Tuesday 23 December 2008

Ricky Ponting and the Big Machine: An Xmas Fairytale

Ricky always knew he'd get to drive the big machine one day. Everyone told him that he would. At first he just enjoyed riding on it with all of the other lads. Mark was the driver. He kept on adding bits to the machine until no-one could stop it. Then one day Mark put on a shirt and tie instead of his cricket kit and started telling people about how the machine worked, so Steve began driving instead. 

That was brilliant. If anyone got in Steve's way, he would pull his cap down really low and drive the machine straight at them. If they didn't move, Steve said to them, 'hey mate, this machine is going to run you over. Reckon you can take it?'. He called it 'mental disintegration', although the lads said it was just fucken sledging, like normal. 

Steve took the machine really seriously. Everyone aboard had to go on these trips, which were like school trips, where you had to look at historical stuff and think about Australia and how great it was. Steve's brother Mark was much more fun. He would stand at the back with Ricky, and when Steve wasn't looking, they would sneak away to really fun places, like the trots or the pub.

Steve drove the machine for years. Ricky grew impatient. He wanted his turn. All Steve would let him do was stand on a table and sing the team song after the machine had run someone else over. That got boring, even for a simple soul like Ricky. Other people kept telling Steve that he should let Ricky drive soon but every time they did, Steve would pull out his red rag, blow his nose on it and score another hundred, even if he had a bad leg, which he usually did because he was really old. 

Then one day, out of the blue, it happened. Someone threw Ricky the keys to the machine. He climbed the steps to the top and took his seat behind the big wheel. All around him, the levers and pedals glistened, because Steve had really looked after them. It was a fantastic view. Ricky didn't waste another second. He threw the machine into gear and started driving, running people over just like Mark and Steve had shown him. If the machine ever slowed down or hit a corner, he just had to pull the Glenn lever or floor the Shane pedal and it would speed up again.

Ricky couldn't work out why everyone made such a fuss about driving it. It was simple! 
'Any idiot could do this,' he thought to himself. 
He liked to drive with his foot down all the time. There were a couple of blokes in India that he didn't run over and everyone told him to watch his driving, but he'd shown them. He just carried on as usual, and soon the machine was running everyone over again. Even when he'd hurt himself and had to let this do-gooder swottie kid named Adam drive it back to India, the machine kept working. He'd made Adam give the keys straight back after, though. It wasn't his to keep!

He took the machine to England and started running them over, like usual. But the Glenn bit broke for a while, and the big fat boiler they called Matthew wouldn't make the machine go fast enough for once, and the rubbishy English wagon overtook them right at the end. And then everyone had a go at Ricky when they got back home! He couldn't bloody believe it! He'd pressed all the usual pedals. How was it his fault if they didn't work properly? Get a life!

John at the garage took the machine to the bush and had all the parts repaired and cleaned up. 'Fucken' excellent, it works again' thought Ricky, and he drove it back and forward over England's wagon, which had loads of bits missing now. He kept using all of his favourite levers and pedals, too: Glenn, Shane, Matty, Adam, Justin... Magic!

One by one though, the machine's best parts disappeared. Ricky hadn't spotted that they'd been working hard for so long. He thought they'd keep going forever! Why would they want to stop - no-one could beat them. They even got a new mechanic, this bloke called Tim who said he'd been on a machine himself once, but Ricky wasn't sure that he had. 

He told Tim what sort of things he wanted to put on the machine. Tim got him a part that looked like Shane, called Stuart, but that broke and Tim got all these other parts that weren't anything like Shane. He got another bit called Stuart who looked like Glenn, but Stuart was second hand and had a crack in him. Brad fitted into the machine where Adam used to be, but everyone said Brad was a bit more like this really old bit called Ian, who now watched the machine with Mark. 

The machine worked okay for a while. Ricky ran it over India again, and he gave them a right old mouthful out of the window while he did it. People even moaned about that! What was their problem? Mental disintegration, it was called. 

But then he drove it to India and the machine broke. Steam came out of it. Ricky couldn't work out why. He pulled all of the same levers and pressed the usual pedals, but nothing happened. What was wrong with the machine now? 

He took it back home, where Tim gave him some really good news. South Africa were coming! Ricky needed that! If there was one team that went red and started crying as soon as it saw the machine it was South Africa. 

