(Hello. It is I, Kari, who is back from obscurity to give you something that will make you wish I’d disappear again. It is a series of short stories (I guess) to up your spirits. The below story follows a football journalist who has been given a job at a Marca/AS hybrid “company” called Villarato! Corp, and delves into the insanity that is the EE Spanish football media. Knowing me, it probably isn’t funny, and it won’t make you laugh, but it’ll at least give you something read)
Day 0 : The Day My Life Went To Hell.
“Dear Mr/s/whatever. Nunna Yor Business,
Congratulations! You’ve got the job!
Formal training begins a week from today. The training will be overseen by me, personally. You don’t need to bring anything, except that noggin’ of course! Just go see the receptionist and sign in. She’ll direct you to my other office.
Don’t be late!
Editor CEO of Villarato! Corporation”
I read it once, twice, three times, but I couldn’t find the joke anywhere. That must mean it wasn’t a joke.
A good friend of mine looked over my hunched shoulders to read the horrid letter. “But hey, isn’t this a good thing?” the naïve fool grins, “The pay there is ridiculously good!”
But he doesn’t understand. Of course he doesn’t understand; he wasn’t there yesterday.
A day prior…
This must be the place, I thought. Smack dab in the heart of Madrid lies Villarato! Corp. Strange name for a football newspaper, but the pay is good so who cares?
I walk to the reception desk. “Hola!” a pleasant lady smiles, “Welcome to Villarato! Corp. How may I help you?”
“I’m looking to apply here,” I say, handing her my resume—I thought that was a good idea. “Where do I go?”
She reads over the paper and gives me an odd look. “Are you a fan of The Royal Whites?”
“The Royal Whites?” I repeat. “Err, I’m guessing you mean Real Madrid. Well, no. I’m a fan of football, like my resume says.”
The odd look turns into a flat-out glare. She slams the resume on the desk and turns it back to me. “Well, that’ll have to be fixed. Go down the hall, turn left and go into the furthest room. Come alone and leave all valuables here. And for the record,” she spits out, “it’s The Royal Whites.” She then gasps, as if remembering she was in a public place. With a beaming smile she says, “Good luck and have a nice afternoon!”
Unnerved by the sudden mood change(s), I quickly grab my resume and scurry down the hall, taking all my valuables with me. Opening the door at the end of the hall, I find myself staring at the back of a large leather chair behind an equally large mahogany desk. Flanked on the two sides of the chair are two plump men in black suits. They are both balding it seems.
“Greetings,” the voice on the other side of the chair says, “Welcome to Villarato! Corp.” The chair slowly turns around, revealing…
I don’t know whether to laugh or facepalm, so I answer, “Hi. I’m here to apply…but this seems more like a job interview than a place where I apply.”
Plump Man Number 1—I narrow my eyes to make out “T. Roncero” on his nametag—scoffs. “We don’t take applications. We go ahead and see if the person coming is good enough for us after talking to them.”
I raise a brow. Well, that’s weird. Generally companies—err, I mean, newspapers, look at your qualifications and experience and then, if you’re interesting enough, you get a call for a job interview. But I guess they skip the whole application process and go straight to the job interview. I wonder if there is a reason for that. I relay my question to the three men.
“There is no reason for it, it’s just our policy,” is my answer. Oh.
“So…” the man in the white chair begins. I look at his desk to find a name scratched out with yellow highlighter. Evidently the scratching out didn’t work, so the person settled for whiting out two of the letters and replacing them with an “X”. “EDXARDO IXDA” is the result.
I can’t help it; I have to ask.
“For confidentiality,” Mr. Ixda replies. “It’s a dangerous world when you’re the head of a company.”
“But you’re just a sports daily,” I point out. Three identical stares greet me. I stare at them back. This goes on for a while befor—oww! Gosh darn! Something just went into my eye.
While I’m getting the damned thing out of my eye, the three men converse quickly with each other in some unintelligible language—oh, it’s Spanish. Nevermind.
“Alright, senor/a. Just why exactly have you come here to Villarato! Corp.?” Plump Man Number 2, Alfredo Relaño, asks.
