Upstairs lives a middle-aged gent who is a self-anointed guru, expert on all subjects from the mating habits of Amazonian spider monkeys to the continuing success of karaoke in Taiwan. That he bears a more than passing resemblance to Chucky doesn’t help but neither does it bother me, we are what we are; what irks are his pronouncements and attitude. Give an opinion on any matter and he will not put you right gently but tell you bluntly how ill-informed and stupid you are. Yes, he’s a charmer. Of course there are other words for him but since i came out on top in our most recent (and possibly last encounter) i’ll be generous.
I met him by chance on the eve of the Djokovic/Nadal match at the French Open.
‘Djokovic’s run is about to come to an end,’ he declared. ‘Today, the King of Clay will show him who is boss.’
‘I disagree,’ i said. ‘I have the feeling Djokovic will win in straight sets.’
He put on his most definitive Chucky face and said, ‘What a total ignoramus you are!
Straight sets? Clearly you know nothing about tennis.’
About tennis i do know a little bit but i let his remarks go and repeated, ‘straight sets.’
‘Would you like to put your money where your mouth is?’ he asked.
‘I’m not a betting man,’ i said.
‘Aha! The reply of a coward, a spineless coward.’
‘All right then, what odds will you give me?’
He straightened up to his full five foot five and said, ‘Ten to one. I’ll give you ten to one Djokovic will not win in straight sets. In fact Nadal will do just that.’
‘Most generous,’ i said, ‘those odds are most generous.’
‘When I know I’m right,’ he said, ‘the odds don’t matter. Ten to one.’
‘Very well, i’ll bet twenty dollars.’
‘It will be my pleasure to knock on your door tomorrow and collect my winnings,’ he said with a smirk that was compelling.
I watched the match as i’m sure he did and rejoiced when Djokovic did indeed win in straight sets and wondered how long it would take Chucky to come to my door and pay up or if he would come at all.
To give him his due he rang my bell at ten o’clock the next morning and when i opened up he didn’t say a word but shoved four fifty-dollar bills into my hand.
‘Thank you,’ i said and off he went with a face on him like a cow’s arse. I’ve not seen him since, it’s school holidays here and he and the wife and the two kids are away but when he returns i have the feeling he won’t speak to this ignoramus again. I consider that a blessing.
Sorry i can’t manage more for now, the ole sciatica is giving me serious grief.