By: William Ogden Haynes

It was one of those billiard halls that was known for strong cocktails,
great tables and a high probability of picking up a date. Often, he was
lucky enough to meet a woman who asked him to teach her how to play
pool and if he did, his goal was to be charming and take her home to bed

at the end of the evening. But on this night, he asked the blonde shooting
alone on table fourteen if she wanted to play a game or two. She was
attractive and about two inches taller than he was, but his pool game would
cut her down to size. There was something sensual in the way she chalked

the tip of the cue and how her blouse parted as she carefully arranged the
balls in the rack. But there was nothing ladylike in the lightning strike that
was her break shot. She beat him all ten games of eight ball and in five of
those he never got to shoot because she ran the table. They switched to nine

ball and again she won every game. He began to feel that the night was slipping
out of his control. In straight pool to fifty, she began with a thirty-five ball
run and he scratched on his first shot. Her next run of fifteen ended the game.
Her position play was amazing, the english leaving her in a perfect spot for the

next shot. Ball after ball rolled smoothly across the felt and into the pockets.
Her caroms caressed the cushions at just the right angle for dead-on one, two
or three rail bank shots. She politely asked if he would like some advice on
his game. She pressed her body against him with her hand over his on the butt

of the cue and the other adjusting the fingers of his bridge hand. She talked
softly into his ear, her voice breathy as if she were calling a golf game. The
smell of her perfume mixed with the scent of her gin and tonic was intoxicating.
She rocked his right hand back and forth showing him a proper stroke.

He shot a few balls and his new stance, stroke and bridge improved
his accuracy. Surprisingly, after last call for cocktails, she insisted on
picking up the bar tab and invited him to her apartment, he didn’t even
have to ask. But when they got there, his confidence waned. Perhaps

it was the drinks or that he had been so thoroughly schooled in a game
he had played since he was a boy. Maybe he was perplexed that he was
ambushed by role reversal. And speaking of that, his game did not
improve after she led him down the long, dark hallway to her bedroom.


Categories: Poetry

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