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Notting Bull: a targeted allocation romance

A sporting director has second thoughts and goes to unusual lengths to win back the playmaker of his dreams

Football - Football League One - Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach Kenny Jackett Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

The Once A Metro Community Theatre Players are proud to present the exciting conclusion to our production of Notting Bull.

EXT. CHAIN HOTEL – DAY

The Red Bull van comes to a stop in front of the moderately priced chain hotel. KEVIN THELWELL jumps out. DENIS HAMLETT leans his head out the window.

HAMLETT: Go!

INT. CHAIN HOTEL LOBBY – DAY

Thelwell sprints to the front desk.

THELWELL: Excuse me, concierge, where is the Kaku press conference?

CONCIERGE: Are you an accredited member of the press?

THELWELL: Yes…

He pulls a card out of his wallet and holds it up.

CONCIERGE: Sir, that is a gift card from Nando’s.

THELWELL: Yes, I, uh, work for their official in-house blog. I’m doing a story on food served at press conferences.

The Concierge sighs.

CONCIERGE: I don’t care. The conference room is down the hall and on the left.

INT. CHAIN HOTEL HALLWAY – DAY

Thelwell runs and searches through the hallway, passing by the continental breakfast bar and the workout room featuring one treadmill, one elliptical machine, one five-pound barbell, and an exercise ball.

He finds the door to the conference room, takes a deep breath, and enters.

INT. CHAIN HOTEL CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

An assortment of the entire New York soccer media – approximately three-to-five people – is filling the room, holding up their phones and various recording devices. Thelwell quietly edges toward the periphery of this group.

KAKU rarely speaks to the press, so this is an event. There is even a cookie tray and a dish of Danishes in the corner, ready to be ambushed by the hungry journalists. The majority of the Danishes are cherry and not cheese, emblematic of ongoing cultural adjustment struggles.

Kaku sits at a podium in front of the room next to his AGENT, who has taken control of this press conference.

AGENT: At the moment, the plan is to sign with a club in Mexico or the Middle East. Right, you… whatever your name is.

REPORTER 1: How much longer are you staying in New York?

KAKU: No time at all. I fly out tonight.

AGENT: That is why we must wrap this up. Are there any final questions?

REPORTER 2: Is your decision to transfer immediately anything to do with the rumors about the Red Bulls and that Swedish-Montenegrin attacker?

KAKU: Absolutely not.

REPORTER 2: Do you believe the rumors?

KAKU: It’s really not my business. Though I will say from experience, rumors involving the Red Bulls tend to be true.

The assembled reporters laugh, check to make sure their recording devices are still working, and gaze hungrily at the food.

REPORTER 3: There were some pretty salacious stories criticizing the club, especially after your contract was extended by the English head of sport. What happened there?

KAKU: He’s just doing his job. I think we still like each other.

Soccer: Concacaf Champions League-Club Tijuana at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

A few seconds of silence hang in the air.

AGENT: Yes, the gentleman in the gold shirt and black shorts.

He points directly at Thelwell who has his hand raised and is dressed in a full Wolverhampton Wanderers kit.

THELWELL: Yes, Mr. Gamarra, are there any circumstances in which you might stay with the Red Bulls?

Kaku looks at the questioner and recognizes the face, but reveals nothing.

KAKU: I hoped there might be, but no, I’m assured there aren’t.

THELWELL: What would you say if-

AGENT: One question per person, please.

KAKU: No, let him continue his question. You were saying?

THELWELL: Yes, I was wondering whether... if it turned out that this… head of sport…

JOURNALIST 3: Thelwell. His name is Thelwell.

THELWELL: Thank you. I just wondered if Mr. Thelwell realized that he’d been working for a daft club and bought you some furniture and begged you to reconsider, whether you would... in fact, then, reconsider.

At the back of the conference room, Hamlett, PAUL FERNIE, and BRADLEY CARNELL are watching.

KAKU: Yes, I’m pretty sure I would.

THELWELL: That’s very good news. The readers of The Nando’s Blog will be absolutely delighted.

The journalists laugh. Kaku whispers to his agent.

AGENT: Right, uh, if you’d like to ask your question again.

Agent points at Journalist 1 who had already begun inching toward the refreshments.

JOURNALIST 1: Okay, Kaku, how long are you staying here in New York?

Kaku looks directly at Thelwell.

KAKU: Indefinitely.

Kaku and Thelwell smile, completely lost in the moment. The intrepid journalists finally realize what is happening and begin asking questions while holding devices in Thelwell’s face, but he’s not answering.

GERHARD STRUBER ambles into the conference room.

STRUBER: What happened?

CARNELL: It was great.

STRUBER: Who’s that guy on the podium?

The music swells. Everyone is happy.

EXT. Elizabeth IKEA parking lot – DAY

Kaku and Thelwell walk through the rows of cars, pushing a cart filled with furniture.

INT. RED BULL ARENA TUNNEL – NIGHT

Kaku is waiting before a match, staring out onto the field as an indeterminate crowd of either 10,000 or 17,500 makes noise in anticipation. He turns and gives a thumbs-up to Thelwell, who gives one right back.

EXT. PARK – DAY

Thelwell and Kaku are sitting at opposite ends of a park bench, looking at their phones.

In between them lies the MLS Cup.

FADE OUT.