I figured it would be good to get out of the hotel
and get my mind off my father's funeral tomorrow,
so I Googled for "billiards" in the area
(does anyone use Yellow Pages anymore?).
The closest was Markley Billiards, on Markley St.
(quite the imagination for names!)
in Norristown, PA.
When I checked their website,
all it mentioned was cues for sale,
nothing about tables,
but I called, and asked.
"Yeah, we're a pool hall." says the voice.
So I set the nav system in the rental car,
and was transported the few miles
to the shopping center on Markley St.
but the pool hall was very well hidden
around back, with no sign facing the road,
next to the liquor store, just as well hidden.
I was really looking forward to seeing
what had happened to my stroke
in the 10 days I had not hit even one ball,
but as soon as I opened the door,
I was hit by the disgusting smell of cigarette smoke.
The low ceiling and lack of fresh air
assured a short life for everyone in the packed house.
The counterman notices me right away
"Fresh meat!", I'll bet he thought.
But he keeps his cool and simply asks
"Can I help you?
Yeah, like I'm there to buy a used car, or something?
But I know there is no way I'm going to stay
in that cancerous haze.
In all innocence and stupidlty, I ask him:
"Is there a non-smoking section?"
He looks at me like I'm from Mars,
and I turn on my heels and leave
the dead men shooting pool.