For the most part, Danny D stays away from the snooker table, figuring rightly that it is no use playing someone like Searcy at his own game. He leaves Dayton with a few hundred dollars in prize money.
Danny D is back in Miami Beach, riding down Collins Avenue in an automobile with Jimmy Rempe, another top player, and Mike Sigel. DiLiberto is asked if he would ever allow his son to become a pool player.
"It would never come to that," he says firmly. "When the time came for him to make that decision, he would have the facts and know it was out of the question. It's not a game to shoot at like being a ballplayer. The only ones who do that are the sick, dumb ones.
"Only a handful of players are making a living at it. I can't complain. Maybe a construction worker makes the same amount of money I do, but he works a lot harder. But I'm not getting rich. A ballplayer makes $400,000, and he don't have the talent I have. I've had a lot of self-satisfaction and applause, but nothing in relation to other sports. It's just a perversion. It's like bettin' $100 on a horse and he don't run good at all. Then he runs again and you think you have to bet him again. You just keep putting good money after bad like a lot of horseplayers do. But I put so much into the game, it's hard to get out of it. You wind up doing it out of passion."
As the car passes the luxurious yachts moored in the canal off Collins Avenue, the three players become children with their noses pressed against a candy-store window, looking but never touching. The mood becomes even more melancholy. "Well, what do we care?" Danny D says airily. "What do we care about yachts and all that? We live like millionaires anyway."
"Yeah," agrees Rempe spiritlessly. "But always under the pressure. I mean, that's the way we live. Always under the pressure...."
A couple of days later the three are sitting hunched up on a jetty of rocks jutting out into Biscayne Bay. Danny D's boat had broken down the day before and had to be towed to shore by the Coast Guard and then, on the way to the repair shop, the boat trailer had a flat tire. The mid-December air is chilly. Off to one side they can make out the Palm Bay Club, where golfer Ray Floyd, the 1976 Masters champion, has a sumptuous apartment. Nearby they can see the Jockey Club, where millionaires and sports celebrities litter the tennis courts. The three are forlorn as they throw their lines out into the water and sit patiently waiting for a nibble. It seems as if they always are waiting for nibbles, and from small fish.
Danny tries to change the mood by talking about going on the college exhibition circuit. And there is the newly formed World Nine-Ball Association, of which all three players are members. There is hope for a new West Coast tournament that will offer some real prize money, and a possible television series. It wasn't Palm Bay Club stuff, but at least it could be a start. In addition, Danny D had been working a bar for over a year, setting up the patrons for a $1,000 bet that he could not throw a golf ball over a nearby canal. He cashed in on that one. And there is a spot just ripe to be taken up in Georgia. As Danny D talks of his tinsel, a man walks out of a house nearby, carrying a box of outdoor Christmas decorations that he begins to set up. He is a square, and it is his day off from work. Neither side gives the other a glance.