Ricky climbed back on and pointed it at them. It spluttered forwards. He stoked the Matty boiler, but all that came out was hot air. He went for the Stuart lever but it had broken off! This old Brett pedal which worked now and again wouldn't move when he pressed it. Automatically, though force of habit, he reached for Shane button, but in its place were two or three others, and none of them looked anything like Shane. They made the machine do funny things instead! 

The Saffer wagon moved alongside and rammed them. Ricky felt himself jolt in his seat. He didn't want to get rammed again, so he pulled over and said he wasn't going to race South Africa until he'd had the chance to open his Xmas pressies. That fooled them! 

Ricky walked right up to all of the men in suits and ties and told them straight: 'this fucken machine don't work like I told it to. That ain't my fault, see. Some of these parts were just passengers, along for the ride. Why don't you go and ask them a bunch of questions, not me!'

In the dead of night, when no-one was around, Ricky got up, pulled on his CA trackie-dacks and went to look at the machine. It didn't look so hot. Why wouldn't they just buy him a new one instead of trying to patch this fucken old thing up? He pulled off the Krezja button. He wrenched the Brett lever until it was all twisted and ready to come off. He thought about the Matty boiler and all the fucken rattle it was making. He kicked and pulled and spat. 

The sun came up. Ricky was sitting on the floor next to the machine. All around him were parts that he had pulled off. He realised that he didn't even know where they went. 'Sheesh,' he thought. 'They'll probably expect me to put all of these bits back'. 

These people were impossible to please. They didn't just want him to be the driver. They expected him to understand how the machine worked too. Ricky put his hands in his trackie-dacks pockets. 'Hmm,' he thought. 'What should I do next?'


Unknown said...

Very well written and superbly put together piece.

I've got that Pink Floyd song "Welcome to the machine" going through my head now...

Anonymous said...

A wonderful piece Old batsman.I loved it!

So what's Ricky going to do now? Look to patch up the machine again or look to buy a new machine altogether? Or probably pass on the keys to some Krab or pup who could drive the machine in future?

Anonymous said...

Ricky can't give Pup the keys until Pup's used up all his sickies.

The Old Batsman said...

Thank you. It'll be interesting if they lose to the Saffers home and away. They could go for the Krab as an AB-style rebuilder. Ricky might have to suffer a tactical 'injury' for a game or two while it happens...

Gaurav Sethi said...

Old batsman, that's the most imaginative cricket outta oz in a long time. Scary bit, it's true.

moses, welcome is apt.

Damith S. said...

This would make a great bedtime story for English kids.

Loved it TOB. Brilliant effort!

Anonymous said...

i think tim the mechanic also sucks.......the machine will be in a state of disrepair for 12 months more i guess

The Old Batsman said...

Saw the little bastard's hundred yesterday - it was a bloody good one, I have to say.

SLD- yeah, am not sure how much impact Cooley is making on the bowlers, either.

RS Nathan said...

Bang on target...Masterpiece on the current state of Australian cricket...Doubt whether it is fair to send a Pup up against the Dobermans and Bulldogs.

Pat Hannagan said...

Ha ha. Funny thing is though, the machine is getting a fine tuning, a right royal kick in the guts that should come good just in time for the Oz vs World Eleven clash AKA The Ashes.

You can have KP and any leftovers from every other nation in the world. Exactly what constitutes an Englishman these days is anyones guess. Is he white, is he black, is he Paki, Indian or is he anything that the selectors can kit out in the Lion (is the Lion allowed now in the old Tart? or is that too un-pc?)

LOL. See the thing is Punter is an Ozzie and we recognise and feel him as such. The machine dies, we live, we breed, we make another. Failure is not an option so long as we have Ozzies.

But for you, who are you?

A rag tag joke of leftovers masquerading as Englishmen. Your days are done and dusted no matter the results.

The ship has sailed, imprisoned on your own isle, no hulks to shore up the scum that is English. Live with it, pray for others failure, pay for it with your Pound or is that Euro now?

I'd laugh at the English if I could find any left. Ozzies, laugh at us but we know who we are.

Pat Hannagan said...

You can't even say Christmas, your own heritage regardless of belief, and cover it with a 'nuanced' Xmas.

You are a Pom aren't you. Gutless and forelock tugging to your own end all the while cheering on others to fill your place in the ranks of men.