The weak sunlight was slanting in through the badly drawn curtains. Joey looked bleary-eyed as usual, as did Paulie and Little Jimmy Aprille. The office had a dishevelled air, with several near-empty spirits bottles on the desk, an overfull ashtray on the floor and a rolled up copy of FIFA News on the sofa alongside a promotional leaflet for Brazilian bikinis.The smell was of sweat and pizzas.
"How long you stay at the Bada Bing last night?" I asked. "We came straight over here", came the answer. "There was some trouble. One hairy punk tried to finger Imogen, the new girl on the poles. Got in a scrap with him and his redhead mate."
There was a sharp bang outside and the door swung open. Smudge Blattieri entered with Jez "Fickle" Falcko and Slash "The Cash" Warner. "What is thees?" he hissed in a low growl. "What was that?! What was that German schmuck trying to do in there? What in God's name? He will be sausage-meat before dawn, I am telling you. Wurst. Fleisch. Teewurst. A lack of respect, I am telling you. A complete lack of respect. I do hardly not believe it! Talking ven i was talking, asking ven I was asking, interrupting ven I was interrupting. Who do they think they are dealing with here. Mary Poppins?! Dame Judi Dench?! David Hasselhoff? The Bloody Fucking Appenzeller Brass band? Air horns. Bah! Respect, let me tell you, is an attitude. An attitude."
He sat down with a thud and poured himself a drink from the fridge. Ice Tea. Mango flavour. Paulie offered him a straw. There were some marmite pretzels on the desk in front of him. His flashing arm knocked them and the bowl they were in to the carpet. "Get me Wotsits!" he shouted. Paulie gestured to Big Pussy Bonpensiero to get the slightly crunchy, curly shaped cheesy snacks from the bar next door. The big man shrugged, got up and left, chuntering to himself about lightly salted tidbits.
"So we do him straight away, the German?" Carmine appeared impatient."I gotta gun, you gotta reason. We cite Statute 22 and just gun the blister down, hey boss?"
"Listen to me you piffling Blunderbus. Show me a little respect. If I delegate...I delegate, ok?" rasped Blattieri. "We hef to box clever now. We vill show some disrespect of our own first. That clown Treeman and the grisly bear, Chuck Brasser, we vill start wiz dem. He keeps parrots for Gods sakes! let us show him what a man with unruly facial hair and parrots gets from the Fifa family."
"We gonna Marvin Gaye dem, Boss?" shouted Paulie enthusiastically. "No, you cretino. Cristopher, cancel the American's FIFA.Com subscription! Take away his password. No better, change it to "delorean". This vill show him who is Der Boss. Ah yes. he may not love me, but he vill respect me". A clenched fist crashed down onto the table top, sending a number of Whotsits cartwheeling into the air. "Damn these cheesy snacks! Damn them!" he shouted, sweeping the bowl onto the floor. "Christopher! Those who want respect must show respect, nicht wahr? Ja, ja, ja, ja!" he repeated as he stumbled over to the curtains and, taking a deliberate grip, pulled them to the floor. "Listen to me you dumb asses of people. Once you are in this family of ours, you do not get out. No, no. There is no getting out!! It's like the van Trapps, the Disneys, The Royle family, you do not jast leave it". His voice trembled with passion, sweat lined his temples and the little fluffy, gelled portions of hair to the side of his bald dome seemed to send off crystalline rainbow-coloured sparks. He ran his fingers through his hair, then wiped them on his beige weekend-in-the-mountains casual slacks with front, side and back pockets. "If you can quote the rules, you can also obey the rules, no?"
"What about you, Falcko? Are you with us or not? I am beginning to not like you very much. You cross and you double cross, then you cross back again. I am going cross-eyed wiz all this toing and froing that you are doing."
"I'm with you, boss. I mean, at least until they mow you down. A wrong decision is better than indecision, after all." The tall man leant forward and kissed Blattieri's ring. "Get off me, you oaf," cursed the small, purple faced man. "One thing my father Neville taught me is that a pint of blood costs more than a gallon of gold, Ah yes, you can smile, you buffoons. A pint of blood, a gallon of gold. Try telling fucking Castrol and Visa that!"
He shot a glance around the room and was met by a row of uncomprehending faces. "Look, now we even ef trouble from this lapdog Bernstein schmuck as well. I am getting tired of all zis. Scotland and Wales will be next, then the Isle of Man for God's sakes. We cancel subscriptions, we stop the grassroots funding, we slash the Caribbean holiday allowances, what else? Ah yes, we stop sending the educational leaflets!"
"But, Boss, we can't stop the leaflets. We gotta good deal at the printers," added Paulie, looking shocked. "Look. This is time for action. No fussy-arsing around anymore. No fanny burps. No more good guys. No more hand-outs, you hear! Now we play hard ball with these cheeseheads. Now they vill see the real side of the Fifa family. No more smiles, no more handshakes, nor more task forces, no more gala dinners, no more sweaty Presse Konferenzen, no more prawn cocktails and NO MORE BLOODY PULSATING CONFEDERATIONS CUP!!!" He swayed a little and held onto what was left of the hanging drapery. Christopher went to hold his forearm but was rebuffed with the swing of a stocky, hairy leg. "They are not deserving! See how they survive wizout that!"
"But what about the womens beach football?" asked Silvio Dante finally, a whisp of cigarette smoke curling in front of his face. "Let them play in bra and panties! Suspenders, bra and panties! Peephole panties, if necessary! We vill get our message across to these people. Bras, panties, suspenders, do you hear me?!"
There was silence. Big Pussy Bonpensiero traipsed back in for a second time, sweating profusely, carrying two small bowls, one containing dried banana slices, the other unsalted pecan nuts. "What is this fuck!" shouted Blattieri, knocking the bowls high into the air. "What the fuck! Fucking pecan fucking nuts?!"