getting home? Tough day at work today’).

(Bedroom, day. LORENZO is sleeping, and nothing is out of place here. The doorbell rings; he quickly wakes up and checks the time, expressing dismay that he’s gotten up later than usual. Cut to LORENZO at the door in a bathrobe to see two police officers).

OFFICER 1: Lorenzo Markovik?

LORENZO: Why does everyone keep saying that?

OFFICER 1 (handing LORENZO a manila envelope): This is a summons to appear in court tomorrow at 8 AM on charges of child molestation, spousal abuse, and creation and distribution of child pornography. Have a nice day. (OFFICERS begin walking back to their car).

LORENZO: Wait, this can’t be real. There’s no way you’d let a guy who really did all this stuff walk the streets.

OFFICER 1: (who has now reached his car) Save it for the judge, you sick bastard.

OFFICER 2: I’m just glad your family got away before you could do any more damage.

(OFFICERS drive away).

(LORENZO just stands at his doorstep, dumbfounded. After a few seconds he opens the envelope and removes the contents. There is a lone sheet of paper saying: “Screw this job anyway. -Guffman.” LORENZO gets back into bed. Fade out).

(Fade in again to LORENZO receiving a message on his phone, waking him up. His room has become the tiniest bit disorganized; maybe there’s a sock on the floor or something. The message is an amber alert, and it says: “ATTENTION: local sick bastard Lorenzo Markovik is now living at 111 Anywhere St. He has been convicted of multiple sex crimes against women and children from his own family. You know what to do. Check our website for more information.” LORENZO goes to the website and sees that he is now listed as a sex offender).

LORENZO: (seeing that there’s a mug shot) When did they take that? (He notices a car driving by, and ducks his head down. A few seconds’ pause for thought, and he heads to the closet and locates a duffel bag labeled ‘Break in Case of Apocalypse’).

LORENZO: (upon seeing the bag) Might as well be the apocalypse.

(He’s about to walk out the back door when he stops himself to grab a picture of his family. Next, we hear loud knocking at the door. LORENZO instinctively ducks down, but once he realizes nobody can see him from outside, he looks out the back door and sees a fence off in the distance. In the next cut LORENZO is running towards the fence as fast as the duffel bag will permit him. Once he reaches it, he throws the bag over and vaults the fence after it).

SCENE 6

2017

(Late morning. A messy bedroom. The sole occupant, JONAS, has not left the house for several days, judging by the crutches, empty pizza boxes, and clothes flung about the room. He has also fallen asleep with his headphones in).

JONAS: Damn! (His phone alarm has gone off right in his ears, and he jolts awake as though shot out of a cannon. He notes the time and struggles to reach a nearby container of cookies without getting out of bed. Suddenly there is a knock at the door).

JONAS: (Under his breath) What the…? (Shouting) Just a second!

(JONAS makes his way to the door on crutches but there is no cast. He looks through the peephole to see the suit-clad ASSISTANT waiting patiently. JONAS is puzzled by this but opens the door anyway).

ASSISTANT: Message for you, sir. (He hands JONAS an envelope and then briskly turns and walks away. The envelope reads: “Ball Handlers.” JONAS considers shouting to discover the subject of this letter, but he soon realizes what it might be about, and in any case ASSISTANT strides out of sight too quickly).

(JONAS settles back down on the bed, this time granting himself easier access to the cookies but also Mountain Dew, savoring them. He opens the letter and begins reading).

VOICEOVER: Congratulations on being selected for the Ball Handlers intramural soccer team for this season. We know about your injury, but our sources tell us that you will soon recover fully, so we took a chance on you. We hope you will meet your new manager and teammates even if you do not feel 100% by the first practice. In the box you will find a charm from our owner’s homeland in the Austrian foothills (shot of JONAS opening the box). It can either grant you a minor wish that only benefits you, or it can hurt your enemies if you have something of theirs, like a hair or a personal item. Will it work? Is it a test? That’s up to you to find out. Meriwether Pinchback, owner of Ball Handlers.

SCENE 7

FAN PODCAST HEADQUARTERS

(Interior. Day. A dimly-lit room, one that has not been used in months. PHIL, the self-described overlord of the Ball Handlers’ fan podcast “Balls to the Wall” enters and sets up the microphone again. He then dusts off a photo of the 2006 championship team, which is marked as such. And finally, he dramatically stabs a voodoo doll with GUFFMAN’S name on it).

(Cut to PHIL seated behind the mic. The lights are now on, and DAVE and SCOTT have joined him).

