The black midget ref had kept his stumpy legs going for fifteen minutes but now the pace of the game was catching up with him. This was no pub team match. This was the big leagues and he was seriously out of his depth.
As he huffed and puffed towards the opposite half, he no longer heard the mocking laughter from the terraces. He could barely even see what the players were up, so amply the sweat poured into his eyes. All he could think of was why he had started his crusade in the first place.
Sure, he was black, and that was not easy. But on top of that he was ‘vertically challenged’ as the papers had wittily put it. A combination born to breed both uproarious laughter and overt discrimination. And as he had discovered, there is a saturation point. That bridge too far, where you have no alternative but to jump into the deep end and fight back.
So he had started his crusade against the Football Association. He had always been a ref in youth matches, and though he knew he was ill-fitted for the upper tiers, he would get his revenge on all those who had laughed in his face by shamelessly playing the discrimination card. Needless to say, the press had jumped on the story like a voracious tiger, leaving the FA no choice but to give in on.
And now here he was, plodding along the pitch, with hardly enough energy in his small body to blow a whistle.
When he eventually went down, in the 23rd minute, the terraces were laughing louder than ever.
They’d later tell their grandchildren.
I was there, they would say.
I was there when the black midget ref died.
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