Thursday, July 3, 2008

Billiards Part 2

Back in Cypress for 9-ball two weeks ago and it’s like this:

I walk into the pool hall with a friend, pay the entry fee and ask, “Am I still a 4?”

“Yes, you need to come in the money twice to be bumped up to a 5.”

I stagger to the nearest table for a couple practice games before checking the brackets to see my first opponent, “who’s Julio,” I ask my in-the-know friend.


“Yes, The 7,” I say.

“He’s the best--,” he looks around, “he’s the best player here.” He looks around once more, “yeah, he’s the best player here. You can win easy with your handicap.” I hope so. I wasn’t too worried seeing as how I’d just slugged a half pint of vodka and had my first smoke in four days. Also, he was spotting me the last three balls, so if he ran the first six and missed, all I had to do was pocket the following ball to win (which happened once).

They called the matches and I went over to introduce myself. “Not use to giving away such an advantage,” said The 7.

“Won’t make a difference, you’ll still win,” I say. It was a good short match. We finish, shake hands again and I walk over to report the results.

“What was the score,” my friend asks.

“Three one.”

“Aw, well that guy’s really good. At least you got one game. Good job.”

“No, I won.”

“What!” He says with utter surprise.

“Yeah, I won,” I say while walking out for my ritual swig and smoke and feeling downright champish. Winning’s invigorating, especially when you’re not supposed to win. You can feel it in your belly and can’t help but to pop an electric smile, even alone, to yourself. I took another swig and heard my name inside.

I’m playing the guy with a Bluetooth set forever attached to his ear. Bluetooth man is a 6 and has to spot me the eight ball. He’s cocky, so I shoot sloppily a couple drunken times and he resigns himself to being nonchalant, shooting from the hip like a pitcher throwing with one eye closed. He’s a nice guy, but his conceit gets the best of him and he misses an easy shot leaving me a difficult cut on a two-nine combo from across the table:

I make the combo and win the first game and run from the four to the eight in the second game. It was a fine victory. He wins the third and fourth games, leaving me to break on the final rack. I break, make the one and play safe on the two. It’s not a difficult shot, but again, he’s so wonderfully blasé and thinks I won’t win that he leaves me another combo, albeit a much more difficult combo:

My left hand is tense and shaking like an old engine about to die, but I make the shot. “Fucker can shoot,” Bluetooth says in Spanish behind me. “He’s not a 4.”

I walk up to report my win and my friend asks for the score. “Three two,” I say allowing a feigned feeling of defeat to sag my face. His shoulders slump but before he says anything I say with a smile, “just kidding, I won.” He gets excited and I walk out for my swig and smoke and I get drunk. Neither The 7 or Bluetooth made eye contact with me as I stepped out, but I heard each say to a friend that I wasn’t a 4.

Maybe I'm not a 4, but because of it I came in third and won forty dollars that night.


City Elf said...

haha, you said come in the money! your daddy came in my money. then i lent it to you so you could buy smokes. gross!

frank said...

Why! Why would you tell me this!

Thanks for the smokes, though.