PHIL: Hello everyone, and welcome to Balls to the Wall, the Ball Handlers Podcast. As always, I’m your host PHIL, and this week I’m joined by DAVE and SCOTT. Well everyone, let’s get right down to it. Is this the year?

DAVE: No.

SCOTT: So optimistic!

PHIL: Goodnight everyone, don’t bother following along this season.

DAVE: Why would you think we’d win? Our first-round pick Jonas is still injured. The owner hasn’t been seen since inheriting the team in ‘07 and is probably on crazy pills, and we still need a new manager, the most likely candidate for which might be banned for being a convicted criminal, even if he was framed.

PHIL: OK, slow down, and let me give you the counterpoint, AKA how things really are because I’m the podcast overlord. We haven’t been losing out recently because of bad decisions, right?

DAVE: Right.

PHIL: You can’t blame anyone but Jenkins for his getting poked in the eye by his Japanese fighting beetle five games before the end. Now, as for our new player, maybe management looked into it and the injury’s not that bad. Maybe, instead of ‘crazy pills,’ Pinchback is completely obsessed with winning the title because that’s all he’s got. And for all we know, Markovik, if he is in fact the new manager, has a poster of Guffman in his bedroom just to remind himself just how badly he wants revenge.

DAVE: That doesn’t matter if we’re cursed.

PHIL and SCOTT: Come on!

(In mid-cry, cut to PHIL speaking).

FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER

PHIL: And now it’s time for everyone’s favorite segment, the triggering, where we look at who made a complete ass of himself this week, and will probably go to Twitter or Congress of the UN to try to get us to stop ‘harassing’ him. So SCOTT, what do you have for us this week?

SCOTT: This week, we’re starting in a familiar place: Playground Legends.

PHIL: I’ve tried to avoid doing the same old thing on this show, but let’s face it: they’re our only rivals.

SCOTT: It’s all started when Playground Legends player Cletus Cowling was driving a 4×4 through Denali National Park. Then he encountered a bear.

PHIL: As you’re wont to do.

SCOTT: He must’ve gotten some advice on how to deal with bears. Whether it’s lions, bears, killer bees, or dinosaurs, you stay in the vehicle.

PHIL: But let me guess, he failed to heed this advice.

SCOTT: Yes, Phil. Not only that, he decided to approach the bear. Maybe he wanted to reach an agreement by which the bear would leave the road? I don’t know. Anyway, after a few steps the bear rears up and roars and Cletus takes off running, and he doesn’t stop until he’s out of sight of the vehicle.

PHIL: And did the bear chase him?

SCOTT: It did not. But when Cletus realized he had nowhere else to go, he went back, and the bear was in the driver’s seat.

PHIL: So he got carjacked by a bear?

SCOTT: He got carjacked by a bear. They found him two days later, naked, on top of a police car.

DAVE: The bear, or Cletus?

PHIL: This is going to be a great season.

SCENE 8

(Exterior, day. Heavily wooded area. Shot of ASSISTANT getting out of his car in the parking lot and checking the dossier he has on LORENZO. While moving through the forest at a deliberate pace to check the tracks, look for signs of movement, and so on, he even finds a tripwire. Soon afterward though, he locates LORENZO, who is hiding face down under some leaves. ASSISTANT pulls him up by his shirt and LORENZO plops back on the ground).

ASSISTANT: Lorenzo Markovik?

LORENZO: The last time someone asked me that, it didn’t go so well.

ASSISTANT: What were you doing down there, trying to join the Viet Cong?

LORENZO: That would be pretty cool. I’d get an AK, some pungi sticks, and nobody would lie about me.

ASSISTANT: So what then?

LORENZO: (Goes over to a nearby log and sits down). As part of my sentence I’m not allowed to go near any places where children congregate. And this is almost the only place around that fits the bill.

ASSISTANT: So what do you plan on doing long-term?

LORENZO: What choice do I have?

ASSISTANT: You’ve never thought about getting back into the managerial game?

LORENZO: Of course I’ve thought about it, but nobody’s going to employ a convicted child molester.

ASSISTANT: But you were framed.

LORENZO: Yeah. I know.

ASSISTANT: So what are you gonna do instead?
LORENZO: I was gonna learn how to fight my case, but some days I can’t move past wanting to slice Guffman into a fine red mist, and nothing gets done.

ASSISTANT: So why don’t you come back to management then?
LORENZO: Who are you working with?

ASSISTANT: Ball Handlers.

LORENZO: Ball Handlers? No way. Those guys are cursed. The last thing I need is to give Guffman the satisfaction of beating me yet again.

