"Run for a doctor, the man will choke to death!" excitedly exclaimed a gentleman in the Adams House billiard room in Boston, the other afternoon, as his companion, with whom he had been playing, gave every indication that lie was strangling to death. His face was red to blackness, and his eyes bulged from their sockets until it seemed as if they would break from their fastenings. The score or more of people who were in the room rushed to the distressed young man and watched with pitying gaze his struggles to keep on the materialistic side of life.
"What's the matter with him?" was asked of a man with a weed on his hat, who seemed to be well acquainted with the wriggling victim.
"He's got a billiard ball in his mouth," was the feeling reply; "he bet me a cigar that lie could put the red ball in his facial pocket, and I took him up, and the result you see before you. The ivory went into his mouth all right, but when he attempted to take it out, it so completely tilled the orifice that he couldn't get a hold on it, and there it remains. He's got a had cold in his head, and, as you see, it is with the utmost difficulty he keeps his pneumatic arrangement at work at all. It looks now as if he would never put an 'English' on a ball again."
"Pull his teeth out," suggested a little man who had a mouthful of artificial dentine.
"Can't the ball be cracked in some way?" said another.
While these views were being offered, the distressed young man was giving signs of an early collapse. The scarlet tinge had left his face, and it was now as ashen as the inside of chocolate caramel. At this critical moment the keeper of the saloon rushed up to where the excited gathering stood, and hurriedly took in the situation. He immediately began pressing upon the cheeks of the doing billiardist just behind the ivory sphere, and, by gradually working it along, its shining surface began to appear in view. With all the strength he could command, he gave a vise-like squeeze with the palms of his hands against the globe of albumen, and it rolled across the floor to the opposite side of the room. A sigh of relief went up from the circle of sympathizing friends who had witnessed the sudden transition from impending death to a state of unusual healthfulness.
As soon as the young man had sufficiently recovered to work his stiffened jaw, he called for the cigar he had paid so dearly for, and emphatically declared he would not try the experiment of eating billiard balls again.
From Illustrated Police News, June 18, 1887.