By Drake Moreau
I’ve been trying to be good during the week, those days consecrated by work, The Man, so one Thursday night I decide to mix things up a bit and go bowling.
Just south of the West Gate of Workers Stadium sits a KTV mansion with a huge alley one floor above. My friend Braxton and I walked in with a bag of beers and steely intensity. Now, I’m not one for bragging, but compared to the average Joe, I am a hulking monster on the lanes. I’m the Rudy of the wooden course, undersized and overlooked, but I will ruin your day if you’re the Georgia Tech quarterback and time’s running out in the fourth quarter of a blowout win. I’m a goddamn sniper when it comes to picking up spares. I average 160 to 170.
We grab a lane, but it turns out that we aren’t the only foreigners who like to bowl on Thursdays. Apparently there’s a league of some sort, full of young expats. It was big group too, maybe 30 douche-ponies overall. Some of them were still in office attire, snazzy slacks with a striped vest over a sky-blue shirt and black skinny tie. I imagined some of them just got out of a Men’s Warehouse job interview. One of them in pleated pants looked like he used to own a Brooks Brothers franchise. If you can’t change before heading out to bowl, either your job is shitty or you’re trying to impress the wrong crowd (or right crowd for you, I guess). But the biggest problem? I was surrounded by drunken buffoons, and if there’re two things I loathe to my core, it’s mayonnaise on freedom fries and drunken buffoons.
We’re still lacing up our shoes when we hear another dude — probably fat — yell out, “C’mon, four-bagger!” Braxton and I just look at each other, incredulous, feeling like we had walked into AMC Lanes in Oklahoma City on a Friday night. And then it dawned on me the fun that was in store. HOLY SHIT WE GON’ OURSELVES A LAOWAI HUNT.
We’re a couple of beers and frames in when someone in the league approached us. He was wearing corduroys and a plaid sweater vest. In my mind I named him Chet Hollingsworth III. I bet he grew up playing lacrosse, owned a country club membership with Dad and Uncle Blane, and was used to hearing the word “attaboy.” Chet dropped three balls in our ball rack. Another fellow in a popped collar polo followed up with three more. Was this a joke? On top of the balls Braxton and I were using and the few that were left there when we arrived, there were now six more balls in our rack. Braxton walked up to that group and asked them if they could move their balls somewhere else. Let’s just say their response was neither polite nor eloquent.
Braxton came back and we agreed that a friendly war would be appropriate. First, we took their balls and placed them in a row right in front of their lane. This forced them to either loft the balls over this French Maginot line, bash through it, or, the most boring of the alternatives, pick up each ball and move it elsewhere. Predictably, those preppies chose the latter.
In retaliation, they shook up cans of beer and sprayed our lane, cackling and grinning before scampering back to their turf. Who does that shit? Chinese managers failed to notice, or didn’t care. We weren’t sure what effect this actually had on our game, since the lanes were already greased down, but they were making the douchebag’s declaration, to be answered in only one way. We had to take it to the next level.
We bade our time. Then, noticing one of them was in his last frame, we each grabbed a ball. The dude, I think it was Chet but not positive (we were nine or 10 beers in at this point), was lining up his shot, baby-stepping his way to the line, drawing back his arm in a crescent arc…
We hurled our balls down his lane. Yeah, that’s what happened.
He turned to us with a bewildered look, and when he stuck out his chest, some jostling ensued. It all happened quickly. We found ourselves in a half-embrace, like pro wrestlers at the beginning of a match, but that’s when we happened to glance down the lane, where our three balls were racing toward the pins. (Probably it was only two – I’m sure his went straight into the gutter.) We froze. The guy had a 6-7-10 split – pin on far left, two on far right. Our two balls were headed straight for the money shot.
Ah, perhaps no sound in the world is more satisfying than the crash of ball on pin, especially when it’s two balls on two pins, and nothing remains standing. (There’s a joke here I’m not going to make, cause I’m being good this week. The joke is about blowjobs.) The dude picked up a spare thanks to us.
In awe, we high-fived and hugged it out like real men. The victory culminated in everyone shotgunning beers, then slamming down the cans.
By the way, I bowled a 182. Did I mention I was a sniper?
Drake Moreau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. |Drake Archives|