They all sat at the round table in a dimly lit room. The only wash of light was a dying yellow light bulb that dangled loosely at the end of a single wire, dropping from the ceiling. It cast just enough light for each man to see his hand and the booze in front of him. Booze was needed tonight, for there were lots of sorrows to drown.
The deposed king cleared his throat, as he prepared to speak. He took some time to tuck back in a loose strand of hair that threatened to insult the aura of peRFection he had so carefully crafted all these years.
“We’ve got to stop that Balkan boy.” He said, with the familiar air of neutrality. Only the most trained ear could hear the anger hidden underneath that illusion. “How many in a row has he won now? How many?”
“Matches or tournaments?” Asked the shaggy Scot.
His Adam’s apple oscillated up and down the length of his noticeably long neck. It was usually the tell-tale sign, that he was nervous and didn’t completely believe in himself.
“Are you mocking me?” The deposed king asked.
“Not at all.” The shaggy Scot replied, nervously.
“I try in Doha… I get roasted alive no?” The Bull, observed.
“Listen, we have to go over the traps we set for him and why they haven’t worked.” Mr. Perfect Hair, chimed in.
He was the only one there who wore a suit and a bow tie. His hair was slicked back with oil, and perfectly combed in place. If you looked hard enough, you would think he appeared in monochrome, just cos. He looked around at the others, before continuing.
“When I came into Australia, I slipped in some information to the authorities about possible match fixing, cos I knew about his near miss. I thought that would destabilize his concentration, but he appears to be unfazed.” He continued.
“Z…Well…Zzzzz you see it will always be a bit… um… difficile, but I almost had him.” D’Artagnan said. “The perfect strategy that works is to allow him beat himself. I try and try. 100 unforced errors and nothing to show for it.”
The deposed king sighed before glaring at Jetnnis Lee. The diminutive Asian gave the greatest Lindt truffles ambassador a squinty eyed glare in return.
“And you. You always get up for my matches. What happened today? Huh?”
Jetnnis Lee kept mute and blinked twice before responding.
“You…” He pointed at peRFection. “You, no balkan boy.” He smiled and chuckled before running out of the room. Down the hallway they heard him let out a yell of anguish.
“Arrrggggghhhh!! Hamstring! Hamstring!!”
Shaggy Scot shook his head.
“Guess he’s out for the next five months.” He observed.
“The usual.” The little beast agreed.
He had been silent the whole night, as was his wont (ahem Tignor).
“When we get on that court tonight, I’ll show you the usual.” Shaggy Scot said, keeping his eyes on the little beast.
“We see, when we play.” The little beast responded.
“Back to the matter at hand.” Mr. Perfect Hair interrupted. “Who will stop the Balkan menace. Whom shall we send?”
The silence was deafening as each man looked at the other. The deposed king dropped his beer bottle, loudly on the table.
“I’ll go.” He said, as he stood up proudly.
“You sure?” Shaggy Scot asked. “I mean the last three times he’s…”
“Shut up.” The deposed king commanded. “I’ll show you how a real player deals with this adversity.”
“Good Luck!!” Shaggy Scot called after the deposed king, as he walked out of the room. “You’re gonna need it!”