"Fifteen thousand dollars?"
His face was an ashen mask of horror. I could only nod, I had no words left.
I had just told Sr. Vergara the penalty that CONCACAF had imposed on Saprissa for crowd misbehavior in the Atlante game. It was an unheard of, unimaginable sum. The rest of the boardroom began muffled weeping.
How would we survive? How could we begin to pay such a fine?
To give you some idea of what we were facing - if we charged one US dollar per ticket for a game, and sold out the entire stadium, we would have barely seven thousand US dollars left over. Perhaps eight.
Sr. Vergara pulled the cord twice, summoning manservant Murgatroyd. "Chiva Cola," he whispered. "A double. For the whole table." Manservant Murgatroyd shambled off, his false leg dragging behind him.
Outside I heard screaming, and distant sirens. The word must have gotten out. Fifteen thousand dollars. The whole country must be in a panic, I thought.
"We have brought this on ourselves," Sr. Vergara finally said. "The fault is ours. We wanted to win a game. A mere game. To advance a single round in a tournament."
"We must immediately commit suicide," suggested MacGruber, the cyborg accountant who also served as a tea tray.
There was general agreement around the table. The Drano had already been added to the Chiva Cola when Sr. Vergara finally spoke.
"No," he said. "A hideous, painful death would be the easy way out. We must somehow raise the money."
"I will of course sell my other leg to contribute to the cause," said manservant Murgatroyd. "But I doubt it will come anywhere near paying the fine."
"Besides, sir, the dishonor will remain," said MacGruber. "And it will carry down to our families. At least let us go home to kill our children."
Sr. Vergara stared out the window, as the city and nation burned outside.
"All I ever wanted," he said, "was to provide a place where Saprissa fans could throw coins and rocks at foreigners."
"A noble dream, sir," I said, fighting back tears.
"We are a proud club," said Sr. Vergara. "The world knows of my undivided and undying devotion to Saprissa, to the sport of football, and to the highest ideals of sportsmanship. We will find a way to pay. We will carry on."
I nodded my head, and went outside to tell the nation that somewhere, somehow, amidst the ruins, they must find hope.
"Fifteen thousand dollars? That's all? Tell Warner I have that in my ass. Tell Jack Warner I'm going to pay him with the pocket change that I store up my ass, just for exactly this kind of situation. Tell Jack Warner I'm going to pay him in ass money. Now where's that lazy SOB Murgatroyd with my Chiva Cola?"