ASSISTANT: So you believe in the curse? I thought you were the ultra-scientific, leave-nothing-to-chance, 200-page-gameplan sort of manager.

LORENZO: Doesn’t really matter. It only matters that the team thinks they’re cursed.

ASSISTANT: But that’s exactly the reason you should come back. If you lose, it’s the curse, the nocebo effect, whatever. But if you win, you’re basically a wizard, the savior of a franchise. Besides, we’re prepared to offer you something you’ve never had: total control, and an owner who hates Guffman just as much as you do.

LORENZO: But isn’t Pinchback crazy? Nobody’s seen him since his dad went crazy and he inherited the team in ‘07. Besides, where could I live while managing you?

ASSISTANT: Pinchback’s not crazy, he just has certain needs that can only be met by getting away from it all. Sound familiar? At least let me take you to the house and you can decide for yourself.

SCENE 9

(Day. ASSISTANT is driving a car in which LORENZO is the passenger. They soon come to a stop in what looks like a rural residential area).

LORENZO: Why is parking so far from the house?

ASSISTANT: Because what does Pinchback care? He never leaves the house anyway.

LORENZO: So this is his place then?

ASSISTANT: Yeah. But help me unload his stuff first.
(ASSISTANT pops the trunk and they both get out. The first thing that comes out is a wheelbarrow).

LORENZO: Why do you need a wheelbarrow? Are you doing your Eagle Scout service project?

ASSISTANT: Look, it’s not that heavy, just hard to carry. (ASSISTANT takes a suit of armor out of the car and puts it in the wheelbarrow. LORENZO looks puzzled but starts unloading as well. Among the items are a sword, a shield, a helmet, an old gun, and a crate labeled ‘PILLS.’)

(LORENZO is now pushing the wheelbarrow along as ASSISTANT walks with him).

LORENZO: So when Pinchback liberates the holy land, do we automatically win the title?

ASSISTANT: Maybe it’s good that you got fired.

LORENZO: What’s wrong with jokes?

ASSISTANT: Making fun of the disabled is very problematic.

LORENZO: Sorry. I didn’t know.

ASSISTANT: The truth is, I don’t know what he’s gonna do with this stuff. Maybe Pinchback bumps into things and needs the armor to protect him. Maybe sometimes he believes he’s made out of glass.

LORENZO: And the pills?

ASSISTANT: I admit I looked once, but I can’t even guess after googling the medications. I did find blood in there, though.

LORENZO: So he’s a vampire?
ASSISTANT: See, there you go again, you ableist.

LORENZO: Sorry.

(They enter the house. ASSISTANT produces some papers).

ASSISTANT: Now I just need you to sign at the bottom before you can live here.

LORENZO: (After looking at the paper for a few seconds) Well, I guess I have nothing to lose. (He signs it).

ASSISTANT: Congratulations, you’ve just replaced me. You’ll be handling all of Pinchback’s requests as a condition of your residence here. Good day to you, sir. (ASSISTANT leaves).

SCENE 10

HALF AN HOUR BEFORE GAME TIME

(Interior, day. A locker room. LORENZO has shown up well before his players and is diligently setting out chairs and putting reports into three-ring binders for them. Closeup of the title page, which reads ‘HOW TO DEFEAT PLAYGROUND LEGENDS by LORENZO MARKOVIK”).

(PLAYERS start filing in).

LORENZO (greeting the first PLAYER, handing him a binder): Hi, I’m Lorenzo, read this.

(PLAYERS start arriving more quickly. LORENZO hands a few more of them binders).

(JONAS, who’s now seated with his binder and the other PLAYERS, overhears):

BALL HANDLERS PLAYER 1: Isn’t this the child molester guy?

BALL HANDLERS PLAYER 2: Yeah. That’s pretty messed up.

BALL HANDLERS PLAYER 1: I’m not sure if he really did it though. You can get on the list just for looking at a kid wrong these days.

BALL HANDLERS PLAYER 2: At least this field isn’t near any kids. I hate kids.

LORENZO: (addressing everyone) Alright, listen up everyone. We have ten minutes before we have to get out there so I’ll keep this short. I’m the manager Lorenzo Markovik. You’ve probably heard rumors about me, especially if you’ve played in the league before. Does this guy touch kids? Does he write 100-page reports for even the easiest games? (Smiles). Why did Guffman fire him? Well, no I don’t touch kids, Guffman framed me. That means I might never see mine again. So what’s left to do? Write about every last tendency the Playground Legends have. Obviously we don’t have much time so just read the part most relevant to you. If you’re taking penalties and their goalie dives to his left 51.2% of the time, that’ll be in there. If their left back has pins in his foot and had a slightly disappointing experience at a restaurant last night, you’ll know. So let’s get out there, kick some people around, and get after it.

