People come to me for ideas. They want me to fix things. I tell them that not all broken things are meant to be fixed. A cracked plate isn’t broken because someone dropped it on the floor, it’s broken because nobody cared enough to make sure it never got dropped. Obviously that’s just some kind of bad metaphor. Nobody should care about plates.
When the bosses of Formula One came knocking on my door I was reluctant to answer, because not only was I undressed, but I also knew what they wanted. There was talk of a rule change, something to do with the points system to make the races more exciting. They were standing outside my house because they wanted to make sure there wasn’t a better way to increase excitement. Eventually they kicked the door down, by which time I’d managed to throw on some jeans and a t-shirt.
‘I know why you’ve come here, but I won’t do it, people will die.’ I told them.
Sadly for me I took little persuading. Their initial offer was money, something I had very little of. With the recession booming as it was, and my urgent need for a new front door, I accepted.
I explained that all they needed to do was allow Ussain Bolt to enter and use a Flintstones car. And that’s what they did. Come opening race of the season there was ten car pileup on the first corner of the first lap. Five people were killed.
Six months later I got an email from Boxing. They wanted me to fix the whole sport. Nobody wanted to watch the damn thing anymore, it was just the same old punch, punch action everytime. I politely informed them that it was none of my concern and asked that they removed me from their mailing list.
Within the hour I had Ricky Hatton at my door threatening to knock my lights out if I didn’t come up with a way to promote his next pay-per-view fight.
‘Well, Ricky.’ I said ‘as you’re probably aware, at the moment, tickets to watch Guitar Hero bands are outselling real bands by three to one. They’re filling Wembley Stadium everynight. All you’ve got to do is fight the world’s best Wii boxing player.’
At first he was hesitant, he was worried that he could seriously hurt his opponent, but I explained that it might be a closer fight than he thought. The Nintendo game uses most of the basic principles of the real thing. It’s just dodging and jabbing. ‘Although you’re almost certainly right, someone will probably be killed, such is the outcome of most of my plans.’ I told him.
On December 19th, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton died at the hands of a nine year old boy. Nobody could have expected the child to have a knife hidden inside his glove, even though children are famed for their love of playing with knives.
As Ricky lay bleeding on the blue canvas at the end of the first round, I knew that £9.95 was too much to pay to watch two and a half minutes of boxing.
Nearly a week later I was getting ready to sit down for Christmas dinner with my family. It had been a bad year. I’d unwillingly caused the deaths of six sportsmen.
My sister had yet to arrive with her new boyfriend, whom none of us had met or heard anything about yet. Just as the turkey was being pulled out of the oven, in walked my sister and her boyfriend, who just happened to be John Virgo.
All through dinner my family kept asking John Virgo questions about snooker and Jim Davidson. ‘How many points is the brown ball worth again?’ my dad would ask. ‘What’s Jim Davidson really like, John?’ John would answer politely, without flair or genuine interest in the conversation. Instead he only seemed to be interested in me. Everytime I looked up I caught his eyes fixed on me.
When my mother started to clear the plates, John Virgo stood up made an announcement. ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ he said. ‘It isn’t right. Celia, I don’t love you. I’m only here because I wanted to meet your brother.’
Not wanting a scene to errupt, I led the former world number ten into the study.
'I can guess why you wanted to see me.’ I said, as I pulled out a folder from my father’s desk. ‘You want me to fix snooker.’ He nodded. I handed him the green hardbacked folder. ‘Everything you need is in here. Just make sure you tell Ronnie O’Sullivan.’ He thanked me and left without saying goodbye to the rest of my family. I guess it’s true what they say, a waistcoat doesn’t buy manners. Inside the folder was a 32 page instruction guide on how to redevelop snooker for the 21st century, borrowing heavily from professional wrestling. If John Virgo was wise enough to follow my advice, the next World Championship would focus primarily on behind the scene action rather than the matches themselves. Traditional dress would be thrown out the window and a complex soap opera would emerge between the best snooker players the world.
Day one of the tournament came. I sat down to watch the live feed of the dressing room where a spandex covered Mark Williams opened a verbal can of whoop-ass on a waistcoat wearing Ronnie O’Sullivan. ‘You’ll be getting a rocket up your arse.’ yelled the Welshman. Ronnie seemed confused and taken back. When Williams began to focus his attacks on Ronnie’s father, something seemed to snap in the World #1. Lifting up his cue, Ronnie speared the stick through Mark Williams’ heart, killing him instantly.
In my living room chair I placed my head in my hands. They’d forgotten to tell Ronnie O’Sullivan.