Good afternoon, Arrowheads! As some of you may know from following Authoring Arrowheads, my boyfriend is a league bowler. During our two years of dating, I’ve watched at least 100 of his league games. Though my boyfriend shot his before we started dating, my favorite thing to witness during league is watching someone bowl a perfect game: a 300. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing two of Josh’s best friends bowl their first 300s, and it is an exhilarating thing to watch! This flash fiction story is dedicated to the rare and epic occurence of bowling one’s first perfect game.
“Oliver,” a crusty voice behind the lanes remarked, punctuated by shoving a chili cheese fry in his mouth, “is never going to make that shot. He’s gonna choke.”
Oliver’s teammates couldn’t hear the heckler as their eyes remained glued to their second spot bowler/best friend standing at the ball return, preparing for his final shot of the game. The preceding eleven frames had been marked off with neat red Xs, symbolizing all strikes. One more strike, and Oliver would earn his first sanctioned 300, otherwise known as a perfect game.
His four remaining teammates watched his every move in tunnel vision, as did Oliver’s girlfriend, Hadley, though she couldn’t ignore the hateful commentary of Old Man Oscar Monroe, the oldest and meanest man on the league. Old Man Oscar had made jabs at Oliver’s team—Roll With It—ever since the young boys established their team in their late teens. Now at 24, Oliver was due for his spotlight moment, and Hadley wasn’t about to let anyone take it away. In silent defiance, she turned around in her seat at the lane’s counter, raising an eyebrow and producing a glare so vile she hoped it would cause Oscar to momentarily choke on his fries.
As Oliver stepped onto the approach readying for his throw, Adam eased his way to the front desk, ready to report his friend’s 300 to the manager. The alley became dead silent as Oliver began to throw his ball down the lane, prompting Old Man Oscar to open his mouth again. Distracted by watching Oliver’s deliverance, Adam backed into Old Man Oscar, stepping on his foot. The old geezer swore under his breath as the ball hit the pocket, sending all ten pins splattering against the backboard.
Releasing a nervous breath, Oliver pivoted and floated back off the approach, immediately enveloped in a hug and kiss from Hadley. His teammates, as well as many other league members, clapped and cheered for his accomplishment.
As overwhelmed as a teenage Marvel fangirl meeting Tom Holland, Adam sprinted to the front desk, grabbing the microphone. “Listen up Strike Easy Lanes, my boy Oliver James just scored Roll With It’s first 300! Four more to go, baby!”
Old Man Oscar scowled at the boys, flexing his sore toes from within his loafers. In seventy-five years’ time, he’d never scored his own 300. “Dang Millennials!” he mumbled, hobbling off into the pro shop to sulk.
After everyone’s scores were written down and the next game began, Oliver slumped into the seat beside Hadley.
“You okay?” she asked, nudging his arm.
“No, I’m exhausted,” he replied, though his eyes were wide with adrenaline. “It takes a lot out of you!”
“Well keep it together, man!” his teammate Connor teased. “That was only the first game. We’ve still got two games to go. Go finish that set! 800 total minimum!”
Oliver’s eyes rolled back in his head. A deep breath, and he shuffled back up to the ball return.
© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.
Bowling isn’t as boring/nerdy as society makes it out to be, y’all. I hope this story encourages people to bowl more often! ❤