RUINED IN BRAZIL
John Fisher was famous but he now sat in his luxury five star hotel room alone and distraught. It is 2am and the world was finally quiet. John poured himself another drink and went and sat on the balcony. The night was black, no stars in the sky and he felt the tears fall from eyes that never cried for in his life he was paid to be the man of steel. He represented a face of the modern man, handsome, charismatic and was loved by all for being what others could only dream and aspire to be. He was a star but behind the image John was not what the marketing companies had made him.
Tomorrow was going to be the greatest moment in his career but now his thoughts were held by the calls that he had received throughout the day and even whilst he had sat with his colleagues eating their final meal before the battle that would commence in the day that was to come. John tried to rationalise what had been said and what he had been asked to do. His companions had seen him walk away from the table and after an hour they came to find him. He would/could not explain what his wife had said. His performances were always a work of art and now his defence was heard and accepted without a challenge for he was what he was…. A star of the people, the common man could relate to him he who had risen above a humble and disturbed youth and now represented them with humility that they cherished in the mighty arenas of this competitive world.
He already lived a lie but it was a lie that made him millions of pounds every year, he the family man who represented the nation. When they stood together they were the epitome of love. People could see it in the way they held each other’s hands, the smiles, and that feeling that everybody wanted in their life. To be loved. But it was a lie, an act, the perfect couple performed every day but away from the eyes of the world they sat alone. No comfort, no pretence to be what they had for a very short time but now they could not show their hatred for each other to anyone, because of their son who was the only reason that John maintained the charade. Money he had enough, did he care for the revered status that the people of this nation had for him. No, this was another performance that he knew he had to maintain. But he was tired of being the hero, living everybody else’s dream.
John was awake as the sun rose from behind the hills and the heat of the day had started. He could hear the world moving around him but he was trapped inside his mind of doubt, he was being tortured by the morality of what was going to happen, whatever his choice. Since his transition from a boy of ethnic parents who had thrown him into the world without a care and then had left him only to appear when he became a famous, he discarded them like they had rejected him. He had decided he would play the role of a star that captured millions of hearts but away from the media he devoured books and knowledge but displayed that to no-one not even his wife and family. He wanted to refute the common stereotype of a sportsman. At this time he displayed that man only to himself; soon he planned to be one man? These roles he performed with a reassurance and skill of an actor worthy of a nomination for an Oscar. Now he had decided what he needed to do but it troubled him, he did not care that his revered status would be destroyed but he knew although it was a sham it did bring millions of people pleasure and happiness even if only for a short moment in their painful lives and for that he was now being devoured by a form of guilt. He found solace in the works of Socrates, Nietche, and Aristotle but the simple philosophy from Desiderate had driven home the certainty of what needed to be done and sod the world. It was his time for once and fuck the roles and the guilt. He knew if he had stayed the stupid character that was his birth right then he would not have this trouble, intelligence brings a knowledge that sometimes needs to be transcended by greed and selfishness then he could be like other people who had this in their nature, being a nice guy sometimes does not help the cause of self-interest.
Melissa threw the phone to the floor and swore, why did he not answer?. She knelt down and held her hands around her face. She was always in control that was her personality, she lived her life in the same sham world but it was her choice and she loved it. Melissa stood up and walked into the bathroom and amongst the brands of the rich and famous she found the aide that she needed to fight the world and her real lack of confidence. The Cocaine that she had used for many years, she had hidden from John because she was really a shy girl from a rich divorced family. Unlike her husband who had no formal education she was sent to a famous and expensive boarding school and although her family had money she had no-one who cared for her including the school. She was not clever but she was pretty and it drew the men who just wanted her for her body. Other women hated her because she was beautiful and could choose her men but she really craved a real friendship but all she had was men and women who just used her and then left her.
