Sunday, 23 August 2009


The Alien slouched against the bar, limp cigarette dangling from its front row of teeth. A half drunk rum and cola was its silent partner.

"Come on, come on!" it rasped, "Make the shot already!"

The Predator cocked his head sideways, distracted and aggravated. This was a tense game - their closest yet - and the last thing he needed was this insufferable bounder putting him off with his backchat.

"My dear boy, do be quiet," he mumbled.

The Predator lined up his shot and contemplated. Tricky, yes. Impossible? No. He clicked on his targeting reticule and considered the far cushion; The correct angle would mean sinking the black and winning the frame. You don't let a snooker like this phase you after crossing half a galaxy in search of a worthy opponent. From the corner of his eye he could see his Alien foe lean forward slightly on his bar stool, small bizarre extra head poking out of his mouth in anticipation. What an odd fellow.

He drew back the cue to make the shot, attempting an air of calm to hide the knot of fear in his stomach. At this moment his exoskeleton - his constant companion through battle after battle - felt all too tight. He exhaled to steady himself. Suddenly, a blur of movement. Whipping round he saw the Alien sailing silently through the air, talons first followed by far too many teeth. There was no time to fire or even arm his shoulder cannon - the fiend was upon him! He wheeled the cue around and it connected solidly with his foe's temple. But this did little to slow it and The Predator, caught unawares, struggled to protect his face from the Alien's gaping, gnashing maw.

What kind of conduct was this for a gentleman?

Locked in combat, it was impossible to tell them apart - teeth, spikes and glistening carapaces became one in an orgy of snarling, whirling violence. Suddenly the Predator saw his opening - the cad's chest was exposed! In a moment he had plunged his snooker cue through the Alien's armoured hide and out of its back. A florid bouquet of wood, snooker chalk and blood blossomed across the table. The Alien crumpled to the floor.

Surely that was too easy?

The Predator picked up his battered Fedora and cocked it towards the bar. "Sorry about the mess old chap," he said with a wink. Behind him, acid blood began to mingle with the cigarette ash and dust and eat through the faded polish. just another scar in this lonely pool hall's undistinguished life.

From behind the bar, the bartender quietly cleaned an old pint glass, aghast.

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