Ah! It’s The Question. I better answer this one smartly. “It’s one of the best newspa—I mean, companies in the world in terms of football. I hope to expand my horizons as well as my football knowledge by coming here”.
Ixda ponders this for a bit. “So it’s not for the money?”
“Well, the pay here is really enticing,” I admit. “But you know what they say: Money is the root of all evils and man needs roots!”
That seemed to impress them as they let out a bellowing laugh. I grin. I’ve got this job in the bag now.
Well, not yet I suppose.
“We’ve heard you’re a fan of football, though,” T. Roncero says, “What does that mean?”
“Erm, it means I like to see a nice style of play. Positive football, if you will. Free-flowing, attacking with lots of skill and technique…”
The men’s eyes narrow. “So does this mean you’re not a fan of The Royal Whites?”
Seeing the look in their eyes, I desperately try and backtrack. “No! No, no, no! Uh, I mean, yes! I love how Real—I mean, The Royal Whites play sometimes!” They stare at me blankly. “Actually, it just means I’m not a fan of any team.” I finish lamely.
“I see,” Ixda says. He beckons Roncero over and whispers something in his ear. Roncero nods and leaves the room, coming back with a white piece of paper. He hands it to me and I quickly read it over.
“Excuse my French, but what the hell is this?” I spit, holding out the piece of paper.
Roncero gives me a bored look. “You said that in English,” he points out stupidly, “And that is an application form.” He resists the urge to add “duh”.
I resist the urge to punch him in the face.
“I thought you didn’t do application forms.” I say through clenched teeth. Roncero rolls his eyes.
“You thought wrong. Fill out the form and we will or won’t contact you.”
“Please finish this form before you leave,” Plump Man Number #2 tells me. “There’s a pen on your left. Feel free to use the wall as support to write on.” I exhale loudly and stand. “Oh! And give it to me when you’re done. Kthanx!”
Just who the hell do these people think they are?! Fine. I’ll make sure they never contact me again. Who in the right mind would want to work in a place like this anyway? A newspaper of psychos!
Angrily grabbing the pen, I begin to fill out the form.
VILLARTO! CORPORATION APPLICATION FORM
First Name: Nunna
Middle Name: Yor
Last Name: Business
Street Address: 123 Nowhere Avenue
I have a __Master’s_______ degree in ____Jackassery_____
Are you eligible to work in Spain?
Yes ___X____ No_______
If you are under age 18, do you have an employment/age certificate?
Yes ___ No ___ Does not apply to me
Have you been convicted of or pleaded no contest to a felony within the last five years?
If yes, please explain: For being criminally handsome and a serial heartbreaker
Answer the below in full sentences and as honestly as possible.
1.What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “Real Madrid”?
There is an imposter Madrid?
2. What does “Late” mean to you?
Better late than never, but never late is better.
3.What does “Practice makes perfect” mean to you?
Practice makes perfect, but nobody’s perfect, so what’s the point of practicing?
4. Messi has never scored in England. How would you run a story/headline with that information?
Real Mad—I mean, The Royal Whites, better import those pitches because the soil evidently does a better job defending him than their defenders.
5. Jose Mourinho The Special One tells you that you’re the worst journalist he’s ever had the misfortune of meeting. What is your rebuttal?
I never argue with an idiot. They lower you to their level and beat you with experience.
6. Finally, when your team gets screwed over by referees what is your reaction?
It’s obviously the rival team’s fault.
Sign your name at the bottom of this paper. Don’t call us—we’ll come to you.
Que tengas un buen dia!
“Well,” my friend begins, breaking me out of my reverie. “At least it’s not the Daily Mail.”
I nod my head grimly in affirmation. “At least it’s not the Daily Mail.”
Day 1: Learning the Ropes at Villarato! Corp. Preview:
I hand the receptionist a piece of paper with my name on it.
“Oh, is that what your alias is?”
“How can it be my alias when it’s my real name?” I ask.
She just gives me a knowing smile.
I resist the urge to facepalm for the third time this week.