Fast Eddie and the Dinner Date

youngstown

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Jan 15, 2015
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Tee wasn't a small dwarf like Tyron Lannister, but he wasn't just short, so it must have been some form of dwarfism.m, because his dad was taller than me. Anyway, despite his short stature, he had a big game back in the day, and he took it around. He told me he once did an exhibition with Minnesota Fats and Willie Mosconi. The only problem was that because of his height, he was very memorable. It wasn't long before he couldn't get a game within reasonable driving distance.

He owned a bail bonds business in town, and he had a big office. The room was big enough to house an oversized eight foot pool table in it. The table was made up of one piece marble instead of slate. He would often bring someone there after everything else was closed, to continue a gambling session.

Tee used to run tourneys on Saturdays that were 8 ball race to two. I could never seem to win one, but I would consistently cash. In fact, I had a string of 2nd place finishes. Tee started calling me The Bridesmaid, so I called him Master Yoda, which it turned out he didn't care for at all, as he was a little sensitive about his height.

I would often get Tee to tell me stories when we were waiting on league matches. Back then, my girlfriend played as well, so she'd get to hear the edited versions. I always enjoyed his stories, and his company in general, as he was always soft spoken and kind. He was the person who showed me how to use backhand English and I believe it changed my game. He told us a several stories over the years, but unfortunately, only two stick out in my mind.

- - -

One night Tee was in a bar in Cleveland when Paul Newman showed up. The was a few years after The Hustler came out. Naturally, everyone flocked to him. Well, not everyone. Tommy was just hitting balls on a bar table in the corner and didn't acknowledge his presence at all really.

After a couple hours of buying drinks and telling stories, Paul came over to the bar table where Tee was playing. Tee said hello and asked if he wanted to play. I don't remember if Tee said they were gambling or not, but after playing a few games, Paul had to ask Tee something.

Paul came out with it as politely and casually as he could. "Do you know who I am?"

"Of course, I know who you are!" Tee replied, with a hint of a laugh.

Paul admitted how he noticed that Tee didn't come over as everyone else did. Tee responded by explaining that he decided that there were enough people hounding him and he didn't want to make it any worse. Paul laughed his famous laugh, and gave him a couple big nods, as if to say he thought that was pretty cool of him. He stuck around and played the rest of the night with Tee. Tee told me that he could actually play pretty decent, too.

- - -

Another story starts off where our favorite leading character was hustling one night in the mid-70s. Tee was at a bar when in comes a leather jacket tough looking guy with his very attractive girlfriend. The couple sat at the bar, and it wasn't before long that the guy noticed Tee playing on the pool table by himself just killing time. He went over and they started playing $10 a game. After several games, they doubled the bet. Tommy had the best of it, but this guy was a player himself (or at least thought as much) and wasn't convinced. The girlfriend sat at the bar and watched. They bumped up the bet again to $50 after an hour or so, then bumped it up again to $100 races before the bar closed.

They headed back to his office where they continued playing. Now they're playing sets for $200. The girlfriend just sat there the whole time without saying a word. Her man would get down more and more and was just destined to lose tonight.

After a several $200 sets, Tee was up approximately $1500, and after they finished the last set, the guy asked him if they could play for $50, since that's all he had left. Tee wasn't interested in that, after playing for $200 all morning. They guy offered to put up a nice watch, but Tee declined, as he already had a nice watch. There was something else though that Tee didn't have.

Tee won the final set of the night. Tee was wagering $200 and the guy was wagering his last $50 and his attractive girlfriend. She left with him without any qualms about it.

I remember at the end of the story, my girlfriend asked "So you took her to dinner, right?"
 
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