Then she met this man who was so handsome but played sport and she was thrown into a world of millions of friends. She loved him and she knew he loved her. For the first time in her life Melissa had a worth beyond money. It was a feeling that depended on nothing but an emotion from within. How long had it lasted she could not remember. Now she stood in front of the bathroom mirror naked and hated herself. The body that was once beautiful and still looked the same to the millions but she knew that it was only because of the skill of the surgeon. She needed to be strong and find her husband because she needed her son. She searched through the brands that she was paid to endorse until she found the friend that she needed and relied upon to maintain this appearance of the confident woman. She drew a line of Cocaine and she knew that her broken confidence would be replaced by a feeling of superiority and grandiosity as she was told but never understood. She had never let John know about the cocaine she wanted him to believe that she was strong and reassured and played her role without any help. She felt that ‘feeling’ immediately and went and found the phone and tried John again but still no response. She looked at her son’s photo and saw her husband’s eyes. She had also hidden from John how much she knew, she knew of them and she knew she wanted her son Jake back; he was her son and not theirs. Her heart cried and then she heard the phone ringing and it was them.
It was time, John left his room and joined his comrades as they walked to the team coach, there was a sense of fear but also excitement amongst them all whether young or old. Some tried to ask him about his problem but he just reassured them in his humble way that all was now resolved. His mobile rang constantly but in silence as his wife and ‘they’ sought reassurance that he would follow what he said he would do. Only he knew what he had agreed and what he now planned. That apart from one other man, the only person John trusted to deliver what he wanted irrespective of the consequences. Martin was his manager, friend and mentor who had spent a generation laying the seeds, watching him grow and reaping the rewards as he matured into this icon. The fact that they had slept together was a secret that the world did not know or possibly guess or would want to believe. They had sex and John was comforted by a man, a fact society would condone. Was he Gaye and his wife was just the usual cover like the film stars of old? John new the answer was no, he just needed somebody at that moment who would care for him without any conditions and they both knew it would never happen again. But so what if it did who would judge them, the world or his own soul.
Martin sat in his car outside the hotel; he had been up all night trying to find a solution to this problem. Martin was exhausted and just sat there trying to decide what to do. John would be waiting for him to phone. Martin looked in the mirror and saw his face, he was now 60yrs old, he had lived so many lives since they had brought John to his office, the boring reliable accountant was immediately attracted to this beautiful boy who was going to be a star. They wanted him to be his business manager, to nurture this uneducated fifteen year old boy. The club had had many stars but it was believed that John was going to be a superstar, so Martin contained his desire and became an ‘uncle’ to the boy who was lost but had such charisma that he knew they would not fail. Martin had been and seen them and then paid millions to find Jake. Could he trust anybody including John to deliver? His plan was find Jake and take him away but also for John to deliver on his promises, then he had covered all the options. He had arranged everything that John had asked but he did not have Jake, not yet. But as he sent John a text, he lied and hid the truth, it was for the first time but he knew he had to empower John to be free and strong to deliver what his heart and conscience would allow.
John looked at his phone and saw the text that he wanted from Martin. He smiled and stood up as the coach arrived at the ground. He looked down at his teammates; they had discussed the tactics, dissected the opposition but they were frightened and nervous that despite being the strongest favourites to win this world cup somehow they would be humiliated. John walked down the aisle of the coach and just reached out and held each man’s hand in a show of strength and solidarity. It was a moment which enhanced his status, he felt God like as he transferred conviction and a destiny to men who felt calmed by a mere touch of his anointed palms. But again it was an act and a performance that they soon would witness and be actors themselves as the story unfolded.
As he left the coach he could see his wife standing by the entrance to the changing rooms, he paused and let the rest of the team move through the doors. ‘Melissa’ he spoke her name but no more, she tried to speak but John moved forward and kissed her, held her hand and looked into those eyes. She stared at him and again tried to speak but John pulled her close to him and whispered ‘Do not cry anymore, he will be ok’. With those few words he moved forward and left her alone, he did not turn around and she did not speak. As much as their worlds had grown apart and she hated him more every year but he hoped she believed him and she could find some peace for he could not tell her why their son was missing and what was going to happen, she would have to trust him. His mind now needed to focus on the task ahead, he could not waiver, he had shown a degree of humanity to a woman he had loved and who he knew was distraught by what might happen to her son. The door closed and he was thrown into this other world.
