God of Hunger
relaxing at heart pump speed. Next the neck. Tensed to allow tendons and blood
vessels to show prominently. If in a rugby shirt, collar up, Adam’s apple to the
fore. If in a vest the upper arm facing the fancied girl was to be kept in view at
all times. Biceps in profile. Pumped up to reveal as large a ball as possible short
of getting cramp. Shorts? Rolled up to the crutch exposing the thighs, all tensed
up to display a ridge running right down each leg.
Then, the timing. So important to take your time before the throw or the
attempt at a conversion.
This, the conversion, was the most dramatic opportunity ever afforded for a
bloke to impress a spectating dame.
One of your team-mates, usually the scrum-half, (small enough not to steal the
show) - lying flat out on the ground steadying the ball. Take three or so paces
back and to the left. Strike a pose again. Relax. Pick up some dirt and release it
to test the breeze. Start pacing back once more. Pause in prayerful mode and,
even if not that way inclined, make the sign of the cross like Pele before a
penalty. Not a big show of it. A little quick finger movement around the centre
of the breast bone while stealing a glance of your babe or hoped for babe. Stand
still. Absolutely still. Head profiled in the manner described. Relax. Run. Kick.
And follow through all the time keeping your eyes on curving path of the oval
projectile until it returns to earth. Not moving back to join your team-mates
until it does. Then, if it fails to score, say shit into the back of your hand and
look away from the sideline. If it makes the distance look straight at her and run
your fingers through your hair and with the other hand rearrange your crotch.
Prowess at sport was everything at school; swots had no hope, no chance to
attract the girls in the sure fashion of he-man sporting heroes.
School life was almost entirely un-academic; anti-academic; risibly so, as
instanced by the stock answer to the question, „Define The Second Law of
Thermodynamics. Answer: “The angle of the dangle depends upon the heat of
the meat.’’ So it went on. In French and Latin all questions were served by the
statement: “We had one of those but the wheels fell off. And in Geography, boys
never got beyond the Japanese city of Kumamoto, which, in Swahili, means hot
It was only after school that the Cambridge Higher School Certificate had any
currency with the girls. It was when the question of the best provider arose and
that is why the dwellers of no.41 Sinclair Road faced two choices. Make your
way in the world of work in London or go to college or university. This is
where Zak and one other went. Adi and Choco were left behind and eventually
returned to Africa. Adi went south to run a petrol station and that was the last
that was heard of him.