The rented ball rested heavy in Hank’s hands. It was the fifth frame and the little bastard was killing him. He loved bowling when he was the kid’s age, but all the shrimp wanted to do was play a video game and slurp sodas. The kid didn’t even care that he was winning. That stung. Hank was supposed to be taking care of the kid, watching him while his mother was away, the real daddy was out of town. Fuck. He lined up the ball with the triangle in the lane, stepped forward with the ball swinging back behind him, then hurled the ball directly into the gutter. The kid didn’t gloat or laugh or anything, but posted Hank’s zero on the overhead projector for all to see.
Billy brought the blow-up doll with the blowjob mouth, Frank the stack of used porn, Mikey got me two tickets to a Bull’s game. They were letting me win. I could barely roll a ball, but this is where they chose to have my bachelor party. At least Betty wouldn’t want to kill me for going to a strip club. Mikey said I’d never live it down if she were to find out. The guys were making cat calls to every woman who walked by, really hamming it up, wanting me to see what I was giving up. Over my shoulder, on my approach to the lane, I saw a woman who glowed, her perfect smile beamed between long raven locks. The ball swung back and forward and released with force, leaving a spare. I pumped my fist and turned around, my heart tingling. She was gone. The doll’s mouth stayed open.
I was not gonna find a new place to drink. I didn’t care how mad she was with me; she didn’t own the whole alley. I liked watching the bowlers and sometimes Franco and I gambled on games without the bowler’s knowledge. She still came in, picking up new guys right in front of me, raising her eyebrows at me – like I knew what the hell that meant. She always managed to get some hot-shot guy with his own ball and custom shoes. I never knew what she wanted. I ended up with old Maggie who always drinks my beer and passes out on the sofa before we even get her shirt off.