Chris Melling — known in billiards circles as “The Magician,” for reasons made crystal clear in the video above — recently found himself in a helluva pickle in the third leg of the World Pool Series in Queens, needing not one, not two, but three completely outlandish shots to take the rack against Finnish mortal Mika Immonen.
What happens next is the stuff of the surreal.
Faced with a profoundly difficult lay after his break, Melling summons the gods of trigonometry, pocketing the 4-ball with a double-combination shot involving the 13, the opposite rail and then the 13 again. His reward for this moment of improvisational brilliance? An equally difficult shot back down the table at the 2, this one obscured from view by half the object balls on the table. No matter, as Melling cooly bends matter, space and time, masséing the cue ball in a delicate arc across the felt before — PING! — it kisses the 2 into the corner. A trio of less herculean shots on the 5, 6 and 7 follow, leaving Melling with a nigh-impossible look at his final ball — the 1 — behind which the 8 sits, impassable.
It is here that Melling transcends, tapping into the universal unconscious to send the 1 on a four-rail crash course with its destiny. The ball almost certainly evaporates and then later rematerializes in the corner pocket, as if propelled through a wormhole by fate, imagination and the unreasonably steady right hand of a doughy Englishman in a red polo.
"I tell you what, I might kill myself if someone made that on me," the commentator purrs.
Melling would go on to take the match 9-3 before losing in the following round to Albanian 18-year-old Klenti Kaci.
One can only reason that by that time Melling had achieved nirvana, where everything was beautiful, nothing hurt and the game of pool had ceased to exist, its ultimate moment now a memory dimming in the rearview.