View Full Version : Pool Story - 'Race to Thirteen'

08-25-2002, 11:30 PM
A few weeks ago I offered/promised/threatened to write another pool story, and here it is. I find my man, Tincup Wallis, becoming pool's version of Willard Peacock, from a great little book entitled 'Dead Solid Perfect' by Dan Jenkins. It's a great golf story and maybe the funniest book you'll ever read.

Anyway, here is today's Tincupful:

Race to Thirteen

They showed up at Tincup Billiards on a Tuesday, right after lunch. They
were riding big bikes. The kid had a Harley and the other one was on a big
Honda, and both machines looked brand new and shined like a couple of
diamonds. The joint is in a little L-shaped strip shopping center and most of
the other spaces are vacant and been that way for quite a while. There’s still a
barber shop and a dry cleaner and a tax accountant and a realtor. What I’m
saying is that the few cars that go there can park right in front of the places
they are visiting, and the main part of the lot is pretty empty, except for the
dumpster and a seafood reefer truck with all the tires flat, left behind by one of
the past tenants.

So this pair of tourists are putting on a little show, chasing around the
lot and sounding off the pipes on them bikes, but you could tell they weren’t
very good riders. The kid tried to make a wheelie and come near losing his
hawg and scuffing up his young ass pretty good. They had new helmets with
some kind of intercom and you could see they were talking to each other as
they went round and round, and finally they pulled up in front of the Tincup
and put down the kickstands and took off the helmets and got off. And the kid
had a cue case that he had been carrying somewhere. I never saw it until he
had it in his hand. They went inside - older guy first and then the kid.

They had on matching new denim outfits and motorcycle boots, and the
jackets had the designer logo on the left side and some fancy stitching done in
red. Couple of dudes, and no mistake about that. The kid peeled the jacket
and got a rack of balls from Misty at the counter. He was maybe sixteen or
seventeen and sort of scrawny with the jacket off. I wouldn’t say he had a real
mustache, but there was some hair on his lip that he hadn’t begun to shave
yet. He jointed up a good-looking cue and dumped the tray of balls on the
table and started knocking them around. He liked to shoot hard and he liked
to snatch the rock and he had plenty of stroke to do it. Sometimes, after
hitting another ball, the cue ball would make a big arc on the table and wind
up a long way from where you might figure it should go, and the kid would just
about get his cookies every time and could hardly keep from grinning as he
watched. I would say he hadn’t used the cue more than once or twice before.
He never seemed to hit a shot easy, and he made some and missed some, and
never really looked like a player. More like a teenaged cowboy. There was no
doubt, right from the beginning, that Tincup Wallis would come out of the
woodwork before long and try to make a game.

“You got some kind of a stroke!” Tincup said to him. “It’s been a while
since I seen a man who could draw old Kojak that way. You’re gonna be a
player, and it won’t be long, either. I’d be proud to play some nine ball with
you today, just so I could talk about it later, when everybody knows your
name. What is your name, anyway?” The kid said it was Donald, and Tincup
introduced himself and shook Donald’s hand. “Donald, how about if we go a
few for ten a game? I don’t want to get hurt too bad, but I’d sure be proud to
be able to say I had played you.”

The other biker is on a stool at the counter, and you could see he was
quite a bit older than Donald. He had a little belly and had lost most of his
hair and he talked softly and moved his eyebrows a lot and wore a bored look
on his face. He had ordered a Manhattan cocktail from Misty, and then a
Presbyterian, but he was out of luck. About the only mixed drink Misty knows
how to make is a 7 and 7, so the guy heaved a big sigh and got a beer. He said
his name was Aaron and told Misty she looked really good in blue and should
wear it all the time. When the kid came over with his question, Aaron listened
with his head down and then, instead of answering, he gave a little nod and a
little wave of his hand. You might have thought he had given Donald
permission to go wading or something. So Donald went back to Tincup and
said they could play.

The game went just about like Tincup had it figured. Donald shot at
everything, but he didn’t win many games. He ran one rack, going two or three
rails for position on every shot, but in general he played badly and it took just
over an hour for him to get eight games down. Aaron did all the banking,
paying out the $10 when Donald lost and collecting the money for the few
games he won. Tincup had to make a trip to the counter to settle up with
Aaron after every game. Aaron didn’t take much interest in what was
happening on the table, and you could see he didn’t care much about pool.

Finally, Aaron said, “Well, Donnie, you’ve pissed away almost a hundred
dollars and I think that’s about enough, don’t you? I wouldn’t want to have to
sell the bikes to get back to Tupelo.” He looked at Donald and shrugged.

This was bad news to Tincup, to see his easy pickings come to an end.
“This guy is gonna be a player, Aaron. I never get tired of seeing him handle
that cue ball, and I’ve learned a few things from watching him today.”

“Donnie’s already a player, Mr. Wallis.”

“Well sure, but I mean a real top player. I’m surprised to beat him at all.
I figured to spend a few dollars today. He got some tough rolls, and he don’t
know the table as well as me.”

“Donnie is a top player now, but not for ten dollars a game. Please don’t
take offense, Mr. Wallis, but I’m sure Donnie could run over you. Mainly we’re
out for a ride and I don’t mind losing a little money, as long as it doesn’t get out
of hand.”

