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Dirty Tackle

Iker Casillas’ melancholy dispatches from the bench

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

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My name is Iker Casillas. I am 32 years old. I am from Mostoles, Spain on planet Earth and it has now been seven months since I last played a significant match for Real Madrid.

I believe all of that to be true, but I am no longer certain. I have been on the bench for so long that standing up makes me feel light headed now. The bright orange bibs myself and the other bench phantoms must wear to keep from disappearing are very disorienting. Food has no taste, Sergio Ramos' hair has no color and Xavi's complaints have no sound. My eyes have no tears left to cry. Bad things are not supposed to happen to people with girlfriends who are on television.

When the Portuguese Troll King was forced out, I smiled for the first time in forever. There would be nothing to hold me back from reclaiming my rightful spot atop the hierarchy of football's living. The first thing I did was promise to take Kaka, a poor soul who has been kept in this lumbar support prison far longer than I, with me. At first he resisted, unsure if he could re-acclimate to a place that only existed in our stories of the past. But I convinced him that we could make it. We could flourish once again.

When the Italian Cherub Man arrived, it was Kaka who was overtaken with a newfound vigor and excitement. He told me that they were old friends and everything would be glorious from now on. He would take me to the seatless land with him. But something was not right. The Italian Cherub Man taunted me with his one eyebrow. It gyrated independent of the other in a way that can only be described as sinister and diabolical and possibly pornographic.

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Then we went to America and we actually played. We played and we laughed and we won. Surely this was the end of our dark term. I knew that when the season began, Iker Casillas and Kaka and all of the other bench phantoms would be included and no longer forced to write disparaging comments about Lionel Messi on the internet just to keep Cristiano happy. I promised Sara that our child will grow up in a world of joy where no one would ever have to sit down again if they don't want to. But it was not meant to be. The gyrating eyebrow was as malevolent as I feared.

Now the season has begun and I am back on the bench. Watching as even my facial hair is quickly fading away. The Brazil World Cup becoming an abstract concept that Kaka and I will dream about but never speak of. Perhaps there is someone who can save me (Kaka is on his own now). Perhaps they can take me away from this poisoned territory — the only one that I have ever known — that once treated me as a saint instead of a forgotten relic of some weird old religion like whatever the vikings believed in. I think it was flying mice.

I've heard rumors of a Frenchman in a comical coat who was once able to assemble fantastical teams in a place called England, but it is said that he has become miserly in his old age. I have been taping paper money to my body every night in the hopes that he will take me away. Until then, I must sit here. And wait. And make sad faces.

If anyone reads this, please send cheeses. We have no cheeses.

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