Surprised, JLB looked about him. No-one else appeared to have noticed. Not his opponent crouched over the table, nor the players at any of the other tables. JLB however became acutely aware of the threaded changes in the rococo tracery being misaligned with, and yet absorbed into, the click and cushion thud, drop and undertable roll of pool balls, the murmured exchange between players. And on the table directly before him the non-absolutes, temporary positions of the different coloured balls on the green baize, placement and force of a shot, spin of the white ball, contact with a colour, cannon off another, bounce and direction from the cushion, actual as opposed to intended outcome of the shot; Tchaikovsky dead before JLB was born, what JLB knew of the work of Edison and Marconi, position of all the again stationary balls, cello weaving between the new, fresh action required.
“Where’re you off?” his opponent asked as JLB slotted his cue back into the rack.
“’Later,” he quietly said.