‘Billiards…Anyone?’

Christmas was coming in Eldorado…and Billy B. and Chet could not wait. Billy B. had asked for a nearly full-size Pool Table with the Pool Balls and the Cue Sticks…and even chalk. He and Chet and often, Dennis W., frequented the Pool Hall that was downtown in Eldorado…but this would be a Pool Hall right in Billy B.s’ home with Neva J. He and Chet had seen the movie, The Hustler, with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason portraying the illustrious pool player…Minnesota Fats. The ultra-smooth ease with which Minnesota could shoot any ball that he chose into any pool pocket…was a thing of beauty. The conundrum was how to fit the miniature pool table into Billy B.s’ bedroom…

Christmas Day arrived and to Billy B.’s ultimate delight…there was a giant present under the Aluminum Christmas Tree. It was wrapped in red glossy paper and had a large green ribbon on it. Neva J. said, ‘Billy B. you might want to move your bed over a little before you open the big present.’ ‘Why…whatever could it be that is so large, Billy B. smiled as he asked? ‘It is that miniature pool table that you have been wanting…from Western Auto,’ said Chet with dancing eyes. ‘Oh don’t spoil it…Chet…let him unwrap it first,’ exclaimed Neva J. Lo and Behold it was indeed the miniature pool table that Billy B. had looked at through the Western Auto Store Window every day for the past month. He had feared that the pool table would go the way of Rock-Em-Sock-Em-Robots…which he had desired for years and Neva J. had said that he was too small for them…and suddenly…he was too big for them…

The Christmas Pool Table was large and filled the entire walking space in Billy B.s’ Bedroom. It had stationary legs and green felt and heavy Pool Balls and regulation size Pool Cues. In order to make some shots, you had to sit on the bed…while other shots had to be made from the bedroom door or the Pot Belly Coal Stove room that adjoined Billy B.s’ Bedroom. When Billy B. wanted to go to bed he had to climb up from the foot of the Posture Pedic. Dennis W. and his brother Lanny played several games on it and Chet and Jane and Daryl were there almost every day that Christmas Holiday to hone their Billiard Skills. The Christmas Table was a Christmas Treat…but it was not the same as a regulation Table like was at Duffy’s Pool Hall in town. ‘Why don’t you ask Santa for a full-size table,’ said Daryl? ‘It is a bit too late for that now that we have the Western Auto Model installed in my bedroom…don’t you think,’ said Billy B. ‘It is never too late for an additional Christmas wish,’ noted Chet. ‘One year I did not receive the Barbie and Ken dolls that I had asked for and mom told me that Santa replaced them with the ones that I had requested, laughed Jane. ‘Dad, better known as The Wiz, says that do-overs for Santa must be requested prior to January the 1st of the New Year,’ Daryl said with some knowledge of how the Santa System works.

Billy B. slept fitfully that night. He dreamed that he was with Santa and Santa asked him if the Pool Table that he had for him was large enough? ‘But where are you going to put the table…as it is much too large for my small bedroom, Billy bleary-eyed…asked Santa? ‘Why Minnesota Fats and I are going to put it in your bedroom…of course…as he is excited about playing a Pool Tournament with you and Chet and Jane and Daryl, Santa said as he laughed so much that his belly ‘shook like a bowl full of jelly!’

MF was smoking a large Cuban Cigar and he said, ‘Rack Um!’ There was Jane and Chet and Daryl…and the Wiz…sitting alongside the walls of Billy B.s’ herculean size bedroom…it was…now the only room in his house…

‘Fats…You know where it is going,’ laughed Santa with his pipe firmly held between his smiling teeth. ‘I have been waiting for a rematch with you…for a long time,’ exclaimed Santa…as he won his 100th game of Billiards…

‘Billiards Anyone,’ cried Santa…as he laughed the laugh of ‘A sly Old Elf,’ on a mission…

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