Jason’s currency was low, and he needed to level up if he was going to take it to the next level.  Nickel & dimming it at the entry-level tables would not make the cut at this stage.  With only enough tender for one shot, one wager, one chance at opportunity; he entered the game floor to play.  Shooter was his name, and his name succeeded him.  He was a bronze player, no doubt, who had no fear of loss due to his well-balanced financial bankroll.  The break salubriously fell into Jason’s favor, and the game was now promptly to begin.

 Jason aligned his cue stick for that perfect angle and determined the right amount of punch for a flawless break.  Three Balls in on the break! “Fantastic shot”, Shooter shouted as he clapped his hands four times with a smile that had hearts in his eyes.  Jason replied, “Thank you”.  He said modestly as he prepared for his next shot.  Looking at the table set-up, he would have to choose between solids or stripes to determine which choice was best.  “Solids”, he called out.  He was now ready to play the game.  They didn’t have to call every shot in this game: only the eight-ball.  However, the rules said if you don’t touch your ball (Solids in Jason’s case) then it would be counted as a scratch.  Allowing the other player to place his cue ball, wherever his preference be, on the table. 

 Jason dropped four balls into the pocket on his first go around.  “Not Bad”, Shooter said as he stepped to the table.  Shooter dropped five balls in his first round.  Jason knew this gentleman was no joke now. “That’s impressive”, Jason said confidently, but Shooter was just smiling.  Jason could see all that poop behind his three smiles, and he knew Shooter was taunting him.  

 Jason rubbed his head as he said to himself, ‘Don’t let this person get you down. Stay on your game and remember what you came for’.  Jason dropped every ball on the table in the second round, all but one.  One solid ball stuck behind two of Shooter’s striped balls, and Shooter knew it.  “You got this”, ‘wink, wink’, Shooter shouted as he winked his eyes.  Jason could see tear drops plunging out of Shooter’s eyes as he laughed so hard, it made him cry.  Jason’s face turns red as fire in anger and rage of Shooter’s humiliating attempt, and Jason made sure Shooter saw his red face of rage.  Jason knew what he had to do.

 A long game trick-shot was what Jason needed.  A bank-shot off the corner wall to tap his ball out of that cornered trap and place the cue ball in its place.  ‘It was the perfect plan’ Jason Thought.  Trapping the cue ball behind the striped balls, would force his opponent to take the long shot with less percentage odds in his favor.  He might make the first long shot, and Jason knew this, but then the cue ball will position itself, impossible to make the second. A defense strategy shot was necessary.  Jason raised an eyebrow of curiosity at Shooter, for he knew he was mocking him.  Jason had a plan that Shooter was not aware of.

 Jason could taste victory on his tongue and bet your bottom dollar: it tastes as good as that fried chicken he could smell coming from the kitchen.  He could feel his cue stick up and down.  Smooth it was, with the perfect slide and grip.  He could see that prize money in his wallet already.  He lined up the shot with every extreme precaution. Likewise, he pulled out his invisible ruler like his very own personal laser pointer, and he measured every angle.  It was a perfect shot. He hit his last solid ball out of that cornered trap and now the cue ball was accurately where he wanted it.

 Jason put his cool sunglasses on and grinned at Shooter.  ‘Oh!’ Was the expression on Shooter’s face as he tried to sink the first shot.  

 “Take your time”, Jason said.

 “I can do this all day”, Shooter replied.

 Jason looked and said simply, “easy does it”.

 Shooter shrugged and ignored Jason’s last remark as he lined the shot up.  Knowing he had mocked Jason, he would have to make this shot now, or live with the consequences. Shooter lined it up and took the long shot. Just as Jason had planned, he made the shot, but now he had no shot and was forced to pot the cue ball. Jason looked at shooter and said, “It was a great game”, as Shooter’s face now turned red. Shooter had no fear, for he had a good bankroll, but he had a little respect for Jason now. He potted the ball and now Jason would take his last stand with only two balls (both lined up perfectly) to finish the game.

 Jason took the shot and sunk his last solid ball.  Sad tears came over Shooter’s face, he knew it was game over.  Jason, feeling overly over-confident, was getting ready to take his final game winning shot when suddenly there was a loud roaring bang that shook the whole room.  Followed by a loud thunder.  Lightning had just struck, and all the power went out.  Just Jason staring at the pool table.  I heard Jason say, “Man! This app sucks!”, as he stared at his iPhone dimming, flashing the words ‘no connection’ across his screen.  Jason knew his wage was now a forfeit by default.  

Todd is currently attending Full Sail University in Orlando Florida for his bachelor’s degree in fine arts, ‘Creative Writing.’ At age 43, Todd decided to switch careers and start a new life. He found himself fascinated with stories and decided to become a writer, and a storyteller.