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P O O L    S H O O T E R

The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Good Times at Hard Times

Last Sunday was the Hard Times Billiards (voted Best Billiard Room in America) "first Sunday of the month" tournament when a great crowd of "A" players, shortstops, professionals-in-town-at-the-moment, and general wannabes give it a go. It was also a highlight of Samm's visit to the Fun House, so we made the hour-long (at 80 mph average speed) road trip north to the depressing neighborhood of Bellflower, a wart on the ugly butt of Los Angeles.

My first draw was a first-timer at this tournament, Amy, who went down easy 5-1.

My next draw was at the other end of the spectrum of skill, none other than Francisco Bustamante! Earlier, during practice, I introduced myself again, reminding him that I was one of his students at the Predator Pro School in Jacksonville a couple of months earlier. He smiled, and actually seemed to remember me, and gave me a handshake as loose as his famous stroke. But now, school was out, this was real life competition, a zero-sum game in which one of us, Django or FastMikie, would be banished to the one-loss side. What more could I want?!

Django broke and ran. Broke again, ran a few and missed, and FastMikie ran out on Django!

Ha, take that Pilipino-man, I bet you think twice about missing a ball with FastMikie waiting to pounce! Do I really need to report to you, dear reader, how good it felt to run out on Francisco freakin' Bustamante, one of the most awesome shooters of all time? Probably not, but I'm gonna tell you anyway: Un-freakin'-believable! It felt all warm and yummy inside, maybe like I was two years old and just peed my pants, or won the world Formula One driver crown... What impressed me the most about me (ego taking over here), was that I was so relaxed while doing it, and I'm in Fantasy Land hallucinating that Django is actually enjoying watching my run out.

And then, I woke up.

Ha, your own self, Django says (to himself, of course, as the match progressed in silence between us), as he completes the set without flaw, 5-1. Is it possible to actually enjoy getting my butt handed to me? Yes, if Django does it. Such a pleasure to watch him play, especially at such close range.

Next match was against "Miami Vice", who went down easy 4-1 (one-loss side is a race to 4, winner's side is a race to 5).

Staying on a roll, I took town Kenny D. 4-2, winning 4 in a row after being down 2-0. I felt loose, and really wasn't trying that hard because Samm had already been knocked out of the tournament and it was now dark and I was not looking forward to the long ride home late at night on the LA freeways.

My last match was against Frank, a 68 year old guy who just didn't miss. His table presence was very good. He says he almost always cashes in this tournament, "deep in the cash". That's saying something for this tournament. I hope I play as good when I'm 68.

Back on the road for the high-speed dash to Del Mar, Samm was uncontrollable... continuously reliving/retelling the best moment of her pool career, when, just an hour before, Bustamante told her "You have a beautiful stroke!". I can't blame her; if Bustamante told me I have a beautiful stroke, I would tell the story in ads in all the major pool magazines, and ask him to repeat that on video for YouTube, etc. Read her side of the story on her blog.

It was all good fun, of course, and the ride home went fast, with a late night pit stop at In-n-Out Burger. Samm was seriously jonesing for some red meat, while I scarfed some fries and my first chocolate milk shake in years (hey, it's my birthday!).

I kept the storytelling going, as every time she fell into a quiet reverie, I would poke her again with something like: "Hey, didn't I see you and Django talking... what's up with that?" And of course she would light up like a Christmas tree and launch into the "beautiful stroke" story again, in ever more detail. Then, I would tell her the story about how I took a game from Bustamante. And so it went, long into the night...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You played great last Sunday!

And, it wasn't just any "red meat," it was IN-N-OUT BURGER!!!!! Why won't they come to Colorado?!??? :(

Saturday, September 13, 2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love In N Out!! why dont they come to Orlando?
nice story, how many balls did u run out on him(has to be at least 3 to count as an out) :)
good job and I expect no less from a graduate of a Predator Pro Pool School!

Friday, January 16, 2009 4:16:00 PM  

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