An outer London suburb. THIERRY HENRY is behind the wheel of a tricked-out hatchback on his way back from his last training session. Early bebop is playing on the stereo. Despite his obvious tristesse, he is tapping a complex counter-rhythm on the steering wheel.
THIERRY pulls up at traffic lights and glances across at a woman in a convertible VW Beetle already waiting in the next lane.
She looks back over at him in shocked recognition, smiles, and adjusts her hair.
He manages a boyish grin in return.
She passes out in a dead faint.
The gerbera in the holder attached to her dashboard is scorched by the UV light reflected from his teeth and ignites.
The lights change and THIERRY pulls away, shaking his head wryly.
THIERRY [thinks]: Hmm. Zhat last flighted cross to Francesc: perhaps I could ‘ave applied a fraction more sidespin?
THIERRY continues driving to a supermarket.
There are no free parking spaces near the entrance, but he notices in his peripheral vision a young couple preparing to leave one and begins another lap of the car park, identifies a perfectly positioned puddle, stabs the accelerator and brake to skid through it, and then neatly fishtails into the slot.
A small boy approaches him as he leaves the car. THIERRY signs the back of boy’s dad’s chequebook, ruffles the lad’s hair and lopes into the shop, where he picks up a basket without breaking stride.
THIERRY approaches the fresh vegetables, looking for a cabbage. There is a selection of identically bloated factory-farmed Savoys.
THIERRY [turning to the middle-aged woman next to him] You deuhn’t get many of zhese to zhe kilo, eh?
The middle-aged woman looks down at her barely cardiganned embonpoint and flushes fiercely.
THIERRY proceeds to the checkout.
CHECKOUT MAN: The Savoy cabbages are Buy One Get One Free, sir.
THIERRY: D’ac. Ah’ll be back in a second.
He accelerates back down the aisle he arrived by, darts between two trollies steered shakily by old dears, slinks around a beautiful language student, guiding her out of the way with a touch to her buttocks so light that an industrial tribunal equipped with CCTV footage would be hard-pressed to confirm it had ever taken place, scoops another cabbage up into the air with his hand, tosses it over the shelves, races around the aisle, just in time to head it down to his left foot and volley it towards his place at the front of a queue.
GARY LINEKER has been lurking near the checkout for half-an-hour with a trolley full of Walkers™ Crisps™ six-packs. As the cabbage makes its final journey along a perfect arc towards THIERRY’s basket, LINEKER raises one leg and taps it in with the inside of his right foot, then carefully marks down his goal on a Fantasy Football™ scoresheet.
THIERRY [arriving back at the counter to frown at the smirking LINEKER]: Merci, “Golden Boots”.
THIERRY pays and leaves.
Just as he is about to pull away, a big silver Mercedes crunches into the side of his Renault.
THIERRY: Zut alors! Quelle tête du cul!
The driver of the Mercedes emerges. It is ARSÈNE WENGER.
THIERRY [leaning out of the window and pointing]: Jesus, boss! Leurk at what you have done to mah Clio!
ARSÈNE: Sorry, Titi. Ah deedn’t see it.