untranslatable parlance in the occasional snatch:
‘a pot to nothing’; even, swears Col, ‘screwback’.
We’re on our usual of the twelve tables at the Blackball,
where the boss and his overweight Doberman prowl.
After a year of friendly competition (winner-takes-all
at a hundred frames), Col and I are level on ninety
-nine each, and suddenly unarticulated, petty
grudges surface between shots. A happily fluky
red unlocks his defensive dirt. I eschew my natural
game and consider each shot from every angle.
I can feel Col’s bitterness simmer and boil until
I miss a long pink and go in-off. ‘About friggin’ time’,
he rasps. I laugh, knowing full well it’s hard to line
up a break out of anger. He fluffs an easy brown
I’m not going to pass up the chance: a screaming
black, with side to get back to baulk. I’m well in.