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September 28, 2018

Bowling Night

Walking through the two sets of old dirty glass doors onto well worn carpet, the sounds of PRKKKK, PRKKKK hitting you, the smell of some kind of chemically smelling oil, dingy lights and crowds of people gathered around...balls rolling down the lane, old fashioned black ones, blue ones, red ones, green ones, yellow ones, every color of the rainbow ones, multi- colored spinning celestial spheres happily hooking into pockets like thieves with plastic or urethane or reactive resin fingers and doing their damage...PRKKKK again, as all the wood slams together in violent lovemaking or sometimes a lone ranger stands, or a wooden pin glaring back with a few of his friends...or sometimes a THUMP and a silent shameful roll down the gutter...oh, the humanity!...high fives, awful shirts, rental shoes, beer frames so gotta strike now!, laughing, head shaking, stomping...plenty of pitchers of beer to be seen, pizzas, wings, hamburgers...the smell of french fries at bowling alleys is usually pretty good...people standing in line at the bar between shots to get some shots...little lockers where some people keep their prized 12 or 14 or 16 pound possessions...maybe some of them even live in there...older men and their brand of camaraderie and humor, a guy and a girl bowling together, first date maybe?...he’s trying not to beat her too badly, or maybe her him...all around you hear laughing, yelling...employees out for a company outing ‘bonding’ where everyone looks awkward and the boss smiles and laughs too much... “More beer, more wings, anything else?” asks the boss man, but everybody shakes their head and just wants to get the hell out of there as soon as they can...some people being yelled at for not being ready to bowl...but if they’re standing in line at the bar, they get a pass...PRKKKK, new alleys, TV’s above the lanes for those who are attention videos, football or soccer games...arcades behind the lanes for the announcement...“NEED BALL RETURN ON LANE 36”...a ‘pro’ shop run by an old guy who fancies himself as a bowling guru...although he never was a pro and although no pros ever bought anything there...league bowlers trying to win trophies that will mean so much to them that if won’t be too long before they’ll be collecting dust on some shelf in the garage...or maybe pick up some money in a pot...PRKKKK, OHHHHHH, and other shouts...the P. A. says for so and so to pick up the red line for a call, but it’s barely audible...RED LINE, RED LINE...or GREEN LINE, GREEN LINE again...people with house balls and shoes...people with expensive personal balls and bags and their own shoes...‘professionals’ or at least they think they are...all the mannerisms, fist pumps...a few are in the pocket, many are still somewhere on the lane, some of us are in the gutter...but hey, we’re looking at the stars, right?...people ‘striking out’ in the 10th frame, PRKKKK, PRKKKK, PRKKKK! to win the game for their team...heroes for that night, games over, people filing out, parking lot emptying out, the alleys go silent, lights down.