Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The 8 ball of Justice

It was, by any standard, the match of the Century. Tuesday night. March 23rd, 2010. The Amusement Center. Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. The Al Safir Hotel. Rarely has the sports world seen an assemblage of talent to compare with that which filled three tables at the Pool Hall in the early evening hours Tuesday. Grace and presence matched only by an uncanny inability to hit any ball into any pocket on anything approaching a regular basis. “Lucky Liz” Gahl and me against the reunited sharks of Shepherdstown, WV fame (summer of 2009, Goose Route Dance Festival), CD2’s own Daniel H (for hustler) Zook and “Killer Kate” McDonald. In a series of games that could, but for the Grace of God, have been going on even now, we scored and we scratched our way into legend. In a cliffhanger of game two, with Liz’s undefeated record (5-0) at risk, I did the only reasonable thing any self-respecting Director would do under the circumstances.

I cheated.

With the energy at the table focused sometimes on the game, sometimes on the spectacle of the two other CDE games going on, I took advantage of the trust I have earned from these people over the years and pulled ball after ball from the well, and put each back on the felt. The only thing that slowed me down was that there were no more striped balls to place. Under different conditions I would have walked over to another table and gotten more, but fair was fair. And besides, in that sad moment when Daniel looked at the landscape of the table and said "wow. We have six and they have only two," it was time to show mercy, if only to avoid somehow getting a cue ball to the temple when the truth was revealed (which it was).

Of course, in the Karmic justice of the world, with victory by ill-gotten hands within my grasp, truth, justice and the America way stepped in. I hit the 8 ball in the wrong pocket. On a shot that defied description. All on my own. The stuff of legend.

There is justice in the world; at least for a moment in Manama on a cool spring night.

Sorry Liz.

I tried.

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