A Competative Edge

Written By: anonymous - Aug• 27•12

I thought I would be in the dog house for injuring Selina but, to my surprise, The Boss seems pleased with my antics.

“Ah, Mohammed Ali!” he greets me. “Injured any more of my team today?”

“Not yet,” I mutter, although if they all keep up these ‘jokes’ I might.

“Don’t look so troubled,” he laughs. “I was quite pleased to hear you had hospitalised Selina; it’s about time you showed a little fighting spirit.”

“I didn’t hospitalise her,” I point out. “There was nothing wrong with her that a packet of frozen peas couldn’t fix.”

“Oh, now disappointing. I thought you had broken her nose?”

“No. But If I had, I wouldn’t have been the first.”

“She’s broken it before?”

“She paid a lot of money to have it reset,” I say, feeling mean but justified. I am fed up with being labelled the bully in this saga.

“Oh!” his eyes are saucer-wide. “Well, well. Then, I’m relieved you didn’t harm it. The Employers’ Liability claim could have been costly.”

Although nothing is broken, it doesn’t stop her taking three days off and then “working from home” for the next ten days.  Jane thinks it’s excellent.

“You’ve got rid of Selina for a fortnight; do you think you could disable Tarquin next time?”

“There won’t be a next time,” I huff. “I’m not playing again.”

“Are you mad?” she exclaims. “You’re our most feared weapon.  No Property lawyer will want to face you.”

But, in fact, she is wrong. As word spreads of my misdemeanour the Property department is queuing up to take part.

“We hear you’re the star player,” sniggers Fergus, as I pass him in the corridor.

“You should know better than to listen to gossip,” I tell him.

“No, really, we’re all quaking in our boots upstairs at the threat of your left hook.”

For a moment I am tempted to demonstrate it but he skips off before I get the chance.

By the time the match rolls round Jane has (somehow) persuaded The Boss to have T-shirts printed with “Litigators Pull No Punches” on the back.

“We can wear them to Court,” he jokes as we line up for a team talk. “Now, no pressure, but if we lose this match I shall personally see to it that your Christmas bonuses are docked.”

“You can’t do that!” Simon protests.

“I can and I will. I have twenty quid riding on you to win. I cannot let those limp-wristed conveyancers get one over on us. Let me down and your already miserable lives will not be worth living.”

With that endorsement ringing in our ears we elect Jane as Captain.  If anyone has the necessary skills to crush the opposition it’s her. She immediately gives us a pep talk, telling Tarquin to “stop sucking his thumb and man up,” and Simon to “work as a team player and stop glory-hunting for himself.” That seems to rile them both and when she wins the toss up; she elects to go into bat. She goes first and harnesses that annoyance.

Fergus is bowling. He pitches the first one directly at her head.

“Foul!” she cries at the umpires (Malcolm and John) who glance at each other and shrug.

“Throw again,” Malcolm tells Fergus. “Aim a bit lower than her head.”

“I’ll try,” Fergus laughs, “But it won’t be easy.”

He throws again, a little lower than before. She fires it back, straight at him. He ducks! The ball goes sailing past beyond second base, much to the amusement of the crowd.

“You’re supposed to catch the ball!” they shout as Jane races round to third post.

Fergus blushes furiously.

Simon is next up. He takes up a baseball stance and growls, menacingly at the bowler. Fergus pitches the ball. He misses but races to first post. The backstop flings the ball after him. First post catches it.

“Out out out out!” chants Fergus as Malcolm nods in agreement.  Simon scowls like a troll and marches back to the bench.  Jane slips quietly past fourth post and back to the end of the line.

“Well done,” I tell her.

She nods. “Pity the rest of our team isn’t quite so determined. It looks like it’s down to me and you Hels.”

Unfortunately, she’s right. Tarquin gets run out at third post; Jack falls over on his way to fourth; and the rest of them fail to even make it past the batting square. By the time it’s my turn, there is only Jane and me left.

“You can do it,” she whispers. “Imagine the ball is Philip Carlton’s head.”

That is all the advice I need. As it comes screaming towards me I swing back and hit it with all my might. Being left handed, it sails way out over first post and into the no mans land where they have no fielders.

“Run!” shouts Jane as I fly off the line and round the first three posts. Fergus is screaming for the fielders to send it to fourth post but – too late – I’m there – panting and breathless but one rounder up!

“Yeah!” screams my team. “Go Helen!”

“Well done,” Jane pats me on the back. “Just do that a few more times and we might stand a chance of winning this match.”

Astonishingly I do! Three rounders later (two from me and one from Jane) we are four-nil up. We end with an (astonishing!) total of six rounders before Fergus resorts to more shady tactics and gets us all out.  We switch sides. The boys are sent into the outfield whilst the girls are manning the posts as a delegation approaches.  It’s The Boss, Miranda and Carlton. Great. Just what we need to reverse morale.

“How are they doing?” The Boss asks Malcolm.

“Pretty well,” he tells him. “They are six up.  Helen and Jane are our secret weapons.”

“I always knew they would be!” he laughs. “I have trained them very well.”

All those years of fending off his insults and batting away criticism have, finally, given us an edge.

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