Lucky No. 13
A/N: Here it is. My new story. It's been awhile since I actually wrote something outside of Unexpected Love, so I'm trying to make lightning strike twice with this. Lucky No. 13 (excuse the horribly cliche'd title, I didn't have Tyler to help me with it) is a story centered around a boy's devotion to playing billiards at the local pool hall, and some, for lack of a better word (or maybe it helps), unexpected events happen that seems to turn his life upside down. I'm gonna stick to it and see what happens. I love to play pool and I always wanted to write a story about it, especially after reading a small fiction on it at the local library. So, without further ado, ladies (and hopefully gentlemen,) Lucky No. 13.
I do not own the legal rights to any of the aforementioned references used therein my story. All references used intentionally are listed at the end of each chapter. Some references are omitted for the sake of mystery or plot-development. All characters are original. Any resemblance to any person or character, living or dead, is strictly coincidental.
Chapter 1: Wake
A common phrase heard at this place, Jay's Hall. It's a pool hall. Y'know, those colorful balls numbered one through fifteen? Although this isn't the 1960s, pool isn't just limited to sleazy bars with loose women and men with even looser pockets. It's a game that's more popular than you think here. But, with some of these people…
"Shit!" One kid swears as he fouls his shot, giving his greased opponent the win.
The game is about as adult as these brats will ever play. Jay's Hall may be a place for teens to hang out, but it's also got a bad reputation for being a place with 'bad influences.' I don't see it. It's just harmless fun. It not like we're breaking cues over people's heads.
"Pay up, loser!" The winner exclaims at his quick win.
The losing boy glares at his gloating opponent, twisting a house cue in hand.
"What's a matter? I'm sure your cash will go to good use at getting me a frosty root beer at the Barre," he gloats while eying the striped-shirt boy, gesturing for a bill to reach his hand.
"You stupid bastard!" The clean-cut boy yelled, holding his cue in position to strike.
"Hey!" Jay yells from across the counter at the Barre, "No fightin' boys! Steve! If you played on the Tide, you have to pay the winner a drink! Those are the rules!"
"Hrmm!" Steve grumbles while picking out a ten from his wallet.
"Next time, if you don't want to lose Mommy's allowance for you, stay the off the Tide, kiddie!" The greased boy said while flicking up the collar of his leather jacket.
While he walked away, Steve saw the rules posted in the corner of the Barre that he forgot to read before he challenged someone to a game.
Rules of the Hall
Follow the rules of each table.
Don't play dirty.
Beware of the Tide. Know where you're treading before you go swimming with the Sharks.
Well, usually we aren't making a scene. Just, things get kind of rough at the expert table, or better known as the Tide.
Jay's Hall is a pretty small place. It's in between both a Ciento Valley and a Sammy's on a block on M Street. Doesn't leave much room, but old man Jay ended up putting three tables in here. Anyways, we regulars have nicknames for the ranks. For newbies, it's known as a beginner, normal, and expert. Here, it's known as Kiddie, Wave, and Tide.
The Kiddie is pretty self-explanatory. It's the beginner's table, and all the newbs flock to it. We see pretentious snobs that have two-piece cues play, but I can guarantee that they don't even know the difference between drawing and English. No risks here, and pretty much play what you want. The newbs like Nine-Ball since its so easy to follow. Plus, they play without the three-foul-rule otherwise they would never win.
Next is the Wave. There is still no risk, but you can play more competitively with some fairly good players. Some of The Sharks play here when they aren't out to score a drink on an unsuspecting newb, like Scott just did, or they want to play without the risk. Nine-Ball is fine, but you follow the true rules here, nothing Kiddie here. Plus, The Sharks play Eight Ball here mostly.
Last is the Tide, the expert's table. As the rule says, be careful where you're playing, or you just might meet a Shark. You play on this table, and if you lose, you buy the winner a drink. It's not betting if you aren't using money up-front! We aren't doing anything illegal otherwise Jay would have been arrested years ago. I'm sure he knows what he's doing, plus I'd hate to see the Hall go. Eight Ball, here. You can play Nine Ball, but you'd probably get ran by a Shark in nothing flat.
How do you know what's which? They're color-coded. Each table has a different color cloth. Blue for Kiddie, green for the Wave, and a dark red for the Tide. You think the newbs would realize once they're seeing blood red, they're treading in Shark-infested waters.
Oh yeah! The Barre. Jay's personal, for lack of a better word, bar for us. Nothing alcoholic though, just some Coca-Cola products, unless your willing to have a F-Sharp, a mixed drink with orange flavored Jones Soda. It's mostly David's favorite, but he's willing to make you one if you're up to it.
How all this crap fits in a dark, cruddy place like this, I'll never know, but I call it home whenever I'm here. It's only about two blocks from my house after all.
Did I mention the Sharks? Well, more or less, explain them? The Sharks are the ranked players at the Tide, the top ten. Scott's a lasting Shark, ranked second. His nickname is coincidentally, "Tiger." A fierce competitor, and he always wants that number one spot, so he can prove he's the top Shark at the Tide, which is taken by Yours Truly.
That's right, I'm a Shark. Name is Jonathan Ray, number one, nicknamed "Stingray." The king of the Tide! Haha! Of course, I've lost a share of games, but never against him on the Tide. Something about that table brings out a stinger that can poison the greatest of opponents, like "Tiger" there.
The other Sharks? They alternate. Scott and I are always up there though, but the November Tourney held at the Hall mostly determines the Sharks. They use up all the tables, and whatever ten are left standing on the Tide are ranked as Sharks. It's a fun tourney, and I tell you, I can lose to "Tiger" every time on the Wave, but nothing can stop the "Stingray" from dominating the Tide.
