Picking the sharp slivers of palm fronds from her hair, the Moonerazzi stands up to be greeted by a strange psychedelic world. The beach shack that had seemed so sturdy just a few minutes ago has mysteriously smashed to pieces around her and, sticking out of the bamboo debris are a pair of scruffy white socks with blue trim, shod in a rather luxurious pair of sequinned Nike trainers.
â€˜Ooh, Iâ€™ll have thoseâ€™, she muses. â€˜They look rather niceâ€™!â€™
And in two sheiks of a monkeyâ€™s tail she’s whisked them from the inanimate (and slightly crispy) feet and put them on.
â€˜Bit big for you arenâ€™t they?â€™
The Moonerazzi spins round. There didnâ€™t seem to be anybody there, just a pile of empty cans of Fosters, but the cans seem to have a curious life of their own.
â€˜Hey, I said… a bit big for you arenâ€™t they?â€™ creaks the beery pile, belching as it stands up.
John Collins is looking a little worse for wear. It had been a pretty good week all in all â€“ 10 points (top score without joker), also bagged by his crumpled companions David Jones and Gareth Jones who crunch to their feet beside him. â€˜You havenâ€™t got any beer have you? Weâ€™re trying to get well oiled here!â€™ They break into gales of tinny laugher and fall over again.
â€˜Look. I havenâ€™t got time for all this.â€™ wails the Moonerazzi. â€˜I have to get back to Church Langley. Iâ€™m in the Cup Final and itâ€™s my only hope of silverware this year!
â€˜Sorry love, Youâ€™re going to have to get a flight out of the Golden City and quite honestly you havenâ€™t a hope of getting within 10,000 miles of London with that volcano belching out.â€™
â€˜Hey, the liddle ladyâ€™s got to try, huh?â€™ sighs a languid form propped up on an old sun lounger. Joe Roberts flicks sand from his reedy dreadlocks and inhales long and slow on his reefer. â€˜The grass around here is heaven, man.â€™ The young rookie is high on the taste of success, and with only six points adrift from John Collins, still in contention for the big prize.
â€˜Jees, what was that?!â€™ Joe swings around to see Ralph Hannah, Alex Iskandar Liew and Maziar Sattari scream past on their jet bikes.
â€˜They call themselves â€˜The Flying Monkeysâ€™ apparentlyâ€™, John Collins creaks, twisting his neck back into place. ’14 points each after playing their jokers this week seems to have seriously gone to their heads. Theyâ€™re probably off to that big yacht over there â€“ see.â€™ he nods towards a Sunseeker moored out at sea. The Predictors turns to look and the Moonerazzi squints to make out the name on the front: â€˜Baggiesâ€™ Delightâ€™.
â€˜Man, Is there Karaoke on somewhere?â€™ blinks Joe, â€˜put me down for Bob Dylan!â€™ The tin men nudge each other as they catch sight of their new companion.
The group had been joined by a spangly-looking lady who had all the appearance of a cabaret singer topped off with a sequinned pistachio wig. The lady ignores the tittering cans and turned to The Moonerazzi.
â€˜Itâ€™s time to get moving, my dear. He must know where you are by now and I believe those Nikeâ€™s you are wearing belong to his brother.â€™
Janet â€˜The Goodâ€™ (5th place in the table) has a strong sense of fair play and despite narrowly missing both the Cup Final and the League, is determined to use her special relationship with the Chairman to make sure it is a cleanly-fought contest.
â€˜Yeah, better move it sisâ€™ drawls Joe. â€˜Why not catch a ride with that Dude?â€™
He points towards a battered red jeep rattling up to the shack driven by a sad and shaggy looking Steve Dunlop. Not a good week for Stevie who, despite playing his joker is now only 2 points above John Collins.
Marek Phillips is in the passenger seat already and hoping his part in the escape will win him a point or two:
â€˜Do I get extra points seeing as i am stranded in Malaysia due to the volcano and I am still keeping my Predictorship updated?â€™ the likely lad inquires of Janet as he gives her a hand up. Donâ€™t think so Marek!
The jeep growls loudly as Stevie revs the engine. â€˜Jump in Sal, thereâ€™s a flight leaving in 2 hours and I hear the Monkeys are heading for the airport.â€™
â€˜Just follow the yellow, man.â€™ advises Joe, pointing down the sandy beach.
The jeep speeds off down the beach, Janet clutching her wig in the strong Indian breeze and a throng of people running along beside â€˜Yes, follow the beach, follow the beach…â€™ the voices chimed… Jill Taylor, Saleel Sathe, Chris Butters, Gabe Bevilacqua and Dave Taylor â€“ all a little short, have joined Matt White in the guest house heâ€™s hired with the money cadged of the Chairman last week to draw lots for 4th and 5th places: With 4 players on 254 points and another 3 on 253 itâ€™s anybodyâ€™s guess but all the players are eager to take part in the great getaway.
The Predictors check their watches as nearly 2 hours into their journey, they hit a road block. Mark Young stands in the background as Simon Gold and Ted Warland, wearing their â€˜Predictor of the Weekâ€™ badges (Bolton 2 Portsmouth 2) move towards the jeep. Tedâ€™s vendetta with the Moonerazzi isnâ€™t over after losing in the semis and heâ€™s glad to be one of Markâ€™s henchmen.
â€˜You think you can take those Nikeâ€™s and get away with it?â€™ snarls Ted, ready to settle his score once and for all.
The Moonerazzi jumps from the jeep ready to make a run for it, but as she lands on the ground, the sequins on her heels squeak together. â€˜I have to get to Church Langley, I have to get there!â€™ she cries out, but itâ€™s too late. Mark Young holds his his umbrella up ready to strike.
… David Roberts is looking quizzical. What is the Predictorship reporter doing asleep on the carpet in the front room? Obviously the pressure of the competition is proving a little too much.