Sunday, September 30, 2007

A day in the life of a pool shark

Alone, a thin man stands at the top of lane thirteen. It is lane thirteen out of thirty-seven lanes. We are the only ones in the bowling alley except for the lone bowling attendant who opened the building. The thin man picks up a ball, pauses, and throws. It is a strike. I call out, “That’s the sixth in a row. You should play for the PBA.”
“What? Be a pro bowler? Ha! Kid you know what I do. You also know that if I were to join something as mikey mouse as the PBA,” He pauses long enough to throw another strike, “That my face would be well known. Well, not as well known if I played pro basketball or golf or even poker. I rely on people not knowing who I am.
“Look at me. I really don’t stand out other than I am a bit think. I work on staying thin. Thin people are generally thought of as weak. I have a non-threatening frame.”
“Ok,” I counter, “If you don’t have inspirations to play any are in bowling, then why start your day here?”
“Why not? Pool and bowling are games of geometry. Granted, bowling offers a challenge in the size and weight of the ball, but basically it’s the same.
“In pool, it is all about angels and the way the balls reflect and rebound off of each other. In bowling, it’s the same, a round ball hitting other round objects that in turn rebound and ricochet off of each other. Plus, I find it relaxing.”
 I wait as he throws yet another strike. “Ok why this bowling alley?”
“There is a method to my madness, “ He winks, and throws another strike. “As I drive through a town, I scope possible spots for a game. In this town, the attached pool room is the only one with decent tables, decent number of people, a bar,  and most importantly several exits, and an interstate less than a mile away.”
    “When I drove by I figured this was my pool hall. Right now it looks like I am playing a stellar game of bowling. I am scoping the building out. I have my escape planned out, should I need it. Most of the time, I won’t need it, but trust me it is good to have. I come early so that the chances of someone remembering me are lower. You might be calling a little attention to me, being that you declined to bowl, but it is ok. I won’t hit here for another month or two.”
He finishes his game with a 272. You get too much attention if you roll a 300 he told me. As we walk out to his car, I ask, “So this is a day in the life of a pool shark?”
“Pretty much,” he said, as he got into this Delta 88.


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