Mellissa stood silently whilst the TV crews fought each other for her comments; she fought her tears and knew why she had loved him and why she hated him now. What is a star, what is a man, why do you love someone? John had a heart, a soul and an empathy with his and other people’s feelings. Now he had deserted her for a long time but for no-one else, no scandals, thousands of women and men would take him to their bed on any night but not John. He grew older with a mission which even Mellissa knew was the reason they had grown apart. She turned abruptly and saw a fashion photographer of great power and influence. She walked quickly to him and invented a smile and radiance that defied the inner pain and anguish.
Mellissa you look wonderful, said Mario, his camp demeanour deflected his ruthless nature.
She kissed his cheek and took his hand, ‘Mario, I am needed at the stadium, do you want to join me there.
Of course, he said.
‘Let us go, my car is here’. She said
Quickly they found the chauffeur driven limousine, they sat together whilst they negotiated the crowds. Melissa realised that despite the pain in her heart, a new performance was needed and her brand sponsors would want no tears and a continuation of the act was vital. All her hopes were that those whispered words of John would be true.
Suddenly he was singing the national anthem; the royalty had spoken to him and wished him well. The game was about to begin and he knew what ‘they’ had told him would happen that was the point, it was paid for and they said the end was arranged and he would be required to deliver.
The game started and within ten minutes John knew what he had been told was going to happen was being reflected in the game, far from being overwhelmed it was the other team that threatened to score, the crowd roared as they saw that the favourites seemed to be struggling .They could not believe this it was like a fairy story. Then it happened the other team scored and the miracle seemed to be going to happen or rather the millions of pounds that had been paid to the referee and his own friends and colleagues were now happening. Half time came and went, but the dream was threatened when the favourites nearly scored but he knew that would happen. It was close to the end and he knew what was going to be the final outcome and why they had wanted his reassurance and agreement. To ensure the result they had taken his son as a guarantee that he would deliver.
Martin had still not been given Jake, he had paid ‘them’ millions but they wanted John to deliver as well. Martin knew they would not just hand Jake back, so had used a team of specialists who had been formed after the Iraq war. Their existence was so secret that it was never mentioned. But the rich or famous knew they were there as the ultimate last resort. Martin had used them before for which John was aware. Now Martin stood inside the ground and felt ill as he watched the game progress but still no message to convey the rescue. He could not believe they would fail, but where were they. He knew what was he now needed to do and again he was going to pretend and lie to John. Martin had hidden his devout faith but now he knelt and offered a prayer to the other deity that he served.
Full time was approaching when the penalty was awarded John looked at the stands and he could see Martin standing on the touchline and who with a slow ponderous arm held a flag over his head. He looked like any supporter but it was the sign that all was well and his son was no longer the bait to ensure his complicity in this charade. How could they expect him to surrender to their demands without a war?
John looked slowly at the crowd he took in the fervour, the passion and the dreams that hang on the next few seconds. They had told him that the keeper was part of the plan so put the ball in the right corner. They had bet that the score would be a draw at full time and his team would win in extra time and he would score the winner. They would win tens of millions, the teams would be paid for their help and John would be the biggest star of all sports forever. The film of his life was already been being made. What more could he want.
John ran forward and kicked the ball as hard and as high over the bar as he could manage. The crowd screamed in horror, their favourite son had missed but how. John turned and walked back to the half way line; his teammates suddenly found their voices and all swore at him. The referee tried to play more time but it was impossible and he eventually blew his whistle. They had lost, he could feel the anger from the players they sensed what he had done was deliberate and they had lost their millions. John ignored them and walked to the half way line and in a slow ponderous motion pulled down his shorts, the crowd howled as the words John had had tattooed on his backside were visible on the large screen to the world.
It said ,’ I cannot be bought’
John pulled up his shorts, his plan was to run past the players and out of the ground to the helicopter that Martin had arranged and sitting there would be his son, they would fly up and away to a life of obscurity and reason. But he could not move something drew him to stay, the world was watching and now the reality of it all had drawn him to let the tears fall in front of millions. John raised his hands and applauded the crowd; he turned and bowed to all. The crowd had fallen silent their hatred was now tempered by this man who again had stayed and had been brave even if they did not really understand what had happened. John looked at the big screen and that was last image that he saw because through the silence came a noise and John fell to the ground.
Across the Large screen the words appeared. Nobody fucks with us. Not even a God.