Carrom. Or Finger Snooker.

A droubble by JackCrowe

It was four o'clock in the afternoon on the second day of Ramadan.

If the display on the Mercury building was to be believed it was still thirty-one degrees and there wasn't even a whisper of a breeze.

Crossing the busy ring road I saw a group of six or seven Somali men outside the Suez Canal cafe. They were hunched over a makeshift table; a board on top of a packing crate.

I stopped for a moment and watched, wondering what they were doing. It looked like some kind of game was being played.

One of the men sat back, caught my eye and smiled. I moved closer.

'What's this game called?' I asked. But the man who had smiled didn't understand me.

'Carrom,' answered another. 'Finger snooker is another name.' he added, recognising my lack of comprehension.

He leaned over and pointed to a black wooden disc. 'This has to go,' he paused to move his finger a short distance to point to a hole at the corner of the board, 'In here.'

He stared his opponent in the eye and the others looked away. Nobody spoke.

Feeling uncomfortable I thanked him and left them to their game.

Published on 16/07/13