The Cricket World Cup Final



“Will some one please call the police”, Helen turned to the crowd in the pub, by which time had all backed away in stunned silence. “Barry has finally lost it.”

Steven, an old mate of mine, was caressing the wound on the back of his head from where he ‘d received the fat end of a pool cue, staring blankly at the blood clotting up the felt of billiard table.


The rage almost paralysed him, shrinking and contorting his limbs. His hand could have burst through the pool cue. His face a beetroot red, his eyes watering. I often wondered what Steven had said to him, often wondered what was going through his mind when he said it and what he would have had as his last words, if he’d wanted to tell his mother or his girlfriend that he loved her or maybe just the words “I’m sorry.” I saw his lips quivering something, maybe that’s what he was saying.

I told Steve’s mother and Father when they asked me what happened that I saw very little. I guess they didn’t want to hear that Barry had slammed his head into the slate of the pool table, that his limp body had been flung across the room and into the juke box, that his face was put in by a smashed whiskey bottle and that he’d been immolated and had the rest of his ribs stamped and squashed again and again by a man as large as an ox and with a temper like an atomic bomb.

I felt ashamed. Jamie O Hagen tried to help but received an ashtray to the teeth. Barry hadn’t finished. He rounded the place up turning tables and picking up objects and flinging them into huddled crowd. Barry at this point had the momentum of a train. Even the manager had left at this stage. We waited out side for the police to come. I glanced Barry through the window who had by then up turned a table and was finishing his pint of Tetley’s bitter, calm as a breeze.

A few weeks later I saw the pool table in the skip. I walk past that working man’s club on the way to work nearly everyday. The police were finished with all the forensic work on it. I’m going to move town as soon as i get the money.


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