Monday, June 23, 2008


There’s a pool hall in Cypress. They run a tournament every Tuesday night and employ a handicapping system to level the battlefield.

Being a four, I’m awarded several advantages when playing against fives and sixes. Against a five, for example, I’m awarded the last two balls on the table in a game of nine ball. Against a six, I’m awarded what they call the Special Eight, meaning if I make the eight (as opposed to the nine) on any shot, I win. Against the rare seven, I’m awarded the last three balls on the table.

Anyhow, most take losing against me in stride, giving me a cordial smile after some bullshit shot I’ve made.

The first time I play at this tourney, the guy running it asks me, “do you recognize anyone here?”

“Yes, her,” I say pointing to an Asian woman playing alone two tables from us.

“Would you say she’s at your skill level? She’s a four. Who wins when you play?”

“We’re even. She wins mostly, though,” I say.

“This guy isn’t a four! He’s a five,” someone says from behind me, startling me. I turn and figure this guy’s being facetious as I don’t recall ever meeting or playing the saboteur.

“You can see me play if you’d like.”

“Nah, start him as a five. He’s not a four. He’s a five,” says the saboteur.

“We'll start you as a five.”

“Alright.” There goes my advantage.

I go outside for another couple of swigs from a bottle, a smoke and some talk with the other players. “Have you heard of So-and-so,” I ask my friend.

“No, who the fuck is that?”

“That guy right there with the bandana and pony tail. And he’s fat.”

“No, why?”

“He’s trying to sandbag me. I think. I don’t remember him from anywhere,” I say before my other friend’s name is called. I walk in to watch him play. He plays a four and he’s demolished quickly. “You did very well,” I tell him as we’re walking to report his loss. His opponent vouches to grant him a handicap of three and me a handicap of four. Excellent, how nice of her.

I went back outside for another smoke and another swig and heard my name inside. My opponent was the saboteur who was now at a disadvantage and who was surprised to have to give me the last two balls on the table. We played and he did well and he was happy until I made the 6, 7, and 8 and he became upset, upset like an ape whose territory I was occupying. I rack, he breaks and pockets all but the 7, 8 and 9 ball. He walks away from the table with a cocky smirk thinking I won’t win, but I bank the 7 and make the 8 and he storms off to talk to my friend about how I’m not supposed to be a five, not a four. Were he a cartoon, he’d be tomato-red with steam shooting from his ears. I offer to play as a five, that I don’t mind, but it doesn’t work. He keeps up his angry rampaging, throwing one of his cues onto the empty pool table next to us before deciding to rack his own break. He breaks and—this is the highlight of my night—he breaks beautifully, makes the one and the two but scratches and leaves me with a three-nine combo. I make the combo and win and he begins cussing loudly and goes off talking like a malcontent vagrant cursing God for his misfortune.

“Fuck this, I’m never coming back here again. This guy isn’t a four. He’s supposed to be a five! I thought he was a five!”

“I was a four until you said I was a five,” I say from behind him, startling him. He shoves his cue into his case and stomps out in a fit of childlike rage for a cigarette. I wait a second before walking out and passing him for another swig and smoke, but the euphoria I got from that paled in comparison to what that won brought me.

One of the cheapest yet most satisfying victories I’ve had.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Jury Duty

Another short story. This one was inspired by that one time I was summoned by the court to be indicted for treason against the state and a traffic ticket.

We’d returned from our lunch break a week into the trial. “Your Honor, I request you declare a mistrial,” the prosecutor said.

“On what grounds?”

“Jurors 3, 7, and 8 have slept through half of the trial, and Juror 8 is clearly drunk after every lunch. He smells like Jack Daniels and I believe he is pissing himself as I speak.”

“I fucked your wife,” spit juror 8.

“I deny your request, counselor,” the judge’s words were followed by an uproar from the court. “Order! Order, motherfuckers!” He stood and threw a near-empty bottle of Jack Daniels across the room, showering the frenzied audience in shattered glass and drops of liquor. Juror 8 shed a tear and the crowd sat. “Continue your cross examination, counselor.”

He rose from beneath his desk and cleared his throat, “Your Honor, may we at least wake the sleeping jurors?”

“Objection!” cried the defense attorney, waking jurors 3 and 7.

“Overruled. The prosecution will rouse Juror 8.”

He poked the muttering Juror, “no. No. No more. No more sausages! Stop!” The prosecutor’s next poke changed the setting of Juror 8’s dream who was now laughing, “Ha! Judge, you crazy bastard! I can’t! No more shots!” The prosecutor began shaking violently Juror 8 who was again sobbing and muttering more about sausages, dreaming apparently of being attacked by the walking Wienerschnitzel hot dog. The Juror woke with a swing, knocking the prosecutor out cold. “Most wanted motherfucker, take that!—oh shit.”

“The defense requests that the charges of public fornication and beastiality be dropped.”

“Request granted, goat fucker.”

Jesus Christ, what a piece of shit story. I'll make it up to you, I swear!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cash Cab LA

I was walking down 1st street on my evening constitutional when a cab pulled up alongside me. The window came down and it looked like A Night at the Roxbury had thrown up inside the cab. A platinum blond popped her head and chest out of the window. Her breasts would’ve hung out over the door if they weren’t so perky.

“Excuse me! Sir!”

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi, we’re on a game show! I need your help answering a question.”


“Oh, thank you so much,” she said with genuine glee.

“Quit flirting with the nerd and ask the question already,” roared the driver, Dustin Diamond.

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry,” her voice quivered. “The Romantic Period spanned approximately fifty years. Name fifteen English notables from the period.”

The driver leaned over the passenger side seat, lowered the window, spit through it and wished me luck: “good luck, fucker.”

“Barbauld, Smith, Robinson, Blake, Burns, Wollstonecraft, Edgeworth, Wordsworth, Scott, Coleridge, Lamb, Austen, Lord Byron, Shelley, Keats, Haz—”

“Alright, that’s enough, asshole. You got it,” Dustin said throwing himself back into his seat.

“You’re so smart! I totally forgot about Coleridge and Blake and I was gonna say Lord Tennyson and Dickens instead.” She leaned out further and shook my hand. She was very pleased.

“Nah, Tennyson and Dickens are from the Victorian Age,” I said.

“Oh yeah, smart guy? I forgot the last part of the question: recite one of their poems in its entirety,” Dustin said flinging the door open and walking over to me.

“Hey, that’s not fair! He answered the question!”

“Shut your mouth, Titties. Recite the poem, bitch!” He puffed out his chest and half-lunged at me with a half-cocked head.

“It is an ancient Mariner
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me—’”

“You son of a bitch,” he cut me off. He spit on the floor and stormed back into the cab. “Let’s get the fuck out of here. You have two blocks left, bitch, I guess that’s enough for one more question.”

“Thanks again so much,” she said and the cab’s tires spun out, jutting the vehicle forward resulting in the blond bumping her head on the window’s rubber frame as she tucked her breasts back into the cab. I continued my constitutional and noticed the cab stopped a block ahead. The blond jumped out and a wad of crumpled up bills were thrown out of the passenger side window in three bursts followed by random change which she almost dodged.

The cab’s tires spun out again speeding it forward leaving the camera men and crew running wildly behind it trying to catch up to their ride. I walked up to the blond who was picking up quarters and asked if she won.

"No. Yes!"