Don't Put Your Stakes on an English Team by Vladimir Djurdjevic

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PAUN 35-40 years old, unemployed, married to an affluent woman.
His I.Q. equals his shoe size. A passionate fan of sports betting.

BOOLE The same age. Unemployed. He is intelligent but useless and
seems ignorant at the first glance. A passionate fan of sports

PIXY The same age as the previous both. Works as a medical doctor
at the E.R.'s paramedic response unit. A womanizer, a weak minded
character and of course, a passionate fan of sports betting.

PAUN'S APPARTMENT (the living room)

(The phone keeps ringing for quite a long time. Paun comes in to the
scene. His breath is labored as he picks up the receiver. He takes off
his jacket and turns on the TV while holding a betting stake in his
hands and kissing it during the whole conversation. He keeps following
the game results on the TV screen.)

Hello?...Oh, it's you?... I didn't go anywhere my love, I'm
home…No, no, no betting shops, I swear to you I didn't go
anywhere, I promised to you and you know that I can keep my
promises… Why didn't I pick up the phone? Because I was in the
bathroom… Yes, in the bathroom… What do you mean what was I doing
over there? The only thing a man can do in the bathroom?
YEEESSS!!!...No, no my love, I'm screaming now because I just spilled
some coffee on my hand. Damn it's hot! No, NO Suzana, don't get
paranoid on me again, I'm not following any game results on teletext
and for sure I didn't go to any betting shops today. I'm home alone
and I'm not expecting any visitors… Yes, I'm well aware that you
won't tolerate that kind of stuff any longer. Anyway, you know that I
never watch the English teams…How come I know who's playing right
now? Well, they always play at this time of the day my love, and Pixie
told me too… No, he won't be dropping by any time today, he is
working, he has a shift at the E.R. And I'm working too. Well, right
now I'm doing some work on my computer and later on I'll go and pick
up that stuff that we talked about yesterday. I know that it's very
important to you. Everything will be taken care of babe, trust me and
later I might even have a little surprise for you too, ba-by…Oh,
don't pretend that you don't know what I'm talking about, my cuddly
little kitten, honey-bunny…aaa-haaa…Yes, I love you too babe!
Kiss…By love!...Freakin' anniversary…But these guys at the TV
screen are kicking some real ass today! Yeah, go go, come on guys!
(The doorbell rings) Come in dude!
(Boole comes in)
My condolences for your loss bro.
Thanks man.
Sorry for both of us that we couldn't make it to the funeral.
I Know. The long weekend.
Well, it couldn't be helped bro. No man can know or choose when he
is going to die. If it wasn't for my dad maybe I would have PLAYED
something that day too.
I knew you would understand. The whole cup was an easy game. No
surprises, the favorites won again.
Tough luck man, but it's better like that now for all of us. It was
so hard watching him suffer. Poor dad.

Too bad, the whole older generation hooked on the old fashioned- style
sports betting are passing away.
Yeah dude. I remember dad could never understand even the basic
principle the betting shops worked here in Serbia. I told him:“Dad, if
you choose the X to 1 option, it means a draw at the half time and
victory for the host as a final score; X to 2 is a draw at the half
time and victory for the guests, and X to X means a draw as a final
score. He would always say:“Why would anyone give a damn about the
half time? Only the final score matters, nothing else!”
Yeah, and the famous one: “Never put your stakes on an English team,
they are all crazy. You can never even guess who's gonna win 'till
the last minute. The Italians on the other hand, they are just a bunch
of pussies, son. They just play for the final score.”
He was so right about that one.
Fuck man!
Listen, I know that it's too late now, but can I help you with
something, bro? Anything?

BOOLE: (showing him the stake)
Chill out bro. This is gonna solve all of my problems
Which option did you pick?
BOOLE:(handing him the ticket)
I could be in trouble if I fail. I have to pay back the money I
borrowed for the funeral. If this thing works I'll be good for more
than thousand grand.
PAUN:(watching the ticket)
OK. The Arsenal is in, Milwaukee is coming in, The Red Devils
alsoGoodDoncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town Terriers and Tennis
players of Wimbledon came in an hour ago. And what about the Hull City
Tigers vs. Norwich City Canaries game?... Oh, you took the X to X
Yeah! What's their standing right now?
(Paun shows his own ticket to Boole)
X to 1 on Hall City for 200 Euros? That's what I call a 'capital
investment' dude!
I bet on the Arsenal's game, that's a safe bet. For 200 euro's I
can win almost 13 grand. That could keep me in business for a whole
What's the matter, are you making up stories again for Suzana about
"your new day-job"?
I don't have a choice bro. There's been trouble in paradise
lately. She says that she doesn't wanna support my nasty habit any
So you've been grounded.
Dude it's never been worse. I'm telling you, not only that she
doesn't let me invest; I'm not even allowed to follow the game
results on TV for fun anymore. She just leaves me some money in the
morning for breakfast and cigs. Like my mom used to, 3 bucks and not a
dime more.
Does she let you keep the change?
What change?
Paun, cut the crap dude. She gave you the money; where else could you
get the 200 for the game?
She only gave me the money to pick up a plane ticket from a travel
agency for her. She is supposed to fly to London tomorrow for a
seminar. I'm just taking a little advantage of the whole situation
so that I can score some money to get me out of trouble. You know what
I mean?
But if the Tigers and Canaries game ends up with a draw at the half
time then it won't end with a number 1.
And that's where you're wrong my friend. Have you ever heard of
Canaries ending their game with a draw lately?
Yeah right dude. But if you are still concerned about the money for
the plane ticket, I could lend you some of my own as soon as I score
You see, that's what I was telling you about before bro, that
stubbornness and pride of yours is driving me nuts man and it will
drive you insane one day too! I'm not giving you any money, this time
you'll have to take a loan, but first you have to move your ass and
find a day-job. 200 euro's per month like the rest of the
'world' here, and when you pay back your loan you'll realize how
hard the life in Serbia can be. I'll be a good buddy of yours and I
might even call you for a drink or two after you're done with your 9
to 5 shifts, only if you are not dead tired and asleep around eight
OK, I hear you man. And where the hell is Pixy?

[end of extract]

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