Playing With Fire On A Green Baize

A young tree

Toby was like a young tree.


It is time for action! Toby came out of the toilet and all eyes focused on him as if he was a policeman coming to question some naughty youths about their rowdy behaviour. Someone shouted out ”Oi Sharkey, don’t you know you should not play against someone who looks like Harry Potter?” The room descended into much mirth and laughter. Toby was not amused. 

Toby heard this comment a thousand times before. He had a slight appearance to Harry Potter but he made many efforts to not look like him, but every now and then some clever dick would always make the comment as if they were the first person ever to have noticed the similarity.

As the ref reiterated the rules that the players were going to play to, beads of sweat started to trickle down his forehead. This game was important to Toby, he needed to win. Big Al was a animal and he sniffed coke which made him a bit of a loose cannon.

Sharkey broke and before Toby had got warmed up the frame was won by Sharkey. Next frame Toby broke. This frame was tight and neither player was getting on top. Finally Toby put Sharkey into a snooker, hoping to get two shots, but was happy to restrict his momentum. As Sharkey was lining up a way to get out of the relatively easy snooker Toby noticed that Sharkey’s bridge was all over the place. He seemed to have difficult getting his left hand in a position to play the shot. 

Not only did Sharkey finally get out of the snooker he managed to put one of Toby’s ball safe, which made it difficult for Toby to win the frame. Sharkey ended up winning the frame. However, while Sharkey may have won the frame, Toby noticed that Sharkey had difficulty with bridging when the white ball is tight on the cushion.

Toby changed tacked and fudged and screwed Sharkey, finally he broke the guy to win the next five games without reply. Since it was the best of eleven the next frame could be the one that gives Toby all his money back and some more on top. One thing Toby is not and that is a ‘bottler merchant’ ie he does not baulk at winning. He won the frame and the game easily.

Toby never really drank, primarily because he was fifthteen, but this time since he could have a drink he went for it and really enjoyed himself. The people he was with liked him and they did not take liberties with the young lad. It was obvious he was talented and it was obvious that he was not big headed or flashy. After a while the landlord gently suggested that maybe Toby went home before he drank away his winnings, Toby agreed and a cab was called.

Sitting in the cab the feeling of winning and getting things sorted for his mom, himself and having a great time felt great. He thought to himself I could get used to this. The cab driver was doing what cab drivers do moaning about the problems of getting around Toby’s estate when the police are there. Everyone moans about the estate and this cab driver was going into overdrive.

As he turned the corner to get to his street he could see a bright red glow which meant that another car was on fire. Those joy riders are a pain and now he understood what the cab driver was going on about. Wait! Thats’ my house. As the car pulled up Toby jumped out of the car and ran to his front gate. A policeman grabbed him and Toby shouted ”thats my house”. The cab driver shouted ”…he is trying to do a runner….”.

Toby looked and he could see his mother strapped to a stretcher. “Mom” he shouted and ran over to her. As he touched her face he knew she was dead. Tracey the next door neighbour shouted ”someone threw a petrol bomb through the window Toby”. Toby knew immediately knew who did it and why.

<To Be Continued>