Theo and Olivier discuss the transfer-window

     “Hey, Theo—s’up?”
     “Huh? Oh, hey, Ollie. How’s it hanging?”
     “Low and lazy. Hey, I hear you’ll be center-forward against Tottenham in the FA Cup match.”
     “Yep. Do you think Arsène will be impressed? Because if he is, maybe he could play me there more. I mean, after all, maybe I could play through the center more often. Now that you’re injured and all, we’re gonna need a center-forward. Am I right?”
     “Well—yes, I suppose, but that’s not really what I’m—”
     “Remember that time against Newcastle last year when I was the center-forward? Wasn’t I awesome?”
     “Um…yeah. You were pretty good, but what I wanted to say was that—”
     “‘Pretty good?’ Dude, I had a hat-trick and two assists. I’d say that’s better than ‘pretty good.’ When’s the last time you did that well? Huh?”
     “Okay, Theo; okay. You have a point. I do not think I have ever done so well. Listen, though. Just—settle down a minute. We need to talk.”
     “I thought we already were. I mean—boom!—goal. Zing! Assist. Kapow! Another goal. I’m telling you, Ollie, play me at center-forward more often, and that’s you’ll see. All’s I need is my chance. Say—you’re French, aren’t you? Maybe you could put in the good word for me with the big guy? You know, butter him up a bit? That’s your nickname, right? The butter of charm? Well, lay on the charm, wont’cha?”
     “I will see what I can do, but Theo, listen. I mean, really listen.
     “Okay. I’m listening. Shoot. Haha! Did you see what I did there? We’re guys who score goals, right, so I said ‘shoot’. Clever. Eh? Eh?
     “Yes, yes, quite good. But listen, Theo. It’s January.”
     “The transfer-window is now open.”
     “I can’t do this anymore.”
     “What!? You’re leaving?
     “No, no. Just calm down. I just—I’m tired.”
     “[aside] This is Theo’s big chance. With the Frenchman gone, the center-forward’s position can be mine. Only that out-of-favor Dane stands in the way. Well, we know just how to handle him, don’t we? Yes…”
     “Beg pardon?”
     “What? Oh—um, nothing. Nothing at all. You were saying?”
     “I can’t do it anymore, Theo. Week after week, match after match, I feel like I’m running in quicksand. I need relief. Someone to take over, if only once in a while.”
     “I, uh, feel  your pain.”
     “Merci. As I was saying, the transfer-window is open, and, well, I thought it would be good timing for me to get, you know, um, injured?”
     “Yes, yes, I know, and I hope you recover soon and all.”
     “You misunderstand. I’m not actually injured. It’s a ruse.”
     “A what?”
     “A ruse. I’m trying to convince Arsène that we need another center-forward. I thought, well, if I’m injured, and you’re injured, well, he’d have no choice but to sign someone.”
     “But wait—I want to play center-forward.”
     “Yes, Theo, I know. I have to level with you, though.”
     “Okay. Shoot. C’mon, buddy. That’s funny. Admit it!”
     “Er, um, yes. Anyway, I was thinking, it would be helpful if you could, um, get ‘injured’ as well, if you know what I mean?”
     “But then I can’t play center-forward.”
     “Yes. True. There’s that. But think of it this way. If we can get Arsène to sign another center-forward—no one glitzy, mind you, just some kind of back-up—well, then, you can prove that you can play center-forward by beating that guy in practice. Right?”
     “I…guess so…”
     “That’s the spirit! So go out there against Tottenham, help us win, but get stretchered off once it looks like we have the game in hand. With you and I injured, Arsène will have no choice but to sign another center-forward, won’t he?”
     “Umm, yeah…but what about Nick?”
     “Already spoke with him. He’s been on board since before the Cardiff match. Didn’t you see him turn his ankle?”
     “Not really.”
     “That’s okay. It’s all part of a master-plan. Ask Kieran about it—we did it last winter and got Nacho. Not bad, eh?”
     “Now that you mention it, I do remember Kieran walking around just fine after his, um, ‘injury.'”
     “Right. Just keep it under your hat, will you? We don’t want le Prof catching on, do we?”
     “Dude, have you seen him run? The guy’s like, 80. There’s no way he’s catching me.”
     “Uhhh…yeah. Well, good talk. Thanks, Theo.”
     “Don’t forget to put in the good word for me, butter!”

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