The Damned

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When Ash's eyes were destroyed, the remaining damned shared her one way ticket to Hell.  These are the stories of the...
Last Day
Henry Winkler
The Last Day of Dave Tanner (1934-1957)
Written by Joel Rauch
“Nice break!”

“Thanks, the table’s still open.”

“Six in the corner.  Hey, who’s that guy over there?  He’s dressed like he’s out of the fifties.”

“That’s Damned Dave.  One of the best pool players around.  You been keeping track how many games he’s lost to Red Mulligian?”

“Can’t be many, Red looks pissed.  Three in the side.”

“None.  He’s out of our league, man.  Nice shot.”

“Thanks.  What do they call him Damned Dave for?”

“Tony Dunn gave him the nickname, you remember him?  Always played with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, dropping ash all over the table?  Nice shot!”

“Eh, that was slop.  Go ahead.”

“Twelve in the corner.”

“Yeah, I know Tony.  He plays a good game, but that mouth of his gets on my nerves.  Haven’t seen him around lately.  Damn, look who just walked in!”

“Michigan Fats... on a Wednesday night, too.  What’s he doing here?”

“Look at Al, coming out from behind the bar to shake his hand.  I’ve never gotten so much as a free drink from him, but I’ll bet anything Fats wants is on the house.  Is it your shot?”

“Yeah... not much to choose from.  Let’s try the fourteen.” 

“So what about Tony?”

“He’s dead.”


“About three weeks back, he was playing at that table in the corner.  Hustling some punk kid for drinks, and talking trash.  Damn.”

“Nice try.  One in the side.”

“So Dave goes over, says he wants to play.  The kid leaves, and they set them up.  I wasn’t paying that much attention, but Tony’s strutting around, crowing, so I knew he was winning.  Good shot.”

“Two in the corner.”

“So Tony keeps talking trash, and Dave’s getting pissed.  He yells, ‘I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose to a piece of shit like you!’  Tony shut up, didn’t say anything else, just finished up the game.  Everyone’s keeping an eye on them now, waiting to see what’s going to happen, if they’re going to fight.  Did you go?”

“Not yet, two in the corner.  You’re cluttering up the table... it’s a tricky shot.”

“Nice try.”

“Thanks.  So what happened?”

“Thirteen in the side.  Tony kicked his ass, puts away his stick.  Dave offered to shake his hand, but Tony wouldn’t have it.  Said, ‘I won’t touch a damned man.’”

“Good shot.”

“Ten, off the rail, corner pocket.  Dave looked pretty shocked, and Tony said something like, ‘You lost to a piece of shit like me, so you must be damned, Dave.’  That’s where he got his nickname.  Tony walked out, and Dave shouted something about seeing him in Hell.  Nine in the side.”


“Thanks.  Two days later, Tony turned up dead.”

“So he’s a killer?”

“Eleven in the corner.  Don’t know.  I heard the police talked to him a few times, but he’s still walking around.  I wouldn’t ask him about it, though.”

“Damn, you’re getting quite the streak going.  Michigan Fats is setting up a table... and Al’s walking over to Dave.  Think they’re going to play?”

“Going to be quite the game.   I’ll put five on Dave though.  Fourteen
in the corner.”

“You’re kidding.  Michigan Fats is one of the best in the state, if not the country.  I’ll take that bet.”

“Deal.  Damn, I was a little light there.  You’re up.”

“Thanks.  Glad to have some maneuvering room on the table.  Watch out, two in the corner.  This time, for sure.”

“Go for it.  Dave’s over there, shaking hands with Michigan Fats.  What do you say we head over and watch after this game?  Nice.”

“Thanks, seven in the corner.  That’ll work, I’d like to see Michigan Fats play.  He came into that little place on 25th Street, one time when I was there.  Looked over the competition, and left after a few drinks.  Won’t take me long to finish you off here; four in the corner.”

“Nice, but you’ve got no shot at the eight now.”


“That corner?”

“Watch and learn, my good friend... Damn!  So close.”

“Sweating?  Fifteen, side.”

“Where’d Dave go?”

“He headed towards the bathrooms.  Probably needs a minute to psyche himself up.  Fourteen, corner.  Hot dog!”

“Yeah, nice shot.”

“Good game.  Eight in the corner... WHAT THE HELL!”

“That screaming... sounds like it's coming from the bathroom... hey, you took your shot.”

“How am I supposed to focus when someone is screaming like that?”

“Sorry.  My turn.”

“Yeah, fine.  Go ahead.”

“Eight in the corner... and that’s going to do it.  Good game.”

“Yeah... whatever... close one.”

“What’s going on over there?”

“Looks like Dave’s gone, must have snuck out.  Guess he was afraid to go up against Michigan Fats.” 

“Who wouldn’t be?  One more, double or nothing on that five bucks you owe me?”

“What?  I didn’t lose that bet.  They didn’t play.”

“A forfeit counts as a loss.  Sorry.”

“Man, if I ever see that Dave again...”

“He’ll probably never show his face around here, not after the way he just chickened out.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.  What time is it, about seven thirty?  Sure, rack ‘em.”