“Yeah, anyway the local word for referee was Bumpyre which meant ‘being in the hot seat’ but because the English were not able to say bum they ummed and arred, went red in the faces and changed it to arrpire. However, someone said that arrpire sounded silly and that they should say ‘um’..’um’.. damn I’ve forgotten. (What about umpire said Milligan, an unexploded Irishman who was there and unexplained) – anyway – hey! What’s the matter John! Dennis!…”
The radio commentary suddenly disintegrated into a static sound crackling and distorted but what was really two grown men falling about the small box of a building and trying not to laugh all at once. Watching the last two balls of Hadlee’s over the P.S.M. Malone tried to fix his radio, nearly breaking it forever in the process. He was thinking to himself, because no-one else was inside his head, unless you count God and the angels…Well, that’s that. I’ve lost count of all them angels – but me radio’s broke and I can’t hear what I can see anymore. That is the first time this…? What do you mean by that? That is the first time that this…? I don’t understand what I’m thinking – no wonder other people don’t understand what I’m saying. Now, let’s say it slowly. That is the…I got it! This is the first time that I have had a day off work, except weekends when I really work and I feel so good I feel guilty. I know that’s me Catholic heritage and I’m proud of it! Them Protestants can’t have half the fun feeling good about what they enjoy. Even their priests get married and look happy. Ah! Maureen me love, they got no soul….
The radio came on with a vengeance at that moment.
“Ouch! Me ear! It’s that bloody Protestant God again” groaned Malone.
“Well we seem to be back on the air again John.”
“Yes Dennis it seems that it’s Ewen Chatfield to bowl from the Railway or Sandringham Road end of Eden Park. We must apologise to our listeners for a temporary break in transmission caused by…”
There was a stifled appeal, I mean laugh, and then…
“I didn’t actually see the last two balls of Richard Hadlee.”
More silence and crackling and crackling, then….
“Neither did I Dennis, but I think we can safely assume that – Oh the scoreboard has moved up to eleven so the Mad Monk must have hit a four. Anyway, I’m sure we can sort it all out but in the meantime Chatfield comes in to bowl to Hendrix who defends, playing the ball gently back up the pitch where it is fielded by the bowler.”
Malone’s thoughts took over his mind again. This time they were more subdued and he realises he had been thinking in Irish for the first time in a long time. He had been sober in thought, word and deed for such a long time that he had all but lost his sense of he absurd as his life had revolved around the absurd reality of a nine to five, commuter, suburban existence.
“I must stop tinkin’, I mean thinking like this “thought the Malone to himself – again no-one else was listening. He turned his attention to the cricket, which was why he was here at all. He hadn’t come to Eden Park to hear himself think!
“…and yet again Chatfield proves his worth to this New Zealand side.”
“Yes, he really does have a marvellous ability to get that line and length very early on and just stay there. We have just seen him bowl a maiden over on his first over of the day. Whilst he lacks the drama and penetration of Richard Hadlee, I think we can say he is a perfect foil for the Great New Zealand medium fast pace bowler. If we can just compare the first two oversee as an indication of what I mean. In Hadlee’s first over while producing a confident appeal for L.B.W., which I guess was very unlucky to be turned down, he also conceded eleven runs. And yet old Charley Chatters…”
“I’m sorry Dennis, but Hadlee is running in now to bowl to Monk Lewis. In he comes past the umpire and – Oh, my goodness, he’s bowled him, middle stump! Well, one can only imagine the black Gothic thoughts going through the Mad Monk’s mind at this moment…”
“Ah! How dark