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Elderly billiards — a short story one must read in a way like watching a Pixar short film.

As published in the Dutch newspaper De Pers.

It’s a Wednesday morning as I let my eyes wander through the restaurant of the retirement home. People sit down and drink slowly from their coffee and tea. In the corner, as usual on Wednesday morning, are Jan and Kees playing billiards. I can’t remember a time looking into the restaurant on a Wednesday morning without seeing Jan and Kees playing billiards. It’s the same as always. Then it happens!

It’s Jan his turn. He points his cue, the stick goes backward. At full speed, the cue flies forward against the white ball. Too hard! Not calculated on this outburst of violence the white ball jumps forward and off the table. With a loud noise it hits Kees his walker. The tip of the cue finds its way into the blue felt. This event ends the conversations in the restaurant. Everyone looks at Jan, Kees and the walker in which a big dent can be seen. Nobody looks at the broken billiards table. The tension in the room is so thick one could almost cut it with a knife. Kees his walker is his most precious belonging.

With clenched fists Kees walks towards Jan. This is too much for everyone. The restaurant is moving. People rise, as rapidly as possible, from their chairs. Jan lives in the east-side of the retirement home. Kees comes from the west-side of the building. If you touch Jan, you touch the whole east-side. If you touch Kees, you touch the whole west-side. The restaurant divides into two groups. The east-siders against the west-siders. From every corner of the restaurant more east- and west-siders show up. The waiters rapidly clean the tables, putting the cups and saucers into safety. They know it. This will be a field battle.

Ranks are formed. The east-side led by Jan. The west-side led by Kees. The frontline is formed by people with walkers. Right behind them is a line of riders on wheelchair. Behind this there is a line of stick throwers. Kees, from the west-side, did his military service in Indonesia. I think he will have a better tactic. Something with a surprise encounter by guerrilla fighters maybe.

Then, seconds before Jan, with a cue raised above his head, wants to give his sign for the first attack, a woman sitting in the restaurant waves at me. I wake up from my daydream and wave back. In the restaurant, everyone is sitting down and drinking slowly from their coffee and tea. In the corner are Jan and Kees playing billiards. It’s Jan his turn. He points his cue..

A short story by Martijn Droger.

Thank you for being my audience.