A Story Of Deceit

By W.R. Jones

chocolateandcranberries.jpg  I posted this painting yesterday on cafecrem so if you are interested in a short discussion about the piece you can read it there.  Otherwise, sit back, take a sip of hot chocolate, and listen to my story.

    It was a Friday afternoon in a barracks near San Francisco.  My squad had the weekend duty, i.e. clean the barracks, stand guard, etc.  Not particularly enthusiastic  about the prospects of a ruined weekend, I came up with a brilliant plan to get at least Friday night off to spend some time in the city.

    I was a pretty good pool player in those days.  To illustrate my point; one evening while still in high school I beat the pants off a much older married man playing snooker in Johnny’s Pool Hall.  I beat him that one game.  Then I more or less supported him, his wife, and three children for the next 4 years.  Somewhere along in the 2nd year, having lost something like 378 games in a row to the man, it occured to me that I might have been hustled.

   I figured I could use these pool playing skills to advantage.  I had a friend on a ship that was in port so when he came to visit I did not mention to my squad leader that this was a friend.  Instead I told him that I had the opportunity to play “this guy” pool for $100, but he would only play in San Francisco, not on the base.   We made something like $80 a month at that time so this would be a goodly sum and my squad leader agreed to me having the night off to take “this guy’s” money.

   When I returned to the base on Saturday I had the $100 (of my own money of course) to show my squad leader as proof positive of my honesty.  

    A few days go by.  I’m sitting on a bunk in the barracks with the squad leader and a few others when across the room a door swings open and in walks a man asking for me.  “Is there a Jones in here?”  Some helpful ass pointed me out.  Across the room he walks then stops in front of me.  He stands there quietly for a moment then in front of everyone speaks in a slow southern drawl.  “I hear you like to shoot pool for money.” 

    Boys and girls, the new word for the day is blanch.  I turned so white I blended into the sheets I was sitting on; the guy must have thought I dissappeared into thin air.  Unfortunately my color slowly returned so he found me again. 

    Age and failing memory mercifully spare me the pain of recollection of being separated from my money so quickly.   And it was quickly.  The good news is I didn’t look like a bad pool player as I never really got to shoot.

    If someone you never met wants to shoot pool with you for money, it is best to tell them you are a bowler.

This entry was posted in On Suffering, Painting, Still Life. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A Story Of Deceit

  1. 01varvara says:

    Hmm… were you skunked at poker as well? Having served in the forces myself, I know that that honourable and ancient pursuit separated more people from more money than anything else. Perspiring minds want to know!


  2. kevmoore says:

    Thankfully, on my visit to San Francisco, I mainly hung out in the CD stores, where I was just as easily separated from my money, but without the deceit.

  3. wrjones says:

    I don’t remember losing at cards. My friends from as far back as I can remember were connivers. We would play together against a stranger then split the money later. Did the same thing in golf, pitching quarters, etc. I may have been wasting my time at those church youth group meetings.

    Oh, wait – I do remember losing at cards, it was ugly. My partner actually threw the table at me.

    Well Kev, I left my heart and my money in San Francisco. I really have never recovered financially.

  4. kevmoore says:

    Yeah, I guess its time to throw your hand in when they start dealing the furniture….

  5. wrjones says:

    Yup, my hands are small so I can’t hold a couple of chairs, sofa and a table.

  6. 100swallows says:

    I thought the marshmellows were ice cubes. But I got the baseball cap right (unless it’s a cat rug). So you bowl, do you?

  7. wrjones says:

    Very close – It was a ball cap chewed into a table napkin by the dog. As green tree huggers we reuse everything. Those were ice cubes I dipped in a slightly greyed gesso to simulate marshmallows.

    I bowl with all the same skills I take to the pool table – I think my last game was an 83 on Wii bowling.

    What I prefer about Wii bowling is I can wear my maroon satin “Lenny’s Lounge” bowling jacket in the house and not have to take a beating on the way to the alley for dressing like a sissy. Another plus is the Wii bowling stick is a lot lighter than those big heavy bowling balls. You could hurt yourself picking one of those big suckers up.

  8. 01varvara says:

    So, you are a tree hugger… I am emphatically… NOT! Let’s uncork an adult beverage and give a hearty “salud”! As former Mayor Ed Koch put it, “If you agree with me 6 out of 10 times, we can work together. If you agree with me all the time, you are either insane or an *!@-kisser”.

    Cheers from an unashamedly right-wing correspondent,


  9. wrjones says:

    I’m a tree hugger in the sense I raid the neighbors apple trees. Green in the sense I prefer the green or not quite ripe apples (taken with salt).

    As a long time NRA member I tilt to the right myself. I had a friend who use to travel with a pistol and when I asked him about the danger of being caught with a concealed weapon his response, “better to be caught with it than without it.”

    I suppose I could qualify as a skin head. Oh, I see, I’m just losing my hair – they won’t let me into that group philosophically speaking.

    My basic world view is that you simply can’t go wrong by showing respect to everyone. Some, of course, don’t deserve it, but you lose nothing by the offering.

  10. 01varvara says:

    As I wrote to another correspondent, “I avoid attacking people by name. Concepts are fair game always, but, one should be considerate of others, even if they do not reciprocate”. I believe that we are of one mind, sir.

    Cheers and regards,


  11. zeladoniac says:

    Love the painting- the glaze on the cup looks like a raku firing, very cool. Good story, too.

  12. wrjones says:

    Thanks. What is the meaning of zeladoniac?

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