09 February 2014

Van Persie manages to get hold of Arsène...

It was a pleasant afternoon, as far as such a thing can be said for a February weekend in London. It wasn't quite freezing, and the sun peeked from behind the clouds. All in all, it was an afternoon that invited reflection. And so it was that Arsène nestled into his favorite armchair, wrapped the afghan around his shoulders, and decided to close his eyes—not to sleep, mind you, just to rest them. The cares of the world slipped away. Gone for the moment were concerns around the squad's performance on Saturday. Gone were the worries over how the players would respond. Gone, too, were the—
The phone rang.
Arsène, vexed, glanced over but did not turn his head, nor did he move to answer it. 'UNKNOWN CALLER', the display read. Assuming it to be a telemarketer, Arsène shrugged his shoulders and once again closed his eyes. "Where was I? I don't want to comment on speculations. Ah, yes, I was little bit thinking about—"
Again, the phone. More shrill this time.
Annoyed, Arsène answered this time. "Allo?"
"Arsie! It's me!" The voice, though familiar, sounded a bit strained, as if it was trying too hard for jollity and therefore failing.
"Who? Who is this I am talking to?"
The voice, again, sounded forced. Too happy. "Robin. C'mon, Arsie. Don't tell you've forgotten your old friend Robin already! How's things?"
"It is too early to talk about that. Please apply the handbrake. What is it you want?"
"Well, I was thinking, Arsie—you don't mind if I call you Arsie, do you?"
"Well, yes, actually, I—"
"Great, great. Well, I was thinking, see, you need a striker, right?"
"Yes, there is a little bit speculation about this. Am I looking to make signings? At the moment, no."
"That's okay. Just hear me out on this, 'kay? Just—just listen for a minute."
"Do I want to hear? No, I think there is a little bit niggle in the connection. We will, uh, have to see at another time."
"No, no, NO! There's no TIME. Don't you SEE? I mean, um, there's no time like the present, right? Uh, haha. Ha. Um, yeah..."
"Robin, I do not think now is the time for these informations. I have to rest. The weekend it has been difficult and—"
"That's exactly why I called, Arsie! My weekend was also difficult. In fact, this whole damned season, well, I won't lie to you, Arsie, old boy—"
"Please, it is time to stop calling me Arsie. I coach in this league 17 seasons, I think I deserve a certain respect."
"Right, right. Exactly. That's why I'm calling. I want to come back because I respect you. I want to help you win. I don't know if you've noticed, but we're struggling a little bit. Ha! Get it? I said 'little bit' just like you do! See? We're buddies! We go way back, don't we? And buddies help each other out, don't they?
"I ask already to stop calling me Arsie. And that is the wrong information. I don't say 'little bit'."
"Riiiiight. Anyway, look. You have a problem. I have a problem. One hand washes the other right?
"Do I have a problem? Maybe. I don't know. Do you have a problem? Yes. What is your point?"
"Well, Arsie—I mean, Arsène—why don't I come on back to the ol' Emirates? I mean, I know we'd have to wait until summer and all, but it could be old times. You, watching me, me, scoring goals...what do you say?"
From the earpiece, Robin couldn't hear a thing.
"Arsie? Arsène? Hello?"
Still, silence.
"Hey! Arsène!  Are you okay? Answer me!!!"
"Oh. I'm sorry, Robin. I forgot. You can't hear a smirk over the phone."
Robin pulled the phone from his ear and gawked at it. Even at a distance, he could hear the click, then the dial -tone. It took him several minutes to grasp what had just transpired, time enough for Arsène to turn off the phone, rearrange the afghan, and doze off, murmuring, "I always know he was a little bit thick, but..."