Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Streak - 33

"You're not supposed to drink that Scotch with ice," said Kyle as he racked a game of eight-ball. Kyle was both fastidious and vulgar, a man who clung fiercely to his shallow predilections. This was a man who had a stack of Cigar Aficionado magazines beside his toilet.

"There are a lot of things you're not supposed to do, Kyle," Evan said with a sigh. He rattled the ice in his glass of 18-year-old Macallan to punctuate the point. "If I didn't do any of them, I'd be a very unhappy man."

"Amen to that," said Kyle oddly, removing the brace with a flourish and stepping away from the table. "You're up."

Evan peered down the length of his cue to verify that it was true, then rolled it on the felt a couple times for good measure. He picked it back up and held it like a staff, letting it bounce a little on its rubber end. He chalked the tip and blew off a blue wisp of dust. He wrangled the cue ball into place with the end of the stick, positioning it a few inches behind the dot at four o'clock. He crouched and placed his left hand on the table, forming a V with his thumb and forefinger, the open bridge his dad had taught him when he was just old enough to remember. He positioned the front of the cue stick on the crux, with his right hand far back towards the end for maximum power. He tried to let his fevered brain go blank for just a moment, long enough to meditate upon the object, the 1 ball at the apex of the rack, which his task was not so much to strike as to strike through. He unleashed a violent break. The cue ball lifted off the table with a little hiccup as the numbered balls caromed off banks and crisscrossed to the other sides, some deflecting off each other, others untouched, some spinning laterally as they glided. Their paths formed a pattern of terrible complexity and beauty, unique in the history of the universe. The 2 ball fell.

"Nice break," said Kyle.

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