The Candlepin Lanes / 10 June 2002

Will and yrs truly at the candlepin lanes sharing draws from his mail-order KGB flask. I can’t identify the liquor but by the fourth or fifth swig I’m tasting the breath of every man who’s ever drunk it, a million pulpy hands, a million ancient and churning bowels brewing alcoholic shit, a million passing thoughts: You’ve gotta let it work its magic, or Outside that cracked window is the besssssst world you could possibly imagine.

Roundly trounced by my unworthy opponent but it’s OK because I was just experimenting — I was competing against myself, obviously. Trying untested starboard spins, lateral combos, the elusive Kepler ellipse, the Balmer transition, I mean stuff that Will hadn’t even heard of, Will with his throw-it-straight-down-the-lane method — who wants to be the kind of man that throws a ball right down the middle of the lane, straight as an arrow, every single time like some sort of machine?

I do finally impress him with my modified bocce throw, giving the ball a severe backspin in an attempt to have it hit the pins and then roll all the way back up the lane to me [emphasis mine]. See because there’s no law in the books saying if a ball rolls back to you that you can’t just throw it again, thereby giving you a fourth roll, or really an infinite amount assuming you can do the bocce time and again.

Of course I never quite pull it off, and as usual my envelope-pushing results in a series of pisspoor scores, but I think at the end of the evening, after having dragging Will’s soused body to the zeppelin station, leaving him in the arms of a razor-burned stevedore and wandering the streets for two hours, unable to remember where I live, I think my sleep was more sound, more profound.

Joshua Green Allen

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