Posts Tagged ‘laocoon’

The target man

March 1, 2010

I am alone.

Of course that isn’t technically true, there are defenders all around me but they don’t count. Isolated from my team, I’m ploughing a lone furrow as a second-rate-pro-turned-pundit would say.

I’m alone and I’m dreaming.

Oftentimes I dream I’m a soldier in a trench. All the others have died but I’m still here, knee-deep in mud replenished by the drizzling rain, sitting on the shoulder of the last defender, waiting for the order to charge the machine gun nests mounted on the goal line. I know the order will come, in five minutes or in fifty, who knows when? But it will come, it will surely come one day.

Suddenly, the artillery fires a ball high above me. The signal! “Chase it, chase it!”, the words are ringing in my ears, but I’m already up and away, running through an imaginary curtain of bullets, leaving the defenders behind, leaving everything behind. By the time I dare open my eyes, I’m almost there, two more steps, one…I see a sudden yellow flash to my right, I stumble…

I was offside again.

The assistant’s flag descends on me like an axe to put me out of my misery, but of course it doesn’t. I have to pick myself up from the dirt, surrounded by the same defenders, they grin at me with their right arms still raised; “You don’t have to do this, you know” I keep saying to myself, but I know I’m lying. Like a modern Laocoon, I’m locked in my eternal struggle — for 90 minutes. Or less, if I’m shown a red card for stamping on an endangered serpent.