My night was occupied tending to The Prof who is still feeling the after shocks of spending an evening in the British museum chased by an Egyptian mummy. A scare like that provokes all sorts of childhood nightmares long ago buried in the deepest cavities of the hippocampus. At times the Prof’s movement was so random and violent I thought he was afflicted by some ancient curse.
I called Sarah, Director of Marketing, for an official opinion. She said anyone who called “jimmy, jimmy, jimmy” in a squeaky voice like the Prof’s was delirious and not long for this world. I helped her tie his flailing limbs to the bedposts and stuff her teddy bear in his mouth. This, and a swift thump in the ribs, served as a circuit-breaker to settle the Prof although his eyes were as wildly uncooperative as before, and it seemed as if he shook with a barely controlled fury.
I untied him an hour later. He was colder than the west wind. In a panic, I ripped the teddy from his open mouth only to find his convulsions returned with a deliberate violence that led me to revise my original diagnosis. At this stage his hands were around my neck in a python’s grip. His voice was taught but crystal clear.
“I’m awake you fool… I’ve been awake the whole gasping time.” (The Prof pulled a tuft of matted teddy hair from his incisor.)
“I apologise, I really do”, I stammered.
“Sometimes I don’t understand you” he replied cooly.
“Nor I you. Why didn’t you say something?”
“For the same reason language deserts a collapsing batting order – they are all bound up in little knots. The swinging ball screws with your mind and ties your feet.”
The Prof related the rest of the mummy nightmare. He said the mummies caught up with him in a special exhibition on Carthage. He tried to fend them off with an elephant mating call but he was overpowered and whacked with plastic cricket bats before Hannibal arrived. He was sure one of the mummies was called Jimmy. In fact he thought they were all called Jimmy. The rest of his account verged on paranoia. He woke up in a sarcophagus lying on a bed of dukes covered in embalming fluid surrounded by animal organs stuffed in jars.
The Prof booked Sarah into the psychiatric ward of the local hospital reserved for ‘the deeply disturbed’. The guys in white costs said she out up a real struggle. Her admission office reported her as dangerously normal and put her in isolation.
We released a collage of the 10 faces of Jimmy Anderson to the press corps and on twitter. Jimmy’s side strain won’t get any better with the embarrassment, although this is tame as far as real sledging goes. Puff reckons this should make scoring comparatively easy for the rest of the series because there is no chance Finn can back up his match winning performance in Edgbaston. [Ed. I’ve booked both of you playboys into a group session tomorrow with Darren and a local Birmingham PhD specialising in psychopaths and eternal optimists. Be there or else. Coach2.0]
I’ve painted a picture of the five faces that best reflect Jimmy’s inconsistent, and now absent, bowling.
1. Jimmy Carr, comic, stumped for a barren joke during the Ashes in Australia 2013
2. Jimmy Hoffa, gangster, disappeared during lunch at Lords, 2015
3. Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer, good on the stump with nice teeth like Jimmy.
4. Jimmy Saville, caught short shining the ball with honeyed lubricants.
5. King Jimmy IV of Scotland, James I of the triple crown. Introduced the King James Bible, the classic of swing bowling containing the oft used prayer ‘All I want is a cloudy day and a mint to shine her by…’
Jimmy? Who is Jimmy? Whoever he is, he ain’t playing.
I’m sure I heard the Prof yell “mummy, mummy” instead of ‘Jimmy, Jimmy”. Maybe he said “honey, honey” and that’s when Sarah came running with her teddy in tow.