A fictional short story about playing a game of eight-ball pool against a lawyer.
"Having a guilty client doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the one out of twenty that I represent who’s innocent. That guy costs me sleep."
The lawyer evidently was unaware of the irony in his words as he lined up his break. He popped the cue ball into the rack sharply, with plenty of topspin. The balls scattered nicely.
"Two stripes" I announced.
The lawyer lined up on the thirteen, a short straight-in shot into a side pocket. He whacked the cue ball sharply, and the stripe popped in and out. The thirteen smacked into a group of balls clustered near a corner and caused the nine to lazily fall in.
"We are calling shots, right?" I asked.
"Well, you did mention something about it a minute ago, but I don’t believe that we achieved a meeting of minds, which is an essential part of the contract proceeding. Therefore, I must maintain that a contract does not exist requiring me to announce my intentions before actually performing the shot-making process."
I looked at him. I had agreed to play him for the wrong reason, that is, because he was an annoying person. I wanted to beat him because I didn’t like him. Bad idea. "I don’t suppose self esteem would come into the picture here. I mean, in a friendly match, I would think that pride would preclude a player from accepting a shot that was clearly accidental." "Preclude" was one of those words that I only used when speaking to a lawyer.
"Can you prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my most recent shot was indeed accidental?"
He had me there. Recent televised trials were proof enough that there was no such thing as "beyond a shadow of a doubt."
"Okay. Just shoot."
He lined up on the six, popping it cleanly into the fifteen for a long rail combo. "You hit my ball first, although there’s probably a loophole involved there" I said.
"I beg your pardon, but I don’t recall you identifying that ball as being yours. Is there some sort of distinctive marking on the ball which provides positive proof that it is, indeed, your property?"
I could have said something about it being a solid color, but I didn’t want to be told that "ergo, the cue ball would also be yours under such circumstances" so I just smiled and motioned for him to keep shooting.
He aimed into a cluster of seven balls and smacked the cue ball hard. The balls rebounded all over the table, but this time none fell.
"May I assume that it is now my shot?" I asked, with perhaps just a trace of venom.
"A case could be made that the motion of the balls has not yet ceased, due to molecular movement, but I will agree to let you shoot, in the interest of good faith."
"Thanks" I mumbled.
I lined up on the three. "Three into the corner, with a kiss off of the five, which just might make the other corner" I announced. I stroked the shot, and executed it flawlessly, both balls dropping.
I lined up on the one. "Excuse me, I believe that it is my shot" my opponent interjected.
"How so?" I asked.
"Well, you mentioned kissing involved in pocketing the five ball, and I failed to observe any osculation. Therefore, I must conclude that the contract was not carried out according to your specifications."
"May I suggest that you osculate my posterior?"
He didn’t reply. He lined up on the fourteen and popped it hard. It bounced out of a pocket and stayed out.
I lined up on the eight and sent it straight into the far side pocket.
"It looks like you won" I said.
"Excellent. I guess you owe me ten dollars."
I wasn’t surprised that he wanted money, even though I had specifically mentioned at the beginning that I didn’t bet. "Ten dollars, eh? I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. I owe you nothing."
"Can you prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you don’t owe me ten bucks for losing?"
I picked up a free shopper newspaper that was lying nearby. I opened it to his full page display ad. "What does this say right here?"
"No win, no fee."
"I didn’t win."
As I walked away, I noticed a fellow with a pony tail, tattoos, and arms the size of country hams put fifty cents on the table. I decided to sit down at the bar and watch this next match.
- Title: Legal Eight-Ball
- Author: Ron Enderland
- Published: 6/5/1999 2:52:30 PM
- Last Updated: 3/4/2022 3:37:32 AM
- Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)
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