THEY CALLED HIM GRUMPY!
He really wasn’t a bad guy. However, he had some traits that earned him his
nickname. He loved the ladies. And, whenever he was with one he wore a smile.
With a doll at his side he was real George. He
bought drinks for nearly everyone. He laughed and even told jokes.
Besides the ladies, he loved to gamble.
Horses, numbers, cards, darts, pool . . . name it, Grumpy played
His favorite hangout was a saloon that
was headquarters for rounders and guys who loved the action.
Pete was one of the latter. He was a
hustler’s hustler. Pool was his game.
With a cue stick in his hand, Grumpy
was the showman of the bar. He constantly tried to egg someone into a game.
Watching him showoff made it impossible for him to get any challengers. He would
run a rack or two and make the cue ball talk. He was awesome in controlling the
cue. He would chalk up his stick and make the balls disappear.
One night Pete, who had been clocking Grumpy,
spoke up when Grumpy teased for action.
He accepted Pete’s challenge. The
smile of a Cheshire cat spread across his face.
Everyone thought Pete was nuts. Not
Pete. He must have seen a chink in Grumpy’s armor and was ready
to test it. He told Grumpy that he would play a game of eight ball
with him for $50 on one condition. Grumpy would only be able to
sink his balls in the pockets on one side of the table.
The balls were racked. Grumpy
won the toss and broke. Everyone emptied from the bar and circled the pool
Right from the start, Grumpy
appeared to be limping with controlling the cue ball. Pete, who never had much
to say to anybody, was constantly in Grumpy’s ear. Every time
the Grump made a shot, Pete announced that he was crazy taking on
such a pool shark.
Grumpy ate it up.
Pete still had three balls left on the
table when Grumpy was shooting for the eight ball. He missed his
first attempt. Pete missed his shot, too. The cue ball came to rest at
mid-table. The eight ball was just off the cushion. It was set up for a
combination shot. Grumpy chalked the cue, took dead aim and
made a perfect bank shot. The ball went right into the corner pocket. It was a
great shot. The problem was it was not one of the pockets he had to sink his
Pete declared himself the winner. The
Grumpy went ballistic.
“You beat me on a technicality. You
didn’t beat me fair and square. Give me another chance!”
Pete agreed. The only condition was
that Grumpy had to sink his balls in the pockets on the opposite
side of the table.
This time Pete broke. He ran five
Grumpy began to sweat.
When it was his shot ”” he had the low
balls ”” they were clumped with the eight ball. Grumpy fired into
the pack. Two low balls went in. The eight ball bounced off a side cushion and
kept on rolling right into a pocket.
Oops, another loser for the Grumpster.
By now he was irate and beside himself.
He even stuttered when he asked to play one final game for $100.
Pete placed his cue stick in the rack
as if he was finished. Grumpy began begging. He begged and begged
Finally, Pete said he’d play on one
condition. The game would be for $100, but Grumpy would have to
sink all his balls in one pocket.
Everyone was shocked when Grumpy
A very nervous Grumpy
appeared. He repeatedly chalked the cue stick. Every time he fired he missed.
Pete had turned him to mush. He won the game and pocketed the C-note. In less
than 40 minutes he had beaten Grumpy out of $200.
Grumpy tossed the cue
stick through the air and ran out the back door of the saloon. It was years
before he returned. And, the game of pool was no longer in his repertoire.