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737. NuPlanetOne - 1/19/2007 4:44:24 AM

Proof it Existed Chapter 3

The bowling alley was actually a sports complex. The bowling end of the business was the main draw, but it also had indoor tennis and a health club in an adjacent wing, as well as a sports bar, restaurant, game room, and of course, the poolroom. There was also a swank Motor Lodge on the North end of the property which brought the whole megaplex into one tight world of intrigue. I left Tony and Pappy to tail Switch and see if the blonde was still hanging about. From the railing I had watched Switch head toward the snack bar but he took a quick right in toward the main desk, then, after about five minutes, came back into sight and continued on toward the open snack area. The blonde was scrunch faced staring into a laptop all alone at one of the scattered tables and Switch was standing behind a square block of a woman in a massive New England Patriots team jacket. She might have been a linebacker and Switch stood on guard with antennae up like he was behind an ox that might step back and crush his foot. The cash register made its digital flurry of beeps, she got her change, then headed off toward the lanes with a tray of food packed to feed a small catering event. Switch sashayed with all her movements then eyed her as she strode off. She took a look back at him after a distance. It was a fuck you look if ever there was one and Switch smirked then shook his head. The blonde stayed in her own self absorbed world and Switch ordered a Mars Bar. The background noise was a steady squelch of balls sailing down alleys and muted shrieks and the ping crash of bowling pins being scattered. But the foreground noise was crisp and serene by comparison. I took a stool to the left of the cash register and watched Switch leave with the Mars Bar. Nothing was said about changing a fifty. He headed straight back to the pool hall and disappeared down the steps. Either he already had change of a fifty or that was his reason to stop at the main desk. Even if he wasn’t standing at the spot in front of it when he floated out of sight as I watched from the railing. From my angle now looking toward the pool room I could see a sitting area with a huge selection of bowling balls and other paraphernalia and a door marked office, all of which were the part he disappeared into from my previous angle. Could mean nothing, but I have survived many things sweating little nothings.

738. NuPlanetOne - 1/19/2007 4:45:00 AM

“Uncle John,” the unbelievable mouth and smile of the blonde said as she noticed me sitting there looking past her into open space.
“Oh, hey. Hi.” I tried to match the smile. “Uncle John. Right. My code name.” I grabbed the other plastic chair at her table and made myself at home.
“Ya. He calls the ones he takes a dive for his Johns.” This she said in a childlike way but it came from a place that was effortlessly sensual and mature and flowed like an air freshener that would never run out of scent.
“What does he call the other ones?” I asked then watched her throw a handful of blond hair over her right shoulder, totally grown up now, allowing a better look at her face, not to mention a quick peek at her somewhat boney chest but wonderfully shaped breasts. I promised myself not to mention those under any circumstances. At least not in that conversation. She showed a wry grin.
“Well, they are all various kinds of fish to him, but when he is paid in advance for his services it can make it a little less interesting,” she said softly through the grin. “Although, when he is paid well, it does improve the performance.” She added with an emphatic coo.
“What’s a girl looking at in a laptop meanwhile?” I said affirming the coo and nodding down at the laptop.
“Oh, real estate. I’m actually working. It’s what I do.” She said then spun her head toward the wall clock in the snack bar. This time she threw all her hair behind her. Wholesome is what she was. Not a line or wrinkle. The kind of skin that would tan perfectly and never age. Perfectly matched blond hair that would cost a fortune to duplicate, except she got hers for nothing. It grew right out of her head. And if the faint golden down that was on her forearms covered any other parts of her I decided I might have to hate Tony just a little, if only to allow me to imagine those other parts.
“Need to be somewhere?” I gestured at the clock. Although I wondered how she could miss the little clock down in the corner on the laptop.
“Ya,” she drooped. “I have to slip out and go over a showing for this weekend. Have they started playing yet?”
“No, he’s warming up to it though. Talking to an old coot that seems to be his Grandpa or something.” I watched her arm as it closed the lid on the laptop then looked up and saw a healthy diamond stud in her left ear. There was a gold star above that.
“Oh, that’s Pappy. He’s known Tony since he was twelve. Pappy gave him a job at his poolroom cleaning up the place. Took him under his wing. Made sure he stayed clear of trouble. Pappy was…” She kind of blinked upward and trailed off a second as if to omit knowledge of inside information. “He was connected to the Mob.” She declared leaning her head in a bit and not really whispering, like it was a secret.
“What about his sidekick? The skinny guy?” I figured since we were telling well known secrets it was worth a shot.
“Oh. That’s Angelo. He goes everywhere Pappy goes. I call him the Boogey-man. He gives me the creeps. He never makes eye-contact, but he’s always staring at you. Weird though, he really likes Tony.” She searched for my eyes. I had to look. We looked at each other for a long minute.
“Everyone likes Tony,” I said. I had to say something to break the spell. Look too long in there and all kinds of things start to percolate. Hormones being born. Yet you felt like little accomplices were sneaking around in the background taking unguarded stuff.

