Title- Eight ball
Summary- For the contest on jam_pony_fic. No one runs the table their first time out. Not even Alec.
Characters- Alec and Sketchy
Disclaimer- I do not own Dark Angel
Author’s note- I’m no expert on pool, but I’ve got a pool table in my basement and play enough not to completely suck. I apologize if I made any terminology mistakes.
It was no secret. When Sketchy went out to Crash for purposes of shooting pool, he lost money. Sure, he’d usually start up a couple bucks, but then someone would buy him a beer and things would go downhill.
You see, when Sketchy was sober, he was good. But get three or four beers in him, he could hardly hold the pool cue much less line up a decent shot. And when he left, he was flat broke again.
Sketchy grinned as his latest opponent handed him a twenty with a quiet mumbled of “Good game.”
Someone tapped him on the shoulder. “Up for another?”
“Sure,” he agreed, and when he turned around, he recognized the figure holding the pool cue. “You’re that new guy, the boxer. Alec right?”
“Guilty.” He shrugged. “We playing for twenty?”
“Sure. You want to break?”
“Nah, you go ahead.”
New game. Rack ‘em up. Eight ball in the middle, one at the top. The cue ball slammed into the others and the balls scatter. Sketchy shook his head. Breaking never was his strong suit.
He watched Alec lining up his shot with calm collected confidence. Sketchy groaned internally. The guy looked like a pro. He’d be down money before his first beer.
But Alec completely blew the shot. The stick scuffing off the cue ball and completely missing its intended target. Sketchy laughed. “Looks like you need some chalk.”
Alec flashed him that same cocky confident grin. “Chalk, right, I knew that.”
Sketchy shook his head and bent over the table. Three ball, corner pocket. Six into the left side. The one ball cornered out. “You’re up, new guy.”
Alec had an awkward looking stance, and his bridge was just about the worst thing Sketchy had ever seen. He made the shot, but it was complete slop, bouncing off the side and ricocheting off the eight ball before making its way into a side pocket.
Sketchy let out a snort of barely concealed laughter. Alec gave him a defensive look. “Hey, I meant to do that.”
“Whatever you say man.”
He missed the next shot badly, scratching in the process. Sketchy picked the cue ball out of the end and went to line up his shot. “Still don’t see why a high and mighty boxer like you decided to work at Jam Pony.”
Alec shrugged, lean against the table. “Seemed as good a place as any. Besides, I figured I should stay close to family.”
One ball corner pocket. Five backed off the far side and back into the side pock. Two back into the same corner
“Max,” Alec clarified.
Surprise overshoot the four, bouncing it wildly off the far rail and back to the center of the table. He looked up at Alec in surprise. “You two don’t look like siblings.”
“Ah, there’s a great story there. You see, we were part of the same covert genetics operation. Designer test-tube babies.” He grinned at Sketchy’s widened eyes. “Chill, we had the same foster family for about a year.
He jabbed at the cue ball and it connected with the stripped thirteen at an awkward angle, pinning them both against the rail.
“You have the worst shot I’ve seen all year month.”
“What do you mean?”
Sketchy lined up his shot. “You got to stroke through the ball. Jabbing at it messes with your aim and with you bridging like that…” He let out a whistle. “You’ll be blowing every cent of our meager salary in about an hour.”
Alec looked slightly affronted. “How am I supposed to bridge then?”
Sketchy smirked. “Watch and learn my friend.”
Seven ball far pocket. Four close to follow. “Eight ball, corner pocket.”
He left the shot short and let out a theatrical groan.
Alec laughed at his antics, and leaned in like Sketchy had shown him. The bridge was slightly less mangled than the time before. When he struck the cue ball, it went straight into the eleven, but he’d hit it too hard and the ball cornered out.
“Got to have a little finesse,” Sketchy mumbled and added, “Eight ball, same pocket as last time.”
The cue ball kissed the right side of the eight ball and dropped smoothly into the pocket. Sketchy straightened up with a wide smile. Alec, pressed the twenty into his palm. “Good game man.”
Sketchy patted him on the shoulder. “Take it from me man, you might want to ease off playing pool for cash. I hate to see a fellow messenger begging for tips.”
Alec laughed and shook his head. “You know, I’m gonna ask for a rematch. Right after I buy you a beer.”
“As much as I like taking money off people, I would have to advise against that.”
“Come on,” Alec protested. “That was my first game, I’ll get better.”
“How long has it been?” Sketchy asked, “Years?”
An odd look crossed Alec’s face and Sketchy suddenly got the impression that this had been Alec’s first game ever. “Dude, you’re childhood was seriously lacking in all things human.”
Alec shook himself and the smile was back. “I learn fast.”
Three beers and four games later, Alec was grinning as the eight ball rolled smoothly into the side pocket. Sketchy shook his head in disbelief.
This had to be some bizarre combination of his drunkenness and beginner’s luck.