Marcel was an average guy. Everything about him was average.
He was of average height, had an average looking wife, and lived in a non-descript house.
He was driving an ordinary looking car and was moderately happy.
One thing gnawed at him though.
He was an assiduous pétanque player and after twenty years of laboring in the shadow of “stars” he longed to be recognized as better than “average”.
He practiced and practiced but this didn’t seem to help his game.
His shots were always too short, too long or way off the mark.
He fell into a deep funk. And with Christmas approaching he felt even worse.
Everybody around him seemed to be happy and excited, but he was not.
If only I could win a tournament, he thought. That would really make my day… Even a second place wouldn’t be bad… or a third…
As he was forlornly walking home, a distinguished looking man approached him.
Excuse me sir, said the stranger tipping his hat, could you spare a minute of your time?
Marcel looked up and was immediately struck by the gentleman’s piercing dark eyes and an assertive handlebar moustache.
-What do you want? asked Marcel.
-First let me introduce myself. My name is Bill Zeebut and I have a business proposition for you…
-Well Marcel… yes I know your name, I have been watching you for a while and I think that we have a lot in common…
Marcel was not especially patient but there was something about this man that intrigued him.
-Go ahead mister Zeebut, he said.
-You can call me Bill continued the stranger, but let’s first go to a place where we can talk. As a matter of fact, I know a tavern around the corner where we could chat without being disturbed.
Trancelike, Marcel followed the man.
Once seated in a booth, the stranger said to him:
-Now listen to me carefully Marcel, because I am not going to repeat my offer.
-I am listening.
-As I told you, I have been watching you for a while and I know that there is something that is bothering you.
-What would that be? asked Marcel.
-I know that you wish to be a better pétanque player. Is it not true?
-How do you know that?
-I have my sources…
-If this was true, how could you make me a better player?
-Well Marcel, if you agree to my proposition, you will be able to better control the trajectory of you boules.
-You will do this through a technique called “mind-control”.
-Yes. You will think “left” when you want your boule to go left, and “right” when you want it to go right. It is that simple.
-You must be joking, said Marcel. Nobody could do that.
-I can make it happen Marcel. Trust me. I can definitely make it happen.
-Let’s say that I agree to you proposition, said Marcel, what then do you expect from me in return?
-Very little actually. I just want to be your friend, your mentor; I want you to listen to my suggestions… even when you don’t entirely agree…
-Is that all? It sounds too good to be true…
-It is true my friend, it is true. Do we have deal?
-Well, I want to be a better player…
-Then, put it there my friend… cross my heart and hope to die.
Go forth Marcel, and be a better player. Just remember… use your mind to control your shots and listen to my advice.
And before Marcel realized it, Bill Zeebut vanished into the thin air.
Definitely to be continued…