739. NuPlanetOne - 1/19/2007 4:45:46 AM

“Ya, Tony,” she breathed. Her eyes sparkled and everything fled from everything. Kind of like it was a wonderful problem that made a bigger problem more bearable. “Thank God for Tony.” She blinked then touched my wrist to straighten it and seemed able to read the time on my watch upside down. Her fingers were warm. I felt it in my toes.
“Not gonna stick around to root for our boy?” I said once I stopped analyzing my feelings.
“Well, he never hangs around while I’m working. He’ll call with an update. I’ll be at least two hours going over the details of this house with the owners. If they don’t change things.” She winced. “But that would be a first.”
“Be careful with the pay stub,” I said alluding to the tidy sum I had handed over earlier. She tapped her open briefcase sitting next to the closed laptop.
“Safe and sound. Right here,” she said and tapped the briefcase again. “Paid in advance,” she added. “Not worried Tony would run out on you?” She feigned mock concern mildly across her face.
“No one runs out on Lucky Louis. Not much future in that, but I suppose,” I pretended to exaggerate an expectation of an offended reaction, “that you could run out on Tony.”
“Well,” she said flatly unoffended, “then I would be cutting my losses. I make more than that little paystub selling just one property. Even if Tony did care about money. And he really doesn’t. If I didn’t look after it for him, he’d be happy living in his car. Or one of those rooms next door at the motel.” She glanced north as if there was something there that really bothered her. “They give him a room there. Whenever he needs one. He brings in the players.” She finished and stared through the walls toward the motel. I could tell she didn’t like that accommodation.
“Sounds pretty sweet. Everything under one roof. Like a big cruise ship.” I said it quick to keep her going.
“Ya. He helps pick the poker players. The high rollers. There’s always a game over there. And a few pool tables. The game here moves there after hours. The House skims everything. And Tony settles for scraps and leftovers.” She made this last point like she was beating the skeleton of a dead horse. Then quickly brightened as if I had heard it all before.
“Well,” I said as if I had actually heard it all before, “That’s Tony. And don’t tell me about that place, I’ve left more than a few bucks sitting in one or more of those rooms. And I don’t mean the happy ending rooms.” She only considered that part.
“Well, a girl can have her happy ending too,” she said gathering up her gear. She gave me a look that made me want to go to confession and pray I was included in that happy ending. To say she was sexy, missed the point.
“O.K. I’ll go root for our boy.” I said trying to appear neutral in a court proceeding. She nodded and moved away like a schoolgirl lugging books in front of her forcing her hips to sway in response to no arm movement. I remembered why confession required an act of contrition. You could think a sin. I decided to interrogate the snack bar guy. He was holding an empty soda cup and a straw and was staring at me. I smiled.

