It is monumentally curious, is it not, that fictional athlete Bobnit Tivol won renown in sports which are not, themselves, remotely fictional? Polevaulting and haring round and round a running track are both activities in which plenty of non-fictional athletes have taken part, in the past as in the present day. Now, the release of previously repressed passages from the Memoirs of Bobnit Tivol’s coach and mentor, the catarrh-wracked, Homburg-wearing Old Halob, show how sporting history might have taken a different path.
Unlike his protégé, Old Halob was of course all too terrifyingly real, yet he harboured a deep love for fictitious sports. While Bobnit Tivol was scampering round and round those cinder running tracks following his punishing training regime, Old Halob, we now learn, was dreaming of pitting his champion against Markus Geissler, the big Austrian, in a Guyball match. It remained a dream, for all the cantankerous trainer’s attempts to enrol the fictional athlete in a Guyball team came to naught through a series of mishaps. Telegrams went astray, railway timetables proved to be forgeries, buses crashed, the addresses on envelopes were smudged to illegibility by rainfall… those sorts of mishap dogged Old Halob.
Later in the same year, he was in secret talks with John Tetrad and Max Quad in an attempt to have Bobnit Tivol join their fennel team. In this case, it seems negotiations were far advanced, and only fell apart when nobody could find a fictional pen with which the fictional athlete could sign on the fictional dotted line of a fictional contract. This prompted the strange, almost hallucinatory passage in the repressed Memoirs where Old Halob blathers on for page after page bemoaning the non-existence of a well-stocked fictional stationery shop.
Take it from me, the Repressed Memoirs Of Old Halob is suitable reading for repressed sport enthusiasts of any stripe.