I awoke about 4 a.m. this morning with a fever - ears aching, head pounding, muscles whining about the smallest exertion. While I slept I had somehow injured my right bicep. I heard a constant high ringing sound, like the clearest, purest air-raid siren you could imagine. But what troubled me most was this horrible dream I had.
In it, everything we love - everything outside our homes, anyway - had been co-opted by soulless, immortal entities from beyond space and time. These deathless abstractions felt no fear - immortality does that to folks - no pity, no shame, no regret; none of those troubling turn-and-turn-again emotions that plague us humans so. All they want is everything, implacably.
I dreamed (oh! it was the fever) that FIFA had, under the guidance of these powerful alien entities, become a criminal cartel, engaged in running the bust-out on soccer - all of soccer, everywhere.
"What's a bust-out?" my dream-self anguished, despairing. The dream treated me to a replay of the 23rd episode of the Sopranos, because brains are amazing and never really forget anything. In it, Tony and the boys seize control of a family sporting-goods business from a man who owes them gambling debts. It goes without saying the Soprano organization does not simply run this profitable, stable family business for marginal gain - that's what suckers do! Instead, they run the ‘bust-out', using the good faith and credit built up over years, content to let the bills pile up in someone else's name.
In essence, the Soprano org displays the ingenuity of some kind of exotic predator, hollowing out the shell of a defeated enemy, then wearing it around until someone says ‘Hey! That's not David!' Once the bills come due - once the good faith and credit is completely dissolved - then they just move out from under that hollow shell and move on.
And so my dream-self imagined that these soulless, immortal abstractions were wearing FIFA like a shell, relying upon our love of the game of football to keep us from noticing the bills piling up in their name. Counting on it, in fact. Who pays those bills? We will. The suckers will. What happens after is expressly not their concern.
Thank goodness it was just a dream.