740. NuPlanetOne - 1/19/2007 4:46:49 AM

The snack bar was deliberately stuck in the fifties. For newcomers to the game and alley allure it was retro. And retro was back at the forefront of in. To the hip and almost cool it was like that plastic pink flamingo on their Grandma’s lawn. Extinct, but wicked cool. To the old-timers it was an oasis in the middle of a techno-modern world that they tried to master reluctantly, especially since bowling alleys went from the fifties to the eighties in one jump, if they jumped at all. There were two long sky blue plastic benches that formed an open right angle completing a box finished by the snack bar counter and long window overlooking the parking lot. The open section at the corner of the benches that didn’t meet provided a doorway area. It was like a kitchenette in a studio apartment, all part of a big room, but sealed off by the idea. Everything from the long menu board with hand positioned letters to the lemonade percolating in the bubbler near the snow cone machine reeked of ’56 and had that Technicolor purity that precluded pastels. Only the cash register looked out of place. But there was nothing retro about money.
“You gonna fill that cup, or just hoping for a sale?” I asked the snack bar guy as I slid back onto my stool next to the register. He put the cup down.
“No. The cup. No. You want a soda?” He tipped the cup at me then toward the soda machine.
“Naw. Just hangin out. Talking to pretty girls.” He threw the cup and straw into the trash at his left. I guess it was tainted now.
“Isn’t that Tony’s girl?” He asked as his eyes slid over toward the path the blonde had taken to the door. He straightened some straws near the register.
“That’s what they tell me,” I said gloomily. “Why, someone say she wasn’t?” I gave him a look with a slight befuddled air of being out of the loop, like I would need to know that.
“Oh. I don’t think so. She just hasn’t been around lately.” He pushed the tip of a cap up a bit. It said Freddie’s on it. He looked across the way toward the main office. I ignored that. He straightened the cups up and reached under the counter and brought up some lids and stacked them next to the cups. Two swinging doors pushed open in a hole in the wall behind him next to a long flat top grille and a slender, squinting female came out wiping her hands in a wad of paper towels. She was dressed like the snack bar guy except for a black apron covering her front. Her cap had a pony tail sticking out the back with the name of the snack bar, ‘The Alley Grille,’ emblazoned across the front. She ignored us and got busy stocking things around the grille. The snack bar guy asked her if the burgers had thawed. They had.
“I guess you would have to notice when she is around, ha?” I colored the innuendo to invite a mutual mental ogling. His eye brows rose a bit and he made a face like a kid thinking things up for Santa. He checked it twice by letting his eyes again wander after the path the blond had marched to the door.
“Not hard on the eyes,” he said revealing toy number one.
“You think?” I said. “Hard? The hard part is easy for you, you’re standing behind a counter.” He relaxed and laughed shaking his head slowly up and down. The grille girl smirked over her left shoulder and showed two green eyes mildly amused. Maybe she thought we meant her. Though I suspected she was on his wish list.

741. NuPlanetOne - 1/19/2007 4:48:00 AM

“Ya, Tony can pick’em,” he nodded. “And choose!”
“Who you talking about, anyway?” The grille girl demanded.
“Tony. And Tony’s girl,” he shot off to his right.
“Oh. Tony,” she pursed her lips and I could see an impish grin on the side of her face as it turned our way. “What about Tony’s girl?” The face was hopeful. “They finally split yet. ‘Bout time. Hey! Could be your big chance Ollie. I know she likes you.” She made sure she had his eyes and flashed an o.k. I’ll stop look and whooshed some water onto the grille. The hiss of the steam bellowed up into the fan hood and she scraped at the surface with a grille brush. Ollie watched that then looked at me and rolled his eyes.
“Couldn’t blame a guy for at least thinking it over,” I leaned in to say with my eyes suggesting the possibility.
“Ya, well,” he nodded his head toward the grille behind him. “Nothing to say on that, actually.” He grimaced like a donkey clenching its asshole. I expected a bray if I dug any deeper.
“Oh. Ya. Sure,” I said like he actually had something to report on his chances with the blond. It seemed doubtful he even had a chance with the grille girl. She was looking at me like she had a secret. She pulled her cap off and fussed with her hair. She looked different. It was worth watching.
“So, you want a sandwich,” Ollie asked signaling defeat on his chances with the blond. He snuck a look at the grille girl and saw her facing the grille readjusting her cap.
“Na, not right now. Gonna head back down to the pool room in a bit. Probably eat later on.” I decided I couldn’t work him over with an audience. Instead, I’d make a move on the main desk.
“ Oh, sure. O.K.,” he said as he slid a pace to his right and scooped up some crumbs that had been aggravating his peripheral vision. He scanned the length of the counter to make sure he had them all, slid back, and leaned comfortably on the register like a spider that had just run down the web on a false alarm.
“Who run the desk over there?” I jerked my head over my right shoulder.
“Vinnie Rocco,” He said. “He’s probably in the office right now” He stopped leaning after saying the name as if he just remembered he was really standing out in the middle of a treeless desert with nowhere to hide.
“Vinnie Rocco,” I repeated. I locked eyes with the grille girl and the area around her eyes tightened into severe curiosity. Then she turned away. I spun off the stool and headed over to the main desk.

742. NuPlanetOne - 1/19/2007 4:52:35 AM

....just adding on to chap 3, sorry for the replay. just a few minor changes.

743. alistairconnor - 1/19/2007 12:21:51 PM

It was worth reading again. The ambience is really palpable.

