Fourteen relatives, who’d already lost in Christmas 8-Ball Shootout, encircled pool table and were joined by everyone else, and all swigged beers or sodas and munched rich appetizers as watched finalists and pre-tourney favorites Bill and Fred strike and counter with deadly long shots, cut shots kissing balls into unlikely pockets, and taps leaving cue ball in impossible offensive positions.
After fifteen tense minutes, competitors each had ball left, and Fred tried difficult long cut shot, launching cue ball from rear rail and drilling striped ball, three-quarters of table away, into right corner pocket. Effort left cue ball against rail, long distance from winning eight ball. Fred stepped to other end of table, called eight ball left side pocket, and watched as white nudged black toward victory, go on, he thought it would till stopped on edge. Bill declared game over, knocked in final solid ball and lined up easy eight-ball tap in side pocket. Aiming cue stick, he pulled back and pushed forward but missed cue ball.
That’s table scratch, I win, said Fred.
No way, that was warm-up stroke, here we go. Bill pulled and pushed stick and again missed cue ball.
That’s it, I win, said Fred.
Bullshit, Bill said. He stroked stick and missed again, and as catcalls enveloped he tried and missed several times before collapsing on table.
Get up, straight shooter, someone hooted.
Bill didn’t respond.