Every Pocket Is Bottomless

A shooter fired into an Independence Day parade from the top of an outdoor equipment store at Highland Park, lllinois today. He used a semi-automatic rifle (most likely an AR-15), killed six people, and injured more than a few dozen.

It doesn't surprise me.

America's been suffering from mass shootings for some time, a result of its tragically steady crumbling into a nation barely capable of calling itself the greatest superpower on the planet. Eventually it won't be able to boast that title at all. I predict that it'll collapse from within in a horrific display of unapologetic chaos that'll leave it limping and pleading for death, and the saddest part about it is that when the smoke clears people will wonder what happened, what went wrong, what they could've done to prevent such a crippling series of catastrophes, when the inevitable downfall of our nation will only have one explanation: us.

By and large, we're such a cowardly and mentally weak population. You could honestly say the same of the peoples of most First World countries sprinkled across the globe. We're so docile, so fearful of risk and change, so much so that we're unwilling to do what's necessary to change the ill-fated trajectory of our home, which is to fight back.

Everything is rotten in America. It's being reinforced with more and more bricks of selfishness, greed, drugs, lies, and sex, and those at the top know they can get away with it. They laugh behind our backs when they make promises they know they'll never keep and gleefully call us fools when we rejoice at political "victories" that do little to benefit so few of us in the long run.

To them, we only live to serve.

Nothing else matters.

Not our rights, not our goals, and most importantly not our happiness.

That's the cold truth.

It's why tragedies like the one that occurred today will continue to happen for many more years. It's why more people will continue to be killed and why more and more of us will continue to be stripped down until we're little more than human cattle to the elite.

Happy Fourth.

I was given a pool cue today. It was a gift from a man I call DJ since he's always playing music from his balcony. Most of us residents don't mind because it can only be heard once you leave your apartment; he's considerate enough not to blast his eclectic selections so loud that you'd worry about your eardrums exploding while making lunch. That's what made me like him initially. Considerate people are fucking great.

He has bad feet, which makes it difficult for him to walk and drive, and so sometimes I make runs to the liquor store for him, and I guess that really made an impression on him because he called me over as I was walking downstairs and presented the cased gift with a nearly toothless smile.

"My friend used to hustle with this," he said while handing it over. "He was a playboy, a real handsome son of a bitch, and made his money going to white bars back in the day 'cause white boys always thought they could beat his black ass." He laughed at that, causing his mountain of a gut to shake. "What they didn't know was he had a table in his basement and played all the time. He was a whiz with a stick. Played a mad game. But eventually his hands went bad and he gave it to me. And now I'm giving it to you."

I asked him why he didn't use it and he scoffed while waving the notion away.

"I hate playing pool," he said. "I ain't got time to spend being frustrated around one of those damn tables every other day. But I see you practicing, so here. I'm sure my friend would want you to have it."

I hesitated for a moment, but thankfully I've grown into a man who knows that it's foolish to refuse a gift. When someone offers you something for nothing, you just take it. You thank them, you accept their gift with a smile, and you move on. It's insulting to refuse someone's goodwill and generosity. It's a hard lesson to learn when you've got as much pride as I do, but it's one that'll make a man's life ten times easier.

I like the stick. You can tell it's seen some hard days when you look at it closely, but getting it for free is something I can't complain about at all. It has a jet black gloss, salt and pepper linen wrapping, and a thick wood shaft with a mushroomed leather tip. But it's straight, isn't too heavy in my hands, and when I executed some practice strokes it went forward and back like it was riding some melted butter spread over my bridge.

I'm gonna thank DJ by asking him if he'd like me to make another run for him today. It's the least I can do to show my appreciation.
 
Fabricio showed up as I was practicing last night.

He was on his way to one of the dive bars he works at and his black collared shirt, embroidered with egg white letters spelling SECURITY over his left tit, was stretched so tightly over his fat stomach that I could make out his belly button. I wanted to poke it and scream, "Oh no, you're gonna fucking explode!" while grabbing both sides of my head and ducking for cover, but I doubt he would've laughed. It's a shame we don't know each other that well yet. When he shoots with the three caballeros he's all quips and hilarious insults, but we're still in that awkward feeling out phase men go through when dealing with others we may consider our competitive equal.