Do you know where the story's going, or are you winging it? It seems to be heading for a climax with the game itself, but now we've got Tony's girl who surely has to make another appearance... Intriguing.

744. NuPlanetOne - 1/20/2007 4:07:50 AM

No, not really Alistair. But I am going to dive into the pool match soon. The cool thing about fiction is little scenes suggest other little scenes. And definitely, Tony’s girl must return. At any rate, a few more loose ends to tie before I head back into the poolroom. Beyond that I will try to keep you guessing.

745. NuPlanetOne - 2/5/2007 4:43:41 PM

Proof it existed chapter 4

“How you doin?” Vinnie Rocco said by way of a greeting as I approached the main desk area as he emerged from the door marked office. It confirmed for me that the mirrored panels and Vegas style globes discreetly hung about the place monitored via video everything going on throughout the complex. From the shape of the overhang above the main desk it was obvious that the office was up a small flight and had direct sight over to the snack bar and into the pool room. And I would bet that above that there were walkways to everywhere to peek in on every little thing.
Two guys stayed busy dealing with customers and nodded to Vinnie with the closest one handing him a phone. He told the phone he’d take care of it and tossed it near its cradle. The other guy hung it up without daring to look at Vinnie. I smiled at him. Vinnie waved me over to the area with all the bowling ball displays and told me to take a load off in one of the plush chairs in the mini lounge at that end of the reception desk. He opened the door to the office and stuck his head inside and yelled something upward ending with a stress on the word now, then calmly turned and shrugged his shoulders with his hands cupped at his thighs.
“Whadaya gonna do wit these fuckin’ melon heads?” He was right out of Hollywood casting. At least to the movie going public, anyway. Where I grew up the accent and stresses didn’t separate you from anybody. They all talked like Vinnie. The butcher, the mailman and the parish priest.
“Me? Nothin, you keep’em,” I said and brushed the top of the back of my fingers out from under my chin. He gave a heavy headed smirking nod and sat on the edge of a faux ornate leather sofa that hugged the short wall to the right of the office door.
“So. I told Louis anything you want Big Guy. Anything. Spell it out. He says, ya. See Marco. He’ll come by. So, name it my friend. Whatever you need.” He waved his hand in the air like he had just cast a spell.
“The Boss is gonna play a little pool. Louis picked out Tony. It could take a while. Set up a few rooms for later. Keep the girls away unless they get invited. Track down a 30 year old Sandeman Tawny Port. Room temp. And tip me off if Tony’s girl comes back in the building.” Vinnie got up and grabbed a pad off the desk and asked me to spell Sandeman. Then looked at me kinda cockeyed.
“Tony’s girl?” he rubbed the tip of his nose. “Darlene, the blond, right?”
“Right. The blond. Somebody say she wasn’t Tony’s girl?” It was starting to seem like everybody thought so.
“Ha? No. Who the fuck knows? Eh? Tony. We’re talking fuckin Tony here. Right? He’s always bangin something. O.K. What else?” He got over the request with the girlfriend thing.
“That’s it. I’ll tip off one of the boys here or at the snack bar as the night progresses. Is it safe to eat over there?” I swung my head quick that way and Ollie pulled his head behind a customer standing in front of the register. The grille girl was watching from inside the swinging doors and slid quickly out of sight. I turned back to Vinnie.
“What? The grille? Oh, ya. Good greasy shit. They got no brazjole, or managot. But nice burgers. Good fuckin Rueben too. But hey, next door we got everything. Cooks, or chinky food, delivered. Doesn’t matter. You name it.” He was totally pleased with himself. He gave a hand gesture toward Ollie.
“The snack bar guy seems a little on the goofy side,” I said and threw my right arm up and sent my thumb Ollie’s way like I was hitchhiking.
“Fuckin dope head. Gutta watch him like a hawk. Gino’s third cousin. The kid’s Grandpa was the Boss of everything once upon a time. Gino says he’s my fuckin problem. Little shit. I otta crack his fuckin brain open.” There was definitely homicide percolating in his eyes. Then stillness.
“Gino. He upstairs?” I made it sound like it didn’t matter. Like I was perfectly happy talking to the second in command, as it were. And to avoid a pause while his homicidal hormones were sautéing.
“Gino? Oh, ya. He’s around somewhere. He’ll be next door. Later. You know that fuckin guy. He’s like a ghoul. Bang! There he is. Outa nowheres.” He did a phony ducking response like something was coming at his head.
“And the old man in the pool room. Pappy. What’s his deal?” Again. I made it sound innocuous. It could mean I really didn’t know him, or of course I knew him, but what’s his status.
“Pappy? No problem there. He’s still retired. I think he gut his paws into some odds and ends, you know, just to make the ends meet up.” He made a face like a hound dog trying to look complacent. “Boat ways tho, nobody in his right mind would fuck with that guy, just on principle. Not even Gino.” He added shaking his head saying yes but meaning no.
“Who else is Tony banging these days, if I might ask?” As soon as I said it Vinnie’s eyes shot toward the snack bar but quickly back at me.
“Hey, c’mon, who the fuck knows. Why, what that fuckin meathead ova there say. Fuck him. T and Darlene are like two grapes on a vine.” He didn’t know where to take the idea. Or how to brush it off. Then his eyes opened wide. “Why, she part of dis business tonight?” Then a scrunched worried look.
“Her. Could be. Later. Don’t worry about it. And the kid didn’t say anything. Cause I didn’t ask him. Just tip me off if she shows.” I stood up and watched him bounce himself up. Spry. He had about two inches on me. 6’4, maybe 6’5. Twice as wide. He squeezed my hand without trying to hurt me. I made my way toward the pool room.

