Manuel arrived back in Rome later then he usually would for the side’s pre-season meetings & such.
After the stresses of the previous 12 months he felt he deserved a break, from JC, from football, from the world & everyone in it.
He had left his phone at home, told no-one where he would be & enjoyed a holiday without communication with the outside world. It was heaven!
On arriving back in Rome he, of course, had numerous missed calls & messages. He read none of them. He never could quite work texting out, or how to check his voice mail for that matter. It wasn’t important. Soon enough he’d meet with the clubs owners & would be up to date. Fuck technology.
As he pulled into the managers parking spot at the clubs offices, he was surprised at the large crowd of journo’s that had gathered. He of course knew he would be greeted by the media but this was jaw dropping. I suppose, we did pull off quite the upset last year, he thought.
He stepped out of his car & was immediately deafened by a wall of noise as the reporters shouted their questions, none of which he could fully understand. (in part because all the voices shouting at once made it hard to distinguish anything in particular & partly because he’d never bothered to learn too much Italian. In many ways, he was a lazy, lazy man.)
Never the less, he pushed his way through the crowd, smiling all the way, what else could he do?
As he reached the front door, one voice rang louder than the others “What do you make of these latest allegations Manuel?” It echoed. Again, he just smiled & gave a little wave.
Allegations? No doubt some player, probably that idiot Jovetic, had celebrated a little too hard & gotten into a fight, or worse, someone’s wife!
In any case, it would be an easy enough fix. Regretful press conference followed by a stint on the side lines with a wink & a nudge from Manuel. It never changed.
As he entered the building he was confronted by a clearly irate club president, Marco Rossi, who immediately began hurling abuse.
“Where the fuck have you been!?”
“Why don’t you answer your phone!?”
Before Manuel could answer he had been man handled into a nearby office, his ears still ringing from the continued abuse. Marco slammed a newspaper onto the nearby desk.
“& what about this!?" He bellowed, pointing at the paper. "What about this you piece of shit!?”
Manuel need only read the headline; Manuel’s Missing Millions! His heart sunk, though it quickly occurred to him to pretend to keep reading the article as though this was all news to him.
“Lies” he sputtered “All lies” trying to look as confused as possible.
“Then where is the money Manuel? Our accountants have been very thorough, there is $1.2M unaccounted for!”
“I…..I don’t know….”
“Bullshit! We know about what happened in London. Your friend, Juan Carlos, he took the heat for you back then but he’s not here to do it now. You’re fired Manuel, get your shit & get out!" Marco made for the door. “Oh & the police will be wanting a word as well!”
Marco slammed the door on his way out, leaving Manuel alone in stunned silence.
He looked again at the paper sitting on the desk next to him. Fuck! He shook his head, this is going to get ugly….. I’m too pretty to go to jail….