Wimpy broke again, and again the nine ball fell. The crowd cheered, and a voice yelled out, "One more time, Wimpy!"
Lassiter smiled and punched the air with his right hand. "Nine more times!" he replied, smiling. The score was 10-5.
Beefy, the rack man, set up the table and Wimpy stroked the cue ball once more. It smashed into the fresh rack with just as much authority as before, and the nine ball headed obediently for the back corner pocket and fell. But this time the cue ball dropped too, and the cheer died.
It was all Champagne Eddie needed. Scowling most of the time, he played steadily and surely, winning the last three games in a row. Lassiter watched it all impassively. The crowd was polite as Kelly ran in his balls, but it was still a country crowd and Champagne Eddie, with his red bell-bottoms and satin shirt with barrel cuffs, shiny brown boots with flat toes and high heels, well, he wasn't their kind. Neither was Eddie's girl, watching him from one side with her frosted blonde hair, her bright red mini and her fancy red buttons and Nehru collar. But if Eddie noticed he didn't care, and when it was over he left with his girl to drink champagne in some more fashionable corner of northern Virginia.
Meanwhile a lady asked Wimpy for his autograph, and when she turned away she was crying. Like T-Shirt, she was country-style, and all she could think of was how one of her own had lost.
"He's such a wonderful man," she sobbed. "Such a gentleman."