746. NuPlanetOne - 2/5/2007 4:44:33 PM

There were two guys standing at the wrought iron railing talking back and forth about a hockey game. I went right by them and continued straight down a short hall toward two large glass doors that led outside into the side parking lot. To the left of the doors was another short hall with restrooms on either side and beyond that two big wooden doors with chrome handles. An intricate neon sign above the doors lit up the word lounge and bounced colors off and around a glossy gilding strip of sheet metal that ran along the top of the wall up to the restrooms. It created a surreal ambience around the lounge doors that would assure a drunk that he had made it safely back to Shangra La. I turned to the right of the exit doors and saw a door marked staff only. I went out into the side parking lot. To my left was the front of the building facing the main drag and off further up, as the road headed north, a parking lot width away, was the Motor Lodge. You would have to walk over there. Unless there was a secret passage. Or unless you were a ghoul.
I thought about that and went to my right and followed the building to its end at that side and decided the back wall of the poolroom ended at about that distance. I walked past the end a bit and studied two heavy metal doors with lighted exit signs and no door knobs that were spaced about twenty feet apart with the one furthest away marked receiving. It meant there probably was a back area behind the wall at the far end of the poolroom. There were no obvious cameras, so that meant they had the good ones. Anyone joining the party from out there would have to be let in. Unless they were leaving it.
I eyeballed the rest of the back of the building that stretched at least five hundred feet then climbed up a story, went on several hundred more feet, then turned the corner. That would be the health club. There must have been at least sixty cars parked behind it. Some of those were probably restaurant overflow. The restaurant fronted the health club. The area was well lit. People coming and going. I decided to check it out later then walked back to the side doors and headed back in. The two guys talking about hockey were gone. I went straight past the iron railing and over to the main desk and told the guy I had smiled at to light up table fourteen. He made a professional patronizing face then handed over a small wooden box with three balls in it. I went back to the railing and took my original spot and stood there.
Pappy was talking to the big assed guy who had somehow managed to wedge his whole ass down into the narrow plastic seat. An image of him taking his next shot with the chair clamped onto his butt jumped into my mind. And he looked like a guy that should have a chair clamped on his ass but he was smiling and enjoying whatever it was that Pappy was gibbering about. Switch was racking the balls and making an intense grimace as he lifted the rack off like he dared any off the balls to so much as breathe. One of the balls must have sighed because he jammed the rack over them and went paralyzed with his upper body and held it all down and steady like he was strangling an octopus and didn’t care how many arms were flailing before it died. Then he lifted it off with a sick grin and stepped back slowly and searched corner to corner and eased backward into his chair. He grabbed his pool stick and his crotch then hid behind the shaft and watched the balls. They were dead alright. This guy scared me.
Pappy said it was about fuckin time and broke open the new rack. Across to my left the kids were still playing eightball and two tables down on the right, after Pappy, my boy Tony had begun his mission. The table after them and the one between them and Pappy had racks of unbroken balls sitting ready, but no players. Rented buffers for leaning and watching. Louis looked like a grizzly bear napping with one eye open while still clutching the coats on his lap. The open eye noted my appearance then went back to watching Tony. The Boss was half leaning on the buffer table on that side chalking his cue. I looked past him into the far right corner and noticed the outline of a doorway with a lighted exit sign above it. The back three tables on that side were unlighted and the last four on the left side were lighted, but unused.

