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A title without a story



Totò Schillaci, from i-azzurri.com

People of a certain age, who remember simpler times when music came on CDs and people wore mullets without a hint of irony and Rambo could fight happily alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan, may recall with some horror the 1990 World Cup.

Famous for Frank Rijkaard spitting in Rudi Voller’s perm, a spectacularly naïve Cameroon team and the lowest number of goals per game of any World Cup ever, it was a cynically pragmatic affair of such brutally defensive football that both semi-finals were decided on penalty shoot-outs, and the final itself was decided by a penalty. It was also, however, the career highlight of Juventus’ new striker, Salvatore Schillaci.

The World Cup marked Schillaci’s international debut, and a ruthlessly effective tournament saw him embrace the tournament’s bludgeoning anti-football to snaffle six goals and win the Golden Boot. Or Golden Shoe, if you’re foreign. And then, as quickly as he had blazed onto the international scene, he was gone – scoring only once more for the Italian national team and, after 1991, never playing for them again. As a result, in Italy the 1990 World Cup is also referred to as Le Notti Magiche di Totò Schillaci – “The magical nights of Totò Schillaci”.

“Is there a more evocative title for a piece of fiction?” I asked myself when I first heard this phrase.
“No,” I said, “No, there isn’t”.

So I changed the name of the very real Totò Schillaci to the very fictional Amerigo Bandoni, and I had myself an amazing title for a short story. 

The Magical Night Of Amerigo Bandoni. 

But where to go from here?

I don’t know yet. The theme’s too broad, the title too powerful and evocative…it’s overwhelming any actual story. I can feel a short story prowling around somewhere in the back of my head, but I need something to focus in on. Usually I write the story first and then worry about a title later…maybe my brain just doesn’t work the other way around.

I’m going to stick with it…hopefully I’ll be able to come up with a single strand to follow.

I keep asking myself: what would Totò Schillaci do?

But it’s not really helping.

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