sweat, wet sweat and dry sweat and all the sweats in between, ran from the thick moustache which was correctly placed on a moustachioed gent on court number four. the ball slid from his sweaty hands and bounced on the floor, and when he went to catch it again it merely slipped from his grasp and bounced once more. “oi!” complained his opponent, a hairless man who was having no such sweat troubles on this hot day which did not lend itself to physical exertion. “i’m just trying to…” the moustachioed gent realised it was not worth trying to explain. when he finally managed to hold onto the ball he served an ace and the score returned to deuce.
the crowd crowed and pecked and the two competitors looked up to the fading light. they had been at this for hours, bouncing between stalemate and advantage with neither player able to snatch victory. this point was a black hole of time and energy – deuce, advantage moustachio, deuce, advantage moustachio, deuce, advantage hairless – and written on their graves would surely be – deuce, advantage moustachio, deuce, advantage hairless, deuce, rest, deuce. the man who came to collect the money for the courts – 50p every hour – trudged along and trudged away again, the gathered pigeons went home and the competitors were forced to play by the light of their nineteen-nineties illuminating wristwatches.
the sweat showed no sign of abating, it travelled across his body and congregated in his moustachioed socks. he served an ace to give himself another advantage and a chance to finally finish off this game like putting a broken-winged pigeon out of its misery, but followed this up with a double fault and another tumble of sweat down his hair-strewn body. “deuce!” cried his opponent from across the net which may as well be the border control to another country.
the moustachioed gent would like nothing better at this point than to put down his racket, take all his clothes off and dance in a cool breeze but this would be entirely inappropriate behaviour to indulge in part of the way through a game of tennis, and anyway a cooling breeze was a hundred miles away tonight. the score at this point in the match, in case you are interested, was two sets to one to hairless (7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7)) and now moustachio lead the fourth set by three games to two. he would be in a good position to win the match if he could win this game, which would surely have to finally be completed in some way and could be celebrated like the end of a bad administration brought to a close by logic and hard work. it would have to end soon.