SCENE 11

REFEREE’S HOUSE

HALF AN HOUR BEFORE GAME TIME

(Exterior. Day. Two LEGENDS ASSISTANTS are sitting in a car outside a house. One of them, LEGENDS ASSISTANT 2 is searching the surrounding area for any signs of surveillance).

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 1: Will you stop doing that?

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 2: No. We can’t be seen here.

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 1: Or what? Everyone’s doing what we’re doing.

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 2: Guffman would fire us for anything. I don’t want to take any chances.

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 1: (seeing REFEREE walk into the house) Well, there he is. You satisfied? And bring the suitcase.

(LEGENDS ASSISTANTS go to the door and knock. REFEREE answers).

REFEREE: (cautiously, from behind partially opened door) Are you here for the thing?

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 2: (puzzled)…Yes?

REFEREE: Well get in here before anyone sees you.

(The three of them hustle in. There is another ASSISTANT packing up his things and he leaves almost as soon as they’ve entered).

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 2: Wait, what was that guy doing here?

REFEREE: Probably the same thing you guys are.

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 2: So you’re just rigging games like wrestling matches? How could you let that guy see us?

REFEREE: What’s he gonna do? (Mimics a phone call) Hello, FBI? I’d like to report a referee bribery scandal in an intramural soccer league. How do I know about it? I just tried to bribe him too. Oh wait, I shouldn’t have said that. Goodbye.

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 1: Be gentle with him. It’s his first time. Can we sit down?

(REFEREE gestures toward a table and they all sit down).

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 1: There are a thousand reasons we think you should be a Playgrounds Legends fan today.

REFEREE (scoffs): A thousand? I don’t even get out of bed for that.

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 1: Oh yeah? Who’s gonna give you more? We both know Pinchback’s too cheap to pay up.

(Pause for REFEREE reaction. He knows he’s beaten).

LEGENDS ASSISTANT 1: Just for that, it’s $500 now. Unless you think Pinchback will offer more in the next hour.

REFEREE (sighs): Throw in a pizza and you’ve got a deal.

SCENE 12

(Exterior. Day. A soccer field with players preparing for a game. Playground Legends is in red and Ball Handlers is in white).

PHIL (voiceover): Hello and welcome to the season opener, and it’s a big one against Playground Legends and their filthy red rags. I’m Phil from the Balls to the Wall podcast and with me is my co-commentator Scott. Dave is currently banished due to the disgusting lack of faith he showed last podcast. So Scott, tell us about the lineups.

SCOTT: No surprises for either team, except maybe Jonas, who we didn’t think could make it back from injury in time for today. On the Legends side, odds are that Giovanni Jukes is either high, itching for a fix, or recovering from crashing one of his cars yet again last night. In goal is probably the only guy crazier than he is, Lothar Frings, who always looks like he’s about to bite the head off a squirrel.

PHIL: (Kickoff) And the season’s underway. Duggleby passes back to PLAYER…over to McKnight…It’s taken away by Tribe…But Bebo steals it right back for Legends.

SCOTT: Good take there by Trickle. Seemed like he knew what Bebo was going to do before he did. Maybe that’s one of Lorenzo’s infamous game plans paying off.

HALFTIME: PLAYGROUND LEGENDS 0, BALL HANDLERS 0

(90’ + 2’)

PHIL: We didn’t think Ball Handlers would have a chance in this one after their offseason turmoil, but all they have to do is survive this Legends corner and they’ll get a point.

(Shot of a corner kick being scored; nothing particularly flashy about it. Ball Handlers player ERASMUS goes down and starts writhing on the ground as though he has just been shot, rolling until he’s almost stuck in the net. He glances over to the REFEREE as he does so in the hope of a foul, but the REFEREE isn’t buying it).

PHIL: And Legends have scored in second-half extra time! This puts a serious dent in our title hopes already. And wastes a great performance too.

SCOTT: To add insult to injury, Erasmus has gone down injured, and nearly rolled into the net.

PHIL: That’s what I hate about players today. You’re not injured. You don’t have to roll halfway across the field. And don’t look at the referee, just do better next time. I don’t care if he’s one of ours.

SCOTT: Well, maybe he really is hurt this time.

PHIL: We’ll see.

(Cut to a shot of ERASMUS lying on his back in an empty room, open-mouthed, and still).

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