747. NuPlanetOne - 2/5/2007 4:45:18 PM

I went down to my table which was midway between Pappy and Tony on the opposite side. I dumped the balls out of the box with a wrist jerk and let them sail around the table as I sifted through the sticks on the wall rack. It was a pretty decent collection. Well run pool halls have good house sticks. Serious players always scout out a house stick to break with and to use in an emergency or tricky situation where using vertical massé might damage their custom made pool cue. I dumped my coat on a plastic seat then rolled my chosen stick on the table to see if I could still pick out one by sight that was even and straight. It passed and I grabbed it up and went through the motion off holding it on the table and pretending I was getting ready to stroke a shot. I slid it through the fingers on my left hand fast, then real slow, then fast again. Then I pulled up and stroked it quick in the air a few feet above the table to feel for any unevenness after having leaned hard on it to practice my set position. It felt good so I chalked it quickly and snapped off a shot on one of the two white cue balls without looking to see where any of it went then stood the stick straight up and checked the tip. Solid. Fairly even. I spotted a ratty looking piece of steel wool in one of the built in ashtrays between the connected plastic seats and honed the shaft carefully to get that superfine sanded feel that meant all the factory varnish was gone. This time I ignored the crisp new cube of blue chalk that came in the box with the balls and rounded up a couple of used ones that were all broken in. I cleaned off the tip of the cue with spit on my finger then roughed it a little with the wool and chalked it properly.
“Wow! We gut a player ova here.” Pappy stood with his left arm hanging off the tip of his cue with his right arm crossed over that. He had taken in the whole warm-up routine, as I had expected, and stood shaking his head approvingly.
“Player? No, not quite. Even when I could play I wasn’t all that good.” I shrugged like I meant it. Then I stood there with my stick diagonal across my front, chalking with my right hand while an occasional squeal of nails on blackboard sounded as I ground tip into chalk to fit the tip perfectly. My left hand held the butt end and turned the stick opposite my right.
“Oh. But you played. I can tell. And Three-Rail. Nobody fucks with that game round here. Cept’ Tony. Hey T,” he yelled off in Tony’s direction. “We gut us a billiard player ova here.” All the eyes in the room hit me for an instant and Tony quickly shooshed Pappy, then after a minute he gave him a look and a head shake saying do not disturb. Pappy made a mock astonished face then turned it toward me and loosened it to a disinterested jeer.
“Easy now,” I cautioned quietly like I was respecting Tony’s suggestion. “I stopped plying years ago. Bad eyes. B player. Jumpy nerves.”
“Ya, wher’d you play? I knew all the players.” Pappy eyeballed me from head to foot. I gave a little whooping guffaw.
“That’s why you never knew me.” I added with a hoot.
“Ya. But you look familiar. Where you outta?” I knew he couldn’t place me. Back then I was just more scenery. But I had been in his joint quite a few times. He had 36 tables. Cash-in pinball machines. A bookie-joint and card parlor all under one roof. All the while running all the action north of Boston along with his hand in every pie along the east coast.
“Switch. Where do I know this guy from?” he lifted his right arm off the stick and motioned to the smoke cloud Switch was sitting in.
“Ha? What guy? Who?” Switch moved his head to either side of his pool stick and put his eyes on me. It was like a CAT scan. Negative. But he left the stick tilted to his right like he wasn’t hiding. “Don’t know,” he said matter of factly.
“Fuckin guy. He don’t tell you nuthin.” He tossed a piece of chalk from his left hand toward Switch and he watched it sail. It was going wobbly to Switch’s left, head high, and in a blink he snatched it like a lizard’s tongue that darted lightning fast out of a camouflaged background. His eyes moved to Pappy to me to Pappy. He kept the stick to his right.
“Come on. It’s your turn. Shoot the balls.” Switch put his eyes on the table. Pappy jerked around and studied the layout. I turned and got busy hitting my balls around. It was time to listen in on Tony’s business.

748. alistairConnor - 6/24/2007 6:05:39 PM

I'm accumulating some fabulous material these days. Too bad I won't be able to use it. Not for ten years at least I suppose.

