On a plane. First class. With Al. I’m thinking this is where I came in. Only this time the plane is headed back to Africa. I’m dressed only in a track suit. The only clothes I have really. I had to kind of leave in a hurry. We are head for Nairobi where we will stay a few days in a hotel before sneaking back to Chanzo City.
“Just let the dust settle a bit,” Al said.
He’d rescued me from the press and paparazzi at the nightmare of a press conference and his chauffeur had driven us to Birmingham International Airport. Al’s secretary had organised the fights and the hotels and everything had gone like clockwork.
So I escaped. Safely. From the horror of it all.
But my mind was a pit of snakes and scorpions.
My football career in England was over. Wasn’t it?
My dream of my own apartment in downtown Melchester. Shattered.
What would Auntie think when she found all those dresses in my wardrobe. And the make-up? And the underwear?
What would happen to me now??
Al seemed to accept my tears. But when they dried he talked to me. Re-assured me. He said that the current season was over for me. But I would soon sign for Chanzo Eagles. And forge out a career in the Nilemwian Super League – until foreign clubs started sniffing again. That I would be able to hold onto my very large signing on fee from Melchester City. Provided I did not bring the club into disrepute.
So not many eyes will weep for me.
Then after two or three very large brandies Al started to talk about his penchant for cross dressing. He was married, with a boy at University. His wife knew about Al’s cross-dressing and was sympathetic and supportive of it. It seemed a very happy arrangement. We talked about fashion and clothes for a long time. I began to feel better.
Then Al looked at me for a long time.
“You’re only a kid Tiko. But you’ve had an incredible life already. Just think. ‘Born in a slum. Displayed early talent as a footballer. Scored a remarkable goal for your country on your debut. Played in the Premier League. Played at Wembley. And then crashed landed back to Africa. Tail between your legs. all because you was a cross dresser.’ That’s so interesting. It’s a story. A unique story. And I’d like you to think about that.”
Al said that football in England is bigoted, prejudiced and narrow minded.
He thinks that I ought to write and publish a book about my life. Not an autobiography – that would mean I would have to come out and be exposed. Be subject to guttersnipe press and TV interviews where my personality and my background would perhaps overshadow the ‘message’ the book should broadcast. A message about cross-dressing.
“No. said Al, “It needs to be a work of fiction. something so attention-grabbing, so fascinating that people will sit up and take notice. Something remarkable. A spell binding work of fiction – that isn’t fiction”
I can’t write a book, I said.
“Then we’ll find someone who can,” said Al.
“What happens in the end?” I said
“That’s up to you,” said Al.