Jack Balas, 2012; BANK SHOT (# 753); oil and enamel on canvas; 28" x 36"

Larry and I lived above the pool hall, we told people -- rather than say the bait shop, same block, same view looking down on 4 lanes of southbound U.S. 51 in downtown Bloomington (Illinois, not Indiana) (coulda been Des Moines) that fucking hot July before senior year mowing grass all day in our gym shorts, dive into some backyard pool, come up glistening and walk home dripping to work on our bank shot

that trick shot, slam your balls against a wall so that it spins off in another direction and drops, kerplop, into the pocket you've called.

But in a lot of ways that whole summer was a bank shot -- cruising into the hot dusk after dinner to wander, to slap mosquitoes and soak in the neon -- because even though we didn't know where we were headed any night, we could see the game now oh so much better, like looking down at all that traffic-- the swim of noise in the wake of flashing lights. We were just getting used to the idea of being behind the wheel then, and that was the biggest fish -- to be behind the wheel and ready to floor it, knowing there were oh so many pockets out there glistening around any number of corners, lures we couldn't even think to call before we would start to reel them in.