Otherwise I suppose, one needs to re-write it several times until the autobiographical dross floats out and leaves the universal essence. If anything is left.

Nu, I'm still holding my breath waiting for the rest!

749. arkymalarky - 6/24/2007 7:01:11 PM

All right now, that's not fair. You dangle that in front of us and tell us we'll have to wait ten years and then separate fact from fiction? I say you write the first draft here. We won't tell.

750. wonkers2 - 6/25/2007 1:46:03 AM

Shades of Minnesota Fats!

Arky is right, cough it up Alistair!

751. alistairconnor - 6/25/2007 10:03:31 AM

Well, part of it is that I've been hanging out with women who need more in the way of psychiatric help than the banal psychotherapy thing. I have concluded I'm way out of my depth.

But now I'm in love with a woman of sound mind and body who happens to be an international terrorism expert. The possible fictional ramifications are of course endless.

I could tell you more but then I'd hafta killya.

752. NuPlanetOne - 6/27/2007 1:07:11 AM

Alistair…funny thing is I too have accumulated so much, that is, toward the idea for my ‘Tony’ story. I’m only somewhere around 80 pages but the thing is coming together…so slowly. I was just going to blurt it all out and see where the pieces fell, but I figured if I am ever going to get serious about writing, I had better at least re-write as I go along. An unpolished polished first draft. But it has to be a full length rendition, I’m afraid. I’m thinking 350-400 pages. Fortunately, time does not seem to exist here in The Mote.

753. alistairConnor - 6/27/2007 6:49:28 AM

Wow. Feel free to work on the drafts right here, that would be a real privilege... post it raw then re-write it... try stuff out on us.

Whatever suits you. Time does not exist, but I'm always impatient.

754. alistairConnor - 8/25/2007 12:00:29 PM

Time for some new talent on this thread... come on people, you know who you are... do I need to start naming names?

755. NuPlanetOne - 11/15/2007 2:31:57 AM

Well then, it has been some time. But it is high time I continued with my novel here. I should point out that I have decided that the begining as I have it in here, will in fact be preceded by several chapters. I'm just not sure yet why, but some ideas I have about an ending will require some history and information that will tie it all together. Or something like that. Again, this really is first draft stuff, experimenting, even if I don't eventually change a whole lot.

756. NuPlanetOne - 11/15/2007 2:33:01 AM

Chapter 7

Nineball is at once elegant, violent, mesmerizing, thrilling, excruciatingly tense, yet wonderfully simple in the hands of a skilled shooter. There is not much to it, actually. Nine balls, a cue ball and six holes in a bed of slate covered by felt and cushions along four rails laid out on a perfect rectangle measuring 100 inches long by fifty inches wide, cushion to cushion. The player who breaks the balls must contact the one ball and force at least four other balls to hit a rail. The nine balls are racked in a diamond with the one ball on the spot at the far end intersecting the imaginary balk line from side to side from the middle diamond on each half rail of the long rail at that end. If he pockets a ball on the break he continues to shoot until he misses. If he commits a foul the other player takes over and gets to place the cue ball anywhere he chooses. The first one to pocket the nine ball wins and also retains command of the break. The balls are pocketed in numerical order but you may sink the nine at any time as long as you hit the object ball first. If you do not have a clear shot you can play a safety, that is, hit a piece of the object ball and then a rail, or rail, then ball then rail. Alternatively, you can just push out without hitting anything, but your opponent can force you to shoot again, or he can accept the position and take his chances. And this is where Tony splits the hairs of atomic nuclei.
It is in this process of exchanges during a series of push outs where the two players act as one analyzing simultaneously the layout and possible landings of the intended stroke. Your opponent walks about examining every possible angle and deflection he can imagine. You are in the other guys head and space, sometimes standing close enough to touch, and all the time aware that your opponent might be seeing something that you are missing. And having looked it all over together, though processing quietly by yourself, you can become convinced and actually certain that your opponent cannot be hiding an unseen advantage. Yet because you are sure that luck exists to a marginal degree, you allow for the possibility that he might, by accident, wiggle out of the space he has been wedged into. But your mutual examination of the possibilities and impossibilities assure you that, in fact, luck is his only opportunity to defeat you in this particular moment in the game. So the marginal possibility becomes what you will give him; there is no skilled way he can climb out of the hole. You look it over one more time and retreat. Or you take the bait.

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