It’s usually not until the 8th frame that people start to notice. Six in a row is worth a free beer and happens often enough that nobody really says anything. Unless, of course, it’s their first free beer. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s their first or their 21st, I always smile really big and say something nice when they get their free sixer beer. Which is most unusual because usually I glare at them and make snarky comments. I think that’s why the bowlers like me so much. I do not take their shit and in return they do not take mine.
During the second game Carol Sue drank her son Curt’s free beer. He had spared in the first and then got