"Hey John! Wanna play a set?" A wild-haired boy asked from behind the counter of The Barre, "I'm on my break, so why don't we hit the Wave?"
"Sure thing, Dave! Just let me finish my Coke." I said, taking a swig from the glass and then hopping of the stool.
David is the son of old man Jay. He's not the best player, but I heard he took seventh on a Shark rank once. He mostly works at the Barre, but in his spare time, he'll play a round with me.
"Alright, rack 'em!" I said finishing off my drink and sliding the empty glass to where Jay was washing the rest of the mugs.
"You wanna break? Or should I?" David asked, starting to rack an Eight Ball game at the head spot.
"Let's flip for it. Heads, you break, Tails, I break." I said taking out a gold coin from my back pocket.
"You really like tails, don't you?" The rack was shuffled back and forth on the soft green felt.
I flipped the coin the air, and caught it when it came back down. Then, slapped the palm with the coin it on the table.
"Tails! I break then." I said while grabbing a house cue and beginning to chalk it up. I am the only Shark that uses a house cue. All the others are newbs that learned how to play with the cues that they can buy. Although, there's one cue I wouldn't mind using.
The Balavsuska, my Dad's only cue. I've only seen it once, when he was teaching me how to play on the Wave. Carved with the best wood I've ever seen. Dark red at the grip, and an orange jewel at the butt of the cue. Balanced with the most accurate precision that it is almost impossible to miscue with. Such an elegant cue, and it has always been my dream to use a professional cue. My Dad was a champion at pool. He learned from his mother, who was also a professional, he says. I don't believe that, but he rocked with the Bal. I've seen him run the table on me with the house cues at Jay's, but he said I wouldn't stand a chance against the Balavsuska. He doesn't play much, but the Bal is still in its glass case in his study, waiting to be used again. I asked him why he doesn't play anymore, and he always responds the same way.
"You'll see there's more to life than being a black alley cat on 13th Street."
Last thing he said before giving me his lucky gold coin before my first Shark rank match. I ranked fifth, but still; the Tide was Shark-infested at that time. That was probably the last time I saw him at Jay's. Still, I can't help the "Stingray" name is still being held up to top honor today.
David took the wooden rack off of the balls, and I began to line up my break. Taking each practice stroke, trying to find the right angle. Smooth, controlled, and then when they least expect it.
The table is frenzy; balls going every which way, some manage to be sunk.
"Wow! You managed to pocket two stripes and a solid!" David said, watching how the balls scattered from the break.
"Hehe…always the stripes…" I said, scanning for the next pocket. I found a nice looking ten, aimed slant at a corner pocket.
Lined it up and ended up running the table to one ball for stripes. David wasn't too shocked, but he could easily catch up. He plays defensively, nicknamed "the wall." He'll snooker you, that is, leave you with out a shot more times than you would like.
"Alright, how are you going to make this game a living hell now?" I asked, seeing on how he could potential ruin my chance for pocketing the rest of my group.
"Just you wait. I know I can be half as good as the low Sharks by playing you!" David said with much enthusiasm.
He takes a few shots to pocket five for his group, but ends up fouling on a snooker shot by hitting the six.
"Goddamn it!" David swore, stabbing his cue into the cracked concrete floor. He then picked up the ball and delivered it to me.
"Well, isn't this my lucky day?" I said, lining up a straight shot for the thirteen in the side, and drawing back for easy access on the eight.
I stroke the cue ball, sink the thirteen, but the cue ball falls short of drawing, and stops as soon as it hit the orange-striped ball.
"Grr… Well, it isn't too bad… Eight in the corner without the chalk."
I lined up a more difficult cut on the eight, and saw David's "well, this is all over" expression on his face. Taking the shot, the black ball dances a bit, but gradually falls in the pocket.
"Yeah! Score another for the 'Stingray'!" I said holding the cue up in the air.
"Good game, John. Every time I play you, I see why you're the best." David said while extending his hand for a congratulatory shake.
"Yeah, you too Dave. You definitely have what it takes to be a Shark again." I said, shaking his hand.
Seeing the watch on the wrist of my shaking hand, I realized what time it was.
"Oh, shit! I was supposed to be home an hour ago! Later Dave!" I swore while running out of the Hall with my bag on my shoulder.
References: I won't be using this as much as I used to, without a character like Michelle's but there are some things that need clarifying on a legal sense, I guess. Plus it can be used to clarify some aspects of the story that may be confusing.
The Barre: It's pronounced "bar,' so it's the name for their little 'bar' they have in Jay's Hall.
Sammy's: Strictly an accident. This in no way is related to Sammy's Woodfire Pizza. I just realized that after this final read-through. It's a restaurant that's next to Jay's Hall is all.
Coca-Cola and Jones Soda belong to their original owners. Thank you for making such good soft drinks.
A/N: Short chapter, I know. Aren't all my stories a little confusing at the beginning? Plus, I promise that the pool scenes will get longer as the story progresses. Right now we're building up the characters, during the tourney (If you honestly thought I mention the Shark Tourney and not write about it, you are sadly mistaken) you will (hopefully) be seeing full chapters devoted to games. Plus, yes, this is very cliche on how the top players are Sharks and everything, it was the best I could come up with. As for the next chapter, two weeks from now. I don't want there to be a hiatus on this story, and I get at least a chapter done each week. Reader Appreciations? Ah, that's where I need your help. Would you rather have the (surviving) cast of Unexpected Love host, or the new cast from Lucky No. 13? Tell me in a review, please.
EDIT: Some minor fixes.