By W.R. Jones
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.