As he opened the smeared glass door and entered the not-so-air-conditioned room (the system was supposed to have been fixed months ago but the landlord keeps saying fuck it I guess), I thought about ignoring him and showing him something that might've impressed, discouraged, or intimidated him enough to give me an advantage between us; maybe a long, perfectly executed stop shot or a pre-shot routine that rivaled any professional's, but I swallowed that bullshit and simply stood and addressed him. I didn't waste time with extended pleasantries and after saying hello jumped into the meat and potatoes and asked him if Jerry relayed my challenge.

He said he did with a smile and I asked for his opinion, which gave me nothing but a scratch of an eyebrow and some rolling of the eyes, a dreadful sign of uncertainty, so I raised a hand and immediately continued speaking.

I'm a direct man for the most part and not too bad at communicating, especially when it counts. I did my best to express both my resolve and excitement while emphasizing that, without a doubt, there was something in it for him if he went along for the ride I proposed.

I repeated what I wanted, a race to twenty with one hundred green ones in the air from both of us, but said that it didn't have to happen in one month if he needed more time to prepare. I also dropped a line that I hoped would steer him towards accepting the duel, one that I delivered with narrowed eyes and a lowered tone of voice in order to heighten the seriousness of my words. A provocation, if you will.

"I know I can beat you in a long set. I just need the chance to make it happen."

We casually went back and forth about pool for a minute or two before he shrugged on a massive black leather jacket and left, but I took something away from our brief exchange that made me goddamn proud as I watched him ride away on his roaring motorcycle.

It wasn't bright, but it was there from Fabricio, embedded in his eyes like a sparkling gem in a chocolate brown mine. The origins of respect.

He was also curious. I'm not sure if he's quite as competitive as myself, but I know that if someone came up to me and challenged me to a set I wouldn't turn that shit down if they were near my technical equal. The will to challenge ourselves and dominate any determined opposition is what makes us men. Risking everything for a chance at glory, regardless of how enormous or seemingly insignificant, is what can make a life worth living, and that sentiment exists in his overweight breast. I know for a fact it does, otherwise why would he have accepted my initial race to three when, at the time, he didn't know me at all?

Challenge.

The will to dominate.

It's everything, isn't it?

When you boil it all down to its shriveled roots, that's fucking life, isn't it?
 
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garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I got thru about 1/4 of one of these posts. Does anyone actually read the entire thing?
 

phreaticus

Well-known member
I got thru about 1/4 of one of these posts. Does anyone actually read the entire thing?
Must admit I do (at skim level) and think they are pretty creative & fun but the occasional political/cultural interjections sort of taint the novelty factor. Definitely eclectic to say the least…
 

Pin

Registered
I got thru about 1/4 of one of these posts. Does anyone actually read the entire thing?
I'm reading them in full - I'm working through them one at a time and am a little behind.

He's a great writer, and I'm enjoying them a lot. Somehow he creates a slightly surreal feeling to the posts that I like very much.

I've seen one political interjection so far. It's the author's prerogative, IMO, and in general the stories are richer for branching out, but in the current climate I can understand why people don't like it when abortion comes up. I think I have an accumulated weariness with the whole political environment, and when the fractious issues come up, it can feel like putting on a heavy backpack. "This again." Which is sad, because I think trying to address these issues in a calm, reasoned, and respectful way should be a great way to help get past the miserable antipathy that usually comes with them. But in practice, I think you'd have to be very subtle to make it work. Perhaps going for the issue directly isn't subtle enough, but an author could talk about something that feeds into it (a philosophical foundation?) Russian writers used to have a saying, "If you want to talk about Stalin, write about ____" (I don't remember who! Someone in their earlier history.)
 
I'm such an angry player.

Or rather, I'm such an emotional one.

I get angry, that's undeniable. A seething rage often grows in the pit of my gut when things go from fine, to acceptable, to bad, to frustratingly worse as I watch again and again in disbelief as balls simply refuse to go where I want them.

I'm completely aware that their annoying behavior is my fault. I'm not good enough yet to make those fucking balls submit to me and do my bidding, but it still hurts so goddamn much when I fail. The hurt is birthed from a disappointment that weighs a metric ton and nearly crushes my heart, and when I fail enough I still have a bad habit of ceasing to care.

