Rack ’em Up

They’d come from all over thinkin’ they was pretty hot
Put their money on the table, wanna play the best we got
Nine in the corner, five in the side
He’d take a hundred dollar bill and just let it ride
I’d tell ’em, “Listen here Sonny, there ain’t no disaster
There ain’t no shame in being beaten by a master”

“Rack em up” Jonny Lang

I used to shoot a little pool. I never played for high stakes. Loser buys the drinks or shit like that. I’m no shark but I’m better than your average bloke. Some nights I could be a regular Minnesota Slim but I’m not consistent. There is a lot of fun to be had being well lubricated, strolling around the table with some swagger, talking trash, watching name after name being crossed off the list and more names being added as everyone wanted the chance to sit you down and shut you up.

My cousin and I and our friend Dan used to crew on the weekends. We would pregame at a place called Shooter’s. (Seriously) It was the best my shitcan little town had to offer. When I was in high school it was a good place to hang out. Back then it was a 10 lane bowling alley with a room off to the side with a coin op pool table and arcade games. You know what I’m talking about? The big stand up video games. It was a good place to go as a kid if you had 10 bucks to waste and wanted to find out what was going on.

When I grew up, so did they. They kept the bowling alley but got rid of the arcade games. They got a full liquor license, cleared out a space for bands to play and kept a room of the side for a couple pool tables. It’s funny. I didn’t start going back in there until I was about 30. It was my cousin. He didn’t grow up around here but moved to town later. He made friends with all the jocks I hated from high school. That was his crowd. He is very gregarious. They all still hung out there. But then they were out of shape, married with a couple of kids. Wearing their softball team jerseys. Getting away from their wives for a few hours.

I didn’t really hate them all. I just didn’t fit in. Of course the Heely twins hung out there. I got along with them pretty well but hated them for a different reason. They were like super twins. Built like pro athletes, best players on every sports team, good looking, funny, charming, I mean, what the fuck? So of course they were the best pool players in the place. They still looked exactly the same too. You couldn’t tell which one of them was kicking your ass. I guess it didn’t matter. Usually if I was having a good night and one of them put their name on the list, I knew I would be sitting down soon. I could beat them if I was playing lights out. My cousin was a natural too. He could play at their level.

I forgot where I was going with this. I just heard that song on my playlist when I got up this morning and it made me feel good. I haven’t been there in 20 years. I can imagine if I go back they would all still be there doing the same thing. Maybe their kids will be in there with them. I don’t know. Now I want to go check it out. Ha. I bet it would be like I never left. Walk in, head straight to the juke box and play, Alice in Chains, “Them Bones” to let everyone know I was in the house.

“I believe them bones are me
Some say we’re born into the grave
I feel so alone
Gonna end up a big ol’ pile of them bones”

Put my name at the bottom of the list. They probably have an app for that now. I could probably have my favorite drink waiting on the bar for me. Maybe not. I would have to explain to the bartender how to make a “Cousin B’s Lemonade.” That’s a pint glass with ice, fill it with Stoli Orange, take the bottle of sour mix and just wave it over the top. Jesus! No wonder I got this way.

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