“You could be right. If you like, we could race to seven for the $80
you’ve lost. I hate to see you go home loser. Tell him to bear down this time,
and we’ll all go home even, and I’ll feel better and so will you.”

“I feel fine and you’re welcome to the $80. Keep it with my compliments,
and buy yourself something with the extra money. Get a new belt with a
buckle about one fifth the size of that one. And count your blessings that we
don’t want to bet any more, because I’m sure Donnie would win. He’s just
been sort of noodling around and enjoying the game. This is a nice little place
you have here, and we wish you the best of luck, but we have some riding to
do. As it is, we’ll have to find us a Holiday Inn so we can get off the road before
dark.” He smiled a little at the thought.

“You’re saying if we bet higher he would play better?”

“No doubt about it. Donnie is an expert pool player when he wants to
be.” Aaron looked around at Donald. “Come on, Donnie. Unscrew your stick
and put it away. Find out how much we owe Misty.”

“It’s on the house,” said Tincup. “If he can play better than this, it
would be a pleasure to see. I would bet a couple hundred to see his real speed,
and be glad to lose it. How about that?”

Aaron smiled at him patiently. “Save your money, Mr. Wallis. As I said,
we didn’t come here to win your money. We need to get on the road.”

“How much would it take to get another match with this expert?” asked
Tincup Wallis.

Aaron sighed again and rolled his eyes and beckoned to Donald. Aaron
sighed a lot. After a brief and private confab, he answered Tincup, “A thousand
dollars. But take my advice and don’t make the bet. You would only lose your
money. I wouldn’t like to see you throw away that amount. Business can’t be
that good, can it?”

“Make it five hundred and it’s a bet,” said Tincup.

“Nope. Put your jacket on, Donnie. We’ve been here too long already, I’m

“Forget the jacket, Donnie, and put the cue back together. I’m going to
throw away a G to see your other game.” Donnie shrugged and looked over at
Aaron and got the go-ahead.

The money was posted and the match was made; a race to thirteen with
winner breaking. There was nobody else in the place to watch it except for the
clean-up man, Billy Jones, and the night manager, Rollover Patin and Misty. It might
have been the shortest race to thirteen on record. Tincup fell behind right out
of the gate and when it was eight to two Donald ran the next four racks and
then made four balls on the following break and left the nine in the jaws for an
easy combination and Tincup broke down his cue. Donald looked a little
embarrassed and didn’t know what to say, but there was no need to make
conversation. Tincup didn’t want to hear it. Aaron put the packet of C notes in
his pocket and seemed on the verge of saying ‘I told you so’ to Tincup, but
thought better of it. They were out within about three minutes and fired up
those big bikes right outside the door, and it made the glass rattle in the front
windows. They made two fast and noisy victory laps around the lot with an
extra turn around the disabled reefer truck and then they were gone,
presumably to find a Holiday Inn.

Tincup took it pretty good, like he was getting used to it. He got some
coffee from Misty and sat down at the table with Billy Jones and set fire to one
of his stinky stogies.

“Billy I lost my money again.”

“Of course you lost your money again - who didn’t know that? Last time,
this time and next time. If I had the cash to fade all your dumb bets, I wouldn’t
have to sweep up this joint.”

“I did it all myself. They didn’t even come in here to gamble. They was
just a couple of sweet things out taking a joyride.”

“Baloney! They came here looking for you. You must be gettin’ famous.”

“All the way from Tupelo?”

“Prob’ly not. It doesn’t matter where they came from. Wherever it was,
that’s where your thousand dollars has gone.”

“But I don’t understand how they did it. The guy told me the kid was too
good for me. He said it about three times. Then he advised me not to take his
bet and lose my money, but he couldn’t of run me off with a stick. I thought I
was stealing, man! Then it all happened just like he said it would.”

“Yeah, Tincup, they took your money and left you behind, scratching
your head and getting splinters in your fingers.”

“I believe that guy was smarter than me, Billy.”

“Well, how about that?! They’re all smarter than you, boss. You’re a
wannabe thief. Donald is a teenage prodigy, and Aaron is an expert on human
nature. He knew more about you than you know about your own self. He
played you like a ukulele. You had less chance than a stir-fried popsicle.”

“But what was it that done me in? I still don’t understand.”

“That’s the worst thing about being a liar, Tincup. After you tell enough
lies, you start thinking everybody else is lying, too. When somebody tells you
the truth, you don’t believe it. You’re a born schlemiel. The next guy will have
a different gaff, but he’ll get your money too.”

“Are you saying I’m a liar?”

“Are you claiming you ain’t?”

“If I could play like them Filipinos this wouldn’t be all the time happening
to me.”

“Yes it would, Tincup,” said Billy sadly. “And you can bet on that.”

08-26-2002, 12:37 PM
Now I see where your writing style came from. I'm a Jenkins fan myself. Good story.


08-26-2002, 07:18 PM
Good story, thanks for posting!

08-27-2002, 05:58 AM
Nice one Vapros. The "up-front,no-bitch," hustle. ***Lester***

08-27-2002, 06:30 AM
Good story....what is the moral of the story? LOL /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif

08-27-2002, 09:39 AM
CM, the strong take from the weak, and the smart take from the strong. Maybe that's the moral. Or maybe there was none at all - just a pool room tale.

08-31-2002, 12:53 PM
Nice story...keep em comming...