Last night, whenever I missed, I turned my back away from the table and refused to look at it while my opponent was shooting.

I need to change that.

Things need to fucking change, and they need to change fast if I'm gonna give myself the best chance at beating Fabricio.

But enough of musing about the past.

I'm attending my first tournament tonight.

It's a regular eight ball extravaganza, with players youngish and old as fucking dirt crowded around pool tables and dining tables alike, all discussing scratches, etiquette, and some even talking shit like no one's talked shit before with dripping chicken wings between their fingers. A rather animated game between two bearded guys wearing baseball caps backwards ended with one of them sinking his last ball with authority before jumping up and yelling, "GO SIT YOUR ASS DOWN!" That drew a litany of whistles and laughter, and when the two fiery gentlemen refused to shake hands, a heavy blanket of oohs and aahs, and it was then that I realized I'm nowhere near my fucking element.

Don't get me wrong, there's an invisible lasso of camaraderie that binds us all, regardless of ability, because we're all gathered for one exciting purpose: to play some fucking pool. And that feels good. It feels good to know that you belong somewhere, that you've practiced and sacrificed enough to be able to shoot effectively (enough) with so many different players talking and moving around you, that the pressure isn't so intense that you can barely put together a decent stroke.

I'm not nervous. Not at all. I've never had issues dealing with the noise and energy of a crowd, even an intimidating one. I'm confident enough to walk tall and socially hold my own, no matter where I am.

But that doesn't matter at all here.

My social prowess means dick if I can't play some respectable fucking pool.

And as I watch more and more of these players navigate their well lighted seven footers, it's becoming more and more apparent that I haven't got a fucking chance in the world. I'm gonna get bent over and fucked with ease, no matter how much my defiant ass tries to resist the inevitable and relentless caravan of fifty seven inch two-piece dicks aimed straight at my puckered asshole.

This is gonna be fucking bad.

A marathon runner version of Santa Claus is effortlessly pocketing balls and spinning his cue ball around his green felted table.

A metal song just started blaring over the hall's pretty decent sound system. Part of its lyrics go, "And we put ourselves against the wall," and I feel that I've heard it before, but I can't put my tongue on the band. Regardless, two players practicing on a more beaten table didn't hesitate to start banging their heads while sticking their tongues out of their mouths.

A well-groomed character dressed like the world's most successful insurance salesman is potting balls like he's played every second of his days not spent hounding stressful folks for his quota.

Two pudgy men in sandals speaking Chinese are passionately arguing about something involving the avocado green six ball.

And another older, balding cueist, aged without the tell of a single gray hair, is quietly eliminating his balls without hitting them with any aggressive measure of force. He's deliberate, focused, and graceful, the kind of player I wish I was.

The tournament organizer just finished reading off the event's list of players over the mic, and a few moments later came back on to remind everyone that alternate breaks would be happening tonight.

A massive, professional wrestler looking motherfucker just walked up to the graceful cueist and thanked him because, by watching him, he was learning what NOT to do.

Fucking joker.

This is fun.

I went to the organizer, who was seated behind a curved keyboard and glowing row of monitors set up so perfectly that Batman would've came in his tights, and provided my phone number to receive updates on the bracket. I guess all I have to do now is sit around, watch, and wait my turn.

The tourney hasn't started yet and there's a pulsing energy in the air, the kind of aura a squad of Roman gladiators must've given off before being unleashed upon a blood soaked arena. Some men and women are standing around with serious frowns on their faces while gripping their cues. Others are laughing and simply enjoying a fun night out with friends.

There's a gallery of folks watching the proceedings on a raised platform in front of the concession area. It doesn't bother me that maybe I'll be watched by a few people, but it does add to the pressure of what I'm about to put myself through.
 
I just got called to table two. I just got fucking called to table two. My heart's fucking beating out of my chest but I'm trying my best not to show it. I refuse to show it. I'm going to relax, take a deep breath, walk over to my table, shake my opponent's hand (who I've forgotten the name of because honestly I'm a wreck right now), and just do my best to not think too much and simply make shots. Fuck pattern play, fuck position, fuck trying to plan out an entire rack. I'm just gonna do my best to fucking SHOOT.

I just failed a ridiculous combination, and when I say failed, I mean in the most horrible way. The embarrassment I felt as I watched the balls collide and roll away from each other in a way that I never intended made me want to curse, but I refuse to show my opponent anything. I have to train myself to be emotionless. Detached. Impervious to the crippling effects of failure.

Except I'm not.

Maybe I shouldn't be typing while playing a match, but that's no excuse, is it? I'm playing fucking horrible. I managed to come back with a few balls after my opponent made some errors, but after finally getting on the eight, I left it nice and snug in one of the corners and shrugged while sending it right in.

1-0

I'm not gonna type while playing through this second game of our set. I've missed more than a few times and he's now on the eight and about to get the out.

Okay, I lied.

He missed the eight and I just sat back down after blowing an opportunity at running five and taking the game. Now he's got another shot on the eight in a corner annnnnnd...he's missed it.

My turn again.

And I fucking blew it.

Of course I did.

I pocketed my last ball and had a slice on the eight into a corner, but that damn godforsaken black ball rattled and refused to go in.

What in the ever loving fuck.

But it is what it is.

2-0, and game fucking over.

What can I say?

I lost my first match and it doesn't really feel fucking good. Oh, and I have to take a fucking shit, so there's that too. But I'm gonna hold it in for now. I'm gonna use this shit pressure to somehow help me focus. Maybe it'll make me lucky. Maybe if I build up enough gas and fart badly enough while bending over in front of my next opponent it'll make the unfortunate fucker quit and I'll manage to leave with a small slice of pride knowing that I took one tonight.

I knew that I wouldn't be winning this evening. There was no chance that I'd be taking this tournament at all. I suck too much shitty dick and everyone around me is way out of my league. But I still wanna win. I still wanna fucking win.

I STILL WANNA FUCKING WIN!

The graceful cueist is still slowly working his magic at his nine footer and I guess I'll just sit here and watch him until my next match. There's not much else for me to do. This is a double elimination tourney so there's still a chance for me to leave with something that'll give me the warm and fuzzies before I go to bed later. I'll hope for that. No, I'll play for it. I'm gonna give it my all in my next match.

I'm gonna play to win.

So I'm matched up against a woman now and normally that wouldn't be a problem but she's pretty fucking cute. She's short, fun sized, Happy meal sized, however you wanna say it, and a little chubby, but that's not a deal breaker 'cause chubby women often suck a mean dick and big girls need love too, isn't that right? She's serious though. Deadly serious.

She tried to conceal it by acting sweet and friendly at first with a dainty little handshake but now that the match is on it's nothing but lasers from her eyes and balls are playing one of my favorite games: hide and stay hidden. It kinda took me for a loop but I'm a sucker for falling for it. I forget sometimes that even the most average looking woman could earn an Oscar. They're fantastic at pretending. It's really quite fascinating to see.

She's bending over for a long shot now and all I'm thinking about is how nice it would be to give her chubby little ass a squeeze through those yoga pants sprinkled with what looks like cat hair. If she has cats, I'd love to fuck her in front of 'em. They'd sit there and watch too, the nosy weirdos.

Oh, woe is me.

I made a lucky slice into a pocket when the cue ball was frozen against another, cut another ball down the table, and then fucked up a bank. After getting rid of the rest of her balls she ended up on an easy shot on the eight and I gave it to her. She's going to check if losers only play one game, and that's cool, I'll just sit here and watch her walk away.

Yep, only one.

I shook her hand and congratulated her on the win, but she seemed annoyed with me. Maybe she was annoyed with herself. Maybe she didn't play as well as she thought she should've. Or maybe she just didn't like me. If the latter's the case, then it is what it is. If I was worried about getting every woman to like me I'd never experience a moment of joy.

So, to wrap everything up, I royally fucking sucked tonight.

I did nothing right.

Everything was bad, I'm terrible, I'm embarrassed and supremely disappointed in myself, pool sucks, and I wish the world would fucking explode. I don't feel like I have to shit anymore at least.

I don't know what I was supposed to learn from this sorry showing of mine but I'll try to go over everything again when I get back home.

Or maybe I won't.

Maybe I'll just jerk off and bid another Friday adieu.

I fucking hate this game.
 
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