April 8, 2015

A Memory: One Dark One

Operating a billiard hall is not always fun. If you are not as level-headed as my father was, you won't last in the business for more than 30 years. For one, the billiard hall is not the quietest place in the world. But if you're practically living in it you'll get used to it. So used that you'll sleep amidst the yelling and the bantering and the cursing and the punching when it comes to that. Though 'brawl' is technically part of the billiard hall, I remember very few such incidents. That's why I will never forget one particular dark night.


It was Aug. 24, 1990. We just celebrated my grandmother's last birthday in the Philippines. We just finished eating and were cleaning up when we heard noises from the billiard hall. We came closer to find out what's going on.
A drunk man was confronting one of our players. It seems like they had a former misunderstanding. We knew both of them. They were both locals of our town. The 'drunk' was known to be a nuisance while the 'player' was the former Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman and was known for his scholastic standing.
As a crowd started to gather, my father got between the two men and very diplomatically explained that it was not the time nor place to bring out whatever dispute they had as the 'drunk' was obviously intoxicated beyond reason. So, he asked him to leave and go home and added that he may come back when he is sober that they can talk things over. The 'drunk' silently left and everything got back to normal, or so we thought.
The 'player' stayed for another game. After that, he humbly apologized to my father, thanked him and left together with his friends. My father, exhausted after the incident, packed up and closed for the night then all of us went to bed.
After barely an hour, we heard distant yelling and smashing and cracking and moaning followed by an eerily haunting silence. The succeeding events are a blur to me. All I know is that I never saw the 'drunk' or the 'player' ever again. The 'drunk' was buried after a week and the 'player' was rumored to flee to nobody-knows-where..



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