The Three Stigmata of Sachin Sangakkara

Third Man woke disturbed and psychotic somewhere in the middle-watch of the night, over-consumed and under-entertained.

Flicking the VidiScream into a parody of life, he engorged immediately the intensity of Melbourne, its glare and 23 degree warmth irradiated the chilly room.  He bathed vicariously.

No one in the stands, but Ponters reassuringly in the old Green Baggy spitting into his hands and rubbing his palms. Rahual staying leg side and settling to his task reminding him; this dark, howling night when he knew outside the ‘tronic birches bowed as the ceaseless gales scythed the Martian ‘scape; of his own summer long ago on Terra.

Where in the narrative were they?  Into which fairy tale were the ExPros shaping that game?  The Hero with a Thousand Faces scratched his guard, again and again. Faced the unknown debutant going for his Michelle while Harvey and Just What Was His Name Didn’t He Once Play For, as tonight’s shapesetters competed again, this time to explain better than the other: old warriors hacking for the Corporation about the Empire, elucidating, enlightening.

But “It wasn’t enough.”  TM knew, “it wasn’t enough” no matter how they vizi-shaped it. Falsity, entertainment, contentless content.  He’d paid good skins for this. He went to flick it off.

The vidifon rang.  “This is the Adjustment Bureau calling.  We just saw you went for the off-button.  Was there anything wrong with the content?  Are you finding the payment schedule difficult to keep?  Have you thought of taking another package? Would more ExProMax help? We could courier it to you tonight. It’s what the ExPros use. It enlightens and brightens”

He wouldn’t miss a minute, he resolved. “Send it now!”

Satiated, he dozed and woke in Durban. No one in the stands but Smith reassuringly in Proteans Green spitting into his hands and rubbing his palms. Sangakarra, blade-sharp, compiling a fairy tale century for the first time in this land by the ocean, unconquerable, facing the foe whose guile and dark arts sought to entrap, wheeling the rotations like a spinner, darkly: the Trickster. 

But Sangakarra, marked for life, made it … then succumbed to inevitability.  Like life, you will pass.  In heaven you will sit like Corkie and Rampy competing to explain, hacking for the Corporation about the Empire with Sachin by your side, a logo on your light blue cotton oxford shirts,  identical ties, the same enthusiasm: the three stigmata of the ExPro.

He went to flick it off.

The vidifon rang.  “This is the Adjustment Bureau calling.  We just saw you went for the off-button. Was there anything wrong with the content?  Are you finding the payment schedule difficult to keep up?  Have you thought of another package?”

He’d paid good skins for this.  He wouldn’t miss a minute.  He swallowed more ExProMax. It really enlightens and brightens, he thought.

“This Marchant Pattison looks the real thing, alright.” Or was it James de Lange? (Did it matter?)

“Yeh, he’s got the intensity to go far for a long time to come.” 

Satiated Third Man dozed and woke in Dubai or was in Abu Dhabi ( did it matter?) like a batsman, high and castled.  Ubikitious cricket.  It is what he paid for.

He dreamed one day of being there in person.  How many skins would he need. 1,485 plus a single supplement of 269.

Do ExPros dream of electric runs?

The vidifon rang.  “This is the Adjustment Bureau calling.  We just saw you missed the final day.  Was there anything wrong with the content?  Are you finding the payment schedule difficult to keep up?  Have you thought of another package?”

The Martian gales erode the superlatives.  These, here  and here, have been epic, magnificent, great, good, exemplary, quality, professional Tests.

“So, why flow my tears,” the watchman said.

VALID?

The puzzled may find a bridge into this piece here. There is a lot right about big match cricket today as the two Boxing Day Tests have displayed in Durban and Melbourne but … The Three Stigmata of Sachin Sangakarra endeavours the communicate the ‘but’.

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