There was this guy from the old neighborhood named Eddie Fishbones. They called him that because he was so skinny he looked like a rack of fish bones.
Eddie Fishbones was the best stick (pool player) ever and nobody rattled him. He had nerves of kryptonite. Some of those big shots from down town brought their dolls with them to distract his game, but Eddie sent them back up town every time with their billfolds a little thinner.
To give you another example of his ability to concentrate, I’ll tell you about the day Kennedy got shot.
Eddie was all set to brake and someone announced to the entire pool hall the president was dead. Eddie remained expressionless. He made the brake, ran the table, and went to St. Anthony’s to pray for Mrs. Kennedy and the children.
One day, though, Fishbones met his match. We was all on the corner talking about the guys who came closest to Fishbones with the least spot and some new guy says he was from the north side and there’s a guy there named Joey Two Thumbs who can out shoot Fishbones.
Right then and there the match was set and a big crowd assembled at “Louie’s Pool Hall” for the show-down.
Fishbones waited for Joey Two Thumbs. Joey Two Thumbs walked in with some of the boys from the north side and Eddie introduces himself and then he said, “How come they call you Two Thumbs? Everybody’s got two thumbs don’t they?” Then Eddie chuckled, sort of a nervous laugh he had ever since grade school.
Joey held up his left hand and said, “Not on the same hand.” Joey displayed another thumb where his index finger should have been.
The sight of a man steadying a pool stick with two thumbs distracted Eddie and he quickly fell behind.
After a couple of games Eddie began to put on a real show. He had a run of twenty-two straight. Then some guy from the north side yelled out, “Hey Joey Five Fingers.”
Eddie looked up at Joey and said, “I thought your name was Two Thumbs.”
“They call me Five Fingers too.” Joey said.
“But don’t everybody have four?”
Joey held out his right hand and said, “But I got five on the same hand.”
Sure enough, where his thumb was supposed to be on his other hand he had an extra finger.
This made Eddie Fishbones’ knees buckle and his stomach turn. Again, he gathered his composure and started another impressive run.
Another guy from the north side walked in and yelled out, “Hey Joey Three Eyes!”
Fishbones’ eyes rolled back and he collapsed like a sack of soiled laundry.
Joey Two Thumbs, Five Fingers, or Three Eyes won because Eddie could not be revived.
I said to this guy from the north side, “How come they call him Three Eyes? I don’t want no demonstration, just tell me straight up.”
The guy said, “He’s the only Greek guy in the neighborhood and nobody can pronounce his name, but it’s got three “I’s” in it.”
I said, “This guy got any other nick names?”
“Sure,” he said and called out to Joey. “Hey Joey, take your nose off for these guys.”