THE RETURN OF TIMMY BENDIŠ - PART IFC GRONINGEN 1 - 2 MANCHESTER CITY FC - UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Bendiš was in the stands watching Michael De La Parra struggle in his must-win game. The Dutch manager watched hopelessly, as his swashbuckling Groningen team completely failed to impress the legendary Croatian. After decades of success with Hajduk and Croatia, the now chairman of the club had finally decided to focus on his work in the public sector, and had himself crowned the King of the Adriatic and the Isles just two years ago. But he was most famous across Europe for turning Hajduk into one of the greatest clubs on the planet.
His son, now the manager of Croatia, Adriatic, and the Isles, and Hajduk was far less successful, but still managed to humiliate Dinamo 7-0 last week.
Bendiš, however, had absolutely no reason to be in Groningen. The Kings of Holland, Belgium, and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg were, of course, his excuse, as the four royals occupied the President's box, Bendiš towering over the other three, and, by far the most imperious. His voice was as strong as the former footballer's physique, and many many people had heard of the agent who was beaten to within an inch of his life and unceremoniously dumped into Split's harbour. And their were always rumours of the location of the Croatian Prime Minister: he who had governed in absentee for the last 4 years, and oversaw the creation of an independent Kingdom within his own state.
Of course, it hardly mattered anymore... Bendiš was far stronger than any Croatian Prime Minister ever would be. Even the American President Trump had exited his meeting with Bendiš visibly flustered, and obviously escorted by two burly Croatian secret service agents. The American Presidential Guard had refused to travel to Split; but the Secretary of State had insisted it was a wise move for the unpopular Trump, one with which he could establish legitimacy. Two days later, Donald had issued a statement insisting that the Adriatic was ruled by an autocrat and that the Americans would stop at nothing to depose of the newly crowned monarch. Three days later, President Jeb Bush was sworn in. Trump had committed suicide, stabbing himself in the back 37 times.
Bendiš had excused himself from the Presidential Suite, and proceeded to move down towards the pitch, finding himself a seat at the half in the first row by the pitch, only fifteen meters away from the scowling Michael De La Parra. His Dutch team, as strong as they were domestically, had failed to break down the English bus parking by Manchester City more than once, and he was visibly upset. The final whistle blew, and the stadium began draining, while the Groningen manager talked with the two Alexs.
They spent a lot of time, frustrated with the Manchester tactics... After some time, the two Alexs left for the pub across the street, keen to drown their sorrows into a good dutch beer that wasn't a Heineken. Michael finally turned around and noticed Bendiš, who definitely was not dressed as a fan. De La Parra, in a tracksuit, looked at the Croatian, who tipped his sunglasses down before standing. His deep black suit, impeccably tailored by the finest Italian silk; his burgundy shoes made of the softest calf leather... the heel delicately crafted of the very much endangered brazilwood.
"Not your favorite match, hmmm?"
Michael had promised Svetlana that he wouldn't be long... he always promised this, and yet every time that he lost, he was always late. But this... Michael had never expected to meet Bendiš. Maybe he thought that he would face the Hajduk team if they were managing at the same time... but never after Bendiš had retired. The Croat had gotten up and walked onto the pitch, gracefully climbing over the barrier and softly landing on the grass.
"My name is Timmy... Timmy Bendiš, and you, Mr. De La Parra, are quite impressive. I thought I'd fly in and watch a game of yours... but I obviously didn't go to the right one. No matter. The away match will be easy. Englishmen are consistent underachievers.
"Hi Timmy... did you enjoy the style of play?"
"It was alright. I do enjoy how you deal with the Australians and Balotelli though... do you think he'll have children someday?"
"Probably for the best. Care for a vacation? You can come down to Split for the week? ... But of course you do... I'll have my people pick you up tomorrow..."
"I'll see you tomorrow." With that, Bendiš left the very late and very confused Dutchman in the technical area, as he walked down the tunnel and out of the stadium, as if he had played there his entire career.
THE RETURN OF TIMMY BENDIŠ - PART IIA black S class waited silently at the home of the Dutch manager early the next morning. It had a longer wheelbase, and flags on its hood; a large man dressed in black waited at the front door, holding it open, as an exceptionally tired De La Parra yawned leaving his suburban home. It was a gloomy day in Groningen, but not as rainy as Germany, thankfully. He was dressed in the softest suit he had ever worn, one that he found in an unmarked parcel outside his front door yesterday evening. His assistants were unaware that he was going to be away for a few days, but Michael was unperturbed. Even if he was, a bottle of Glengoolie Blue sat waiting for him on the center console. It was 7.30 in the morning, but it wasn't often that De La Parra had a 600€ bottle of scotch waiting for him. He downed it on the way to the private airfield, where the newest Gulfstream waited on the tarmac, not that De La Parra would be able to distinguish the difference between a new one and the newest one. He could however, recognize the Adriatic seal on the tail, and the tail sign, ADR - 002. Another pair of well dressed guards flanked the plane's entrance, as De La Parra, distinctly feeling like he was on the set of Entourage, stepped out of the Benz and walked to the plane. He was, of course, greeted by the two of the most beautiful women he had ever seen...
... but he remembered Svetlana and only graciously accepted another glass of scotch before looking around. More brazilwood adorned the cabin, an obscene amount considering that the wood is usually only used in musical instruments. And a bar that had every drink he could imagine, from all the corners of the world - nothing but the best for the monarch.
It was only two hours later he arrived at the airport in Split. There was no need for a passport check, nor a security check. These rules did not apply to guests of the head of state. He was escorted to the water, where a Venetian speedboat stood waiting, its beautiful teak belying the speed as they raced off towards the city center, the boat as fast as it was elegant. Only minutes later, Michael De La Parra, basking in the sunshine stepped off the boat at the old harbor. A beautiful Ferrari California was parked next to a bustling café. His eyes moved up and regaled the Royal Residence, the same Adriatic seal adorned the building that rose over the harbour. A massive flag waved in the breeze above the palace... the palace that Bendiš had restored and refined from scratch. It was, by far, the most beautiful building he had ever seen.
Bendiš, wearing sunglasses and a flowing linen shirt stood up on the balcony overlooking the street, and waved De La Parra up. Another beautiful woman started chatting with him, as she led the Dutchman up the stairs, while Michael let himself have one more longing gaze at the gleaming Ferrari.
Bendiš and De La Parra talked for hours about everything... and many people came and visited. He recognized some, and not others... but all treated Bendiš as friends. The man had an infectious personality, and De La Parra relaxed. Bendiš and De La Parra drank, before, at one point, completely clearly, the massive royal declared that they would take a ride.
Michael considered this skeptically but was too tipsy to consider. Weight had obviously helped the taller man process the alcohol, so they took the elevator to the garage. Ten beautiful cars lined the walls of the underground garage, all adorned with Adriatic flags, but none of them good for security reasons. This was the most carefree autocrat of the free world. He settled on a Mercedes roadster, the SSK... a beautiful early motoring sports car, which just screamed class... as the Mercedes Star always does.
They drove into the mountains, before De La Parra finally saw a castle rising above the Velebit range. It was tall, stone, and very old, and, as Bendiš drove up to it, Michael could see that it was also adorned by the seal of the royal family. Bendiš glanced, "This is something that very few people in the world get to see..."
Climbing up a narrow stone staircase, Bendiš took a small laser key from his keychain and glanced at an optical scanner... his eye obviously the only credential allowed through the massive wooden doors. The two new friends walked into the large room, but the lights were dim. De La Parra peered over the edge, but could not make out what laid at the bottom of a massive chasm in the center of the room.
"Go on, take a look, let me find the light switch."
De La Parra started noticing newspapers in a large bundle at the bottom as his eyes processed the low light... and recognized one, "BENDIŠ CORONATED", and another from the Sunday Times, "CROATIA IN SHAMBLES, WHERE IS THE PM". Bendiš had finally found the light, and turned it on.
A terrifying wail erupted from the hole, and De La Parra jumped back in shock. The bundle on the floor of this massive pit was the Croatian Prime Minister, his eyes unaccustomed to the light, his bones showing through. Malnourished, he begged for the sweet release of death...
"Please... please", the voice beckoned weakly...
Bendiš stood next to De La Parra and uttered only one word: "Fascinating"