'The Ref Was blind!' was the first thing he said as we met. The alley was dark, and the only hint I had that my interviewee had arrived was the smell of cheap aftershave.
We sat on some broken crates. The glow of streetlamps overhead cast an unearthly orange hue about us. He undid his raincoat, I adjusted my tie. It was going to be a long night.
"The ref aroused my suspicions from the start," he began, swishing his trunk suspiciously from side to side. "You see, in all the other five-a-sides we had employed one of the Ostriches from coop seven."
He stopped for a moment to light a cigarette and smiled to himself. "Yes," he continued with a wistful gaze, "Her name was Lola. She was a bit of a showgirl. Used to run the Copacabana on the main street."
He stopped. There was an awkward silence. I broke it with one of the most inane questions I have ever asked.
"How big were her feathers?" His brows furrowed and his voice dropped an octave. "That's between me and her," he growled.
I turned the subject back to the matter in hand. "So this new ref?" I let my voice trail off. In the distance, faint police sirens could be heard. Above me, a couple were rowing. The stars above looked so cold.
"An ant," he spluttered derisively. "Of all the creatures in the zoo, they had to pick him."
I gently prompted him to tell me more. "Tell me more," I prompted gently.
"I was running past the midfield. Behind me were two gazelles and a duck-billed platypus. The duck-billed platypus was their best striker, but I knew his weakness.
Chocolate ice-cream. I had some stashed in my trunk. Just as I passed him, I sprayed it all over the sucker."
He took another drag of his cigarette. I let my right arm fall gently down to my side to check my secret weapon was still there. It was. It was insurance in case things turned nasty. I just hoped I wouldn't have to use it.
"Of course, the ref called me over. I towered over him like an elephant over an ant."
I reminded him that he was an elephant and the ref was actually an ant so the similie was pointless.
He ignored me and added, "I had never been cautioned by an ant before. His face was so innocent and the way his mandibles moved sent shivers down my spine. It was only the way his eyes wandered that gave the game away. He was blind!"
I dropped my mug of coffee in amazement. I suddenly realised that I hadn't been holding a mug of coffee and looked down at the floor. There, looking cold and lifeless, was my bottom jaw.
The elephant continued. "The ant had an implant behind it's ear. Across the pitch, a woodlouse was transmitting all the information the ant needed. It was a perfect setup. Anyway?"
His voice trailed off. I stood up and slowly drew out the gun.
"Well Mr Elephant," I said calmly, "I'll now have to ask you to come with me."
"NOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he screamed, his ears drawing back tight.
"Sshh" I said. There's people asleep.
"noooooooooooooooooooo" he whispered quietly, looking eagerly around for an escape route.
He ran towards the road. I took a shot. Five thousand peanuts sprayed out in all directions. He stopped in his tracks.
"It's a fair cop," he said.
I nodded slowly. The trip back to the station was uneventful. Later that night, when I was in bed with my live-in partner, Joe, we had a game of marbles.