Freddy the Flash’s step was light and quick as he made his way down the boulevard. His hat cocked at a jaunty angle, his case swinging in time with his step. He cut quite a figure and turned a fair few heads.
Freddy had just come from a dive bar he had wandered into looking for action. The sucker he had beaten was short on the bet and to avoid a hiding he had told Freddy about a place where he could make the ultimate score if he was good enough. The sucker had eyed Freddy up well and could tell he was after something new and exciting.
He was short on details, but he swore it was the place to go if Freddy wanted some new kind of action. Freddy had taken what money the chump had and told him if he were lying he would regret it. As he had departed he heard the chump say over his shoulder to take the key. Freddy had no idea what that meant but now he was on the way to find out.
He arrived at the address in question but it looked like a rundown abandoned building. The windows were shuttered and the place was dark. Freddy turned and spit in the gutter and cursed but when he turned back he saw something new. There before his eyes was a sign that said 9 Ball Redemption.
Unable to understand why he hadn’t noticed it before Eddie wondered what the sign meant. He shrugged and knocked on the door. He had no time for mysteries.
The door swung open as if of it’s own accord and Freddy entered a semi-dark poolroom with only one table. A conical lampshade cast a bring light on the impeccable felt. The table was timeless. Mahogany, regulation size table with woven ball holders on the pockets. The balls were racked for 9 Ball.
He let his eyes wander the room until they lit on a thin, ragged man sitting on a stool in the corner. He held an ordinary cue in one hand, the other rested on his knee. His face was blank but his eyes were fixed on Freddy, his gaze unwavering. He stood and spoke.
“Welcome. I’ve been waiting for you.”
“For me? What made you think I’d be here?”
The man smiled and looked Freddy up and down.
“You’re a hustler. You’ve come to play.”
Freddy smiled. This could be interesting. Maybe the chump had been on the level.
“So you’re the guy I’m supposed to play. The ultimate score, is that it?”
“That depends Freddy.”
“Hey, how do you know my name?”
His opponent smiled.
“It’s a small world. Shall we play?”
He waved his hand at the table.
“What are the stakes?”
The man reached under the table and brought out a briefcase and a small velvet box. He opened them both. The briefcase was full of cash. The box held an ornate skeleton key, which appeared to be made of solid gold.
“The winner chooses which he wants. The loser gets the other.”
“Is this some sort of joke?”
“Not at all my friend. Shall we play?”
Freddy put his case on the table and took out his cue and screwed the two pieces together.
Part 2 Tomorrow