Side Pocket

This is where THEY play beer pong and fuck children. This is where we hustle.

Sleazeballs, we have to rise above. Our archetype is shifting. The collective subconscious’s recognition of us is changing. Gone are the ill-fitting suits, the lemons on the used lot, the leftover-dotted neckbeards, the dive bars, the bottles of Jameson in brown paper bags, the stale stink of Teen Spirit on a fifty-year-old man barely covering the stench of an old brewery. Much in the same way that pickpocketing is being replaced by mugging, the sleazeball is being replaced by a new breed of crueler, more aggressive, more bullying breed of super-sleazes. This cannot stand.

There are differences and similarities between us and them. We both have shortcuts to looking richer than we are. Them, orange tans that imply expensive vacations to Ayia Napa and Sicily; us, gold-painted fake Rolexes. We both have ways of hiding our eyes. Them, wraparound sunglasses; us, tinted gold-plated double-barred square pedophile spectacles. We both have clothes that make it clear that we are not good at that which we do. Them, Jello Shooter-stained University activewear; us, mustard on rye-stained tweed jackets too small in the trunk and too short in the arms.

Similarly, we act differently but to the same ends. In romance, we lie through our teeth about our jobs and our incomes to get laid. They roofie. We tell our grandparents that we need money towards a new couch when we’re really planning on smoking dope with a bunch of over-the-hill floozies from a local watering hole. They beat the shit out of old ladies and take their money to buy roofies. We flog used cars to idiots to upkeep our degenerate lifestyle. They browbeat their rich parents into funding their social terrorism into their thirties. We watch with one eye closed from our barstools (because both eyes won’t focus properly after eight Molson Exes taken from a contaminated tap) as the mothers of those douchebags dance around to Bon Jovi on the beer-soaked empty space they call a dancefloor. They have some dance they call daggering.

We have pool, though.

Pool is the place where we meet each other, where we lie, where we lech, where we indulge. Filthy felt tables with rings where we left our Tom Collinses when Reagan was in charge. I never understood why they called us sharks; if anything, we should be called pool raccoons. They’re sharks. They’re constant predators, too ADD to stop moving and too vile to stop snarling; we’re sneaks, never too proud to live an entire lifetime eating other people’s garbage and only come out at night.

Regardless, at a pool table, a raccoon can crush a shark. Some frat-pack fuckface whose Phi Kappa Dickhole “house” has an expensive mahogany billiards table and uses it to play beer pong and fuck children decides he’s going to “slum it” between “paycheques” from his parents and stumbles into the wrong bar with a couple hundred in his pocket and a dozen “Nattie Lights” in his gizzard. You can spot ’em a mile away. Ask him to play pool with you. He probably calls you a weird old fag or something, but you maybe “teach” his seventeen-year-old companion how to “play pool” by gentling resting your turgid cock on her asscheek and helping her hold a cue like a human being. Then you convince him he can win some money. And you let him. And you get visibly angry, but in an impotent, pathetic, old way. You lose a bit more. You bet him an exorbitant amount; say, everything you gave him plus everything he has. You offer some collateral, as you don’t have any money left, to make it look good; some dope, a credit card, the keys to your car. Then you clean him out. There’s a reason it seems cliche now: it’s poetry in motion. Of course everyone knows and shows this image. It’s perfection.

But these are the kinds of sleazeballs who will beat your winning ass to death outside the bar after close to get “their” money back, like the way they got it was somehow less ill-earned than the way you did. They probably won’t even get in trouble for manslaughter, either. A raccoon can never really win against a shark.

This is how Robin Hood would probably feel if he were alive today, surrounded by brutal Somalian pirates and suicide bombers and Bernie Madoffs. There was once honor among thieves.

There was once honor among sleaze, too.

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