I'm a fucking no-balls cocksucker.
Let me back up. I'd been playing an overly-friendly Jewish lawyer, a man who claimed to have heard of my boss via a hamburger documentary my boss had no involvement in, a man who had the annoying habit of announcing each of his misses with a sharp "nope", a man who was a life-long New Yorker bitching about how Amsterdam's best days were behind it, a man who was so cordial and friendly I had no business being agitated by him so recognizing this made me even more agitated(what kind of horrible person am I?), a man who was playing even with me, a man in a tiebreaker in me, a man lining up the match-winning nine ball after I had missed a long shot into the corner pocket.
A shot I should have made, but missed - badly. I'm a fucking no-balls cocksucker, I thought, rounding the table to slouch in my chair while the lawyer unwrapped the gift I'd left him. And he did, but as the final ball dropped, I looked past him, and saw a face.
A beautiful, smiling face, half-ducking because she thought she might distract me if I saw her. Alex stood next to her, laughing. I'd lost 6-7 in a tiebreaker. I'd been up 3-0 in nine-ball, then my opponent got a nine on the break, fluked a nine ball in the corner, and barely avoided scratching on a combo attempt the next game to even the race at 3-3. I'd played like shit half the time. Walking around the table after missing a match-winning shot, a crucial shot, a shot that I could grab, pin and use to label myself as "clutch"...I was shaking my head, cursing myself. No-balls...no-balls cocksucker. Then I saw her face.
Seeing her face, I was happy. Really happy. Drinking with her at the bar later, I felt like a winner. A real winner.
My team had a rough night. Besides my loss, Alex had lost 3-5, playing a three. Giving up three balls is tough, especially to someone who shoots glacially slow. Jen had lost 4-7, Princeton(subbing for a vacationing Mike) lost by the same score. We dropped from third to fifth.
We drank to forget our troubles. Well, Alex, Andi and I drank. Jen left, and Princeton was playing with his fiance in the back of Amsterdam. No shots this time, only beer: Heineken for Alex, Guinness for Andi, and Budweiser for me. I'm not sure why I drink Bud; I give all sorts of reasons: makes me feel American, it's cheap, even the aesthetic appeal of the goddamn label. I love that Andi drinks Guinness. No strong opinions on Alex's choice of Heineken.
Amsterdam was dead when I had arrived just prior to our nine o'clock match time, but now, close to eleven, it was jammed - jammed with annoying, loud people.
Someone was actually shouting beer.
Jesus Christ. I couldn't really hear Andi or Alex. We left after two drinks. I walked with Andi to a cab, kissed her and said goodbye. I couldn't wait to see her the next night. I also had to pee.
It was after midnight. Could I hold it for the 45 plus minutes it would take to get back to my apartment?
I started walking back towards Amsterdam. The bartender looked at me, eyebrows raised and apart, as I hurriedly hit the head. I came back, saw that the shouting dipshits had left, and made my usual unwise Wednesday decision: Hell, I may as well stay for one more beer.
Sophia, the bartender, gave me the first beer for free. That's why it was the first, and not the only. I had two more. With Amsterdam cleared out, Sophia had time to talk. I gushed about Andi, she told me about a great date she'd had recently, we traded relationship war-stories, and compared frequency of trips home(we are both from Maryland, funnily enough) .
It was almost two-thirty when I left. I still couldn't wait to see Andi the next day.