World’s Biggest Pockets!
Bar box, Dallas, 1997. Three quarters, slip-on tips, chalk down to the paper, cracked so you get two or three pieces to work with but they are all still stuck together like three pieces of a broken sucker that you left on a piece of paper on the back porch when you were a kid.
I’m not happy about the slip-on tips but I am not about to bring in even my leave-it-in-the- trunk-year-round cue, much less bring in the big beater housed in its fine leather case. Fatman and Little Boy. The Big-Rig and the Pickup.
Hell, the case on the Big-Rig is easily worth more than all the cues in the house and is close to the dollar value of the table.
Nope, I’ll just make do with whatever cue I find and fix it up with my scuffer and a good piece of chalk I, ahem, illegally obtained from the prior establishment of the evening.
After finding a cue with a little leather left sturdily affixed to the shaft, I do a little rub-a-dub-dub with the scuffer, and as I feared, the tip is now hiding on the floor someplace.
Next victim tip comes up and this one holds firm. I now have a shaped tip that isn’t half bad even though the cue is a bit warped and has all of the indentations of a device used to probe for land mines when not in use as a pool cue.
So my cue has pock marks from hell, the tip is half good and none of my opponents know how to chalk, must less bother to scuff their cue tip. I feel safe that I have equipment superior to my opponents’ broomsticks. Always a confidence booster, for sure.
Three quarters go in. I struggle with speed control with the 3 lb cue ball, but my opponent is genetically programmed to give me 3 or 4 extra shots at the table so victory is mine. And so is the beverage d’jour, all 12 ounces of it.
I mow them down, parlaying the three quarters into a never ending stream of brew followed by a never ending string of gents with 3 quarters and a desire to Whuppeth My Derriere’ to paraphrase their intentions.
I even adopt a rail sitter to assist me in the consumption of my victory fluids out of fear that personal consumption of the full regalia of winnings would wrap me around a tree and/or introduce me to flat bellied gents with handcuffs and radios. No thanks.
Now the conspirators get together and remember that the watering hole down the way has an exceptional player fully capable of vanquishing the intruder (Moi) and sending me home in an 8-ball body bag. They send out a scout to retrieve him and unwillingly continue contributing quarters and coldies until their champion arrives.
While we are waiting for him to arrive let me indicate that the combination of adverse conditions led to a quality of play that is certainly not worthy of video. The cue ball had acne, the pockets were torn, one rail drooped, and if you hit one rail it slid into the corner. It wasn’t as if I had caught a good gear, it’s just that I had a modest respect for the laws of physics, a concept foreign to my opponents.
Oops, here comes their gladiator! He doesn’t look like a pool player. BUZZ! And, oh bright one, just what the hell does a pool player look like, anyway? Strickland, Griffus, Lee, Varner, Archer, Puckett, Shorty? Body morphology is not a wise technique for sizing up an opponent.
He selects his cue by how straight it rolls and never looks at the tip. He slams down a shot and a beer, reminding me of Clint Eastwood doing battle with Tank Murdock. He says “$5 a game?” Sure. (I was prepared to do $50 games.)
I break and nothing. He misses. I’m hooked and miss. He misses. I run out. Repeat twice, and finally I break and run our fourth game.
“Damn, I tain’t shooting so good tonight, I need bigger pockets” he says having jawed balls in pockets that had too low of morals not to accept anything that got that close.
Two more games go my way. He decides to quit. I'm up a blistering $30.
“Tellyawhutimagonnado” I said, sounding so corn ball country I thought for sure any self respecting country dweller would take offense and thump on me a little.
“Ima gonna give you the whole end of the table as a pocket. Just hit a ball into the rail and when it stops rolling, pick it off the table like it was one big pocket down there. Like the rail fell off and the table had over three foot of pocket!”
“Huh? Whaa?” I could tell I had his attention. “Nope, you’ll push all those balls down tuh the other end and tangle’em up.”
“OK, howzabout I give you the World’s Biggest Pockets? Whenever you shoot a ball to a rail you just take it off. So, effectively, you are shooting at the World’s Biggest Pockets!
Of course it’s off on the break, too complicated to follow what goes where.”
(Contemplative thought goes here.) “You’re on! How bout for $20!?”
I break. Zip. Zilch. He turns to his buddies and says “Hah, his only hope was to run out.” I turn away and take a sip, but can watch the progress in the juke’s reflection.
He bumps a ball to the rail, picks it up and says “Down.” and does the same with two more balls. I turn back to watch. He’s grinning like Jackie Gleason.
He shoots another one into the rail and leaves himself a long shot down the table. All of mine are out of trouble, and no obstruction on the 8.
He hits the ball to a rail and gallantly picks it up and shows it around, announcing “Down!” to his supporters. The cueball goes two rails to the middle.
I speak. “Hey! Wait a minute! I just thought of something! The cueball hit that rail and that rail. You just scratched in the World’s Biggest Pocket!” as I picked up the cueball.
I never did get the $20, but I did get some high decibel and amazing graphical advice as to how I should implement a sole participant act of human reproduction.
Sheesh. No sense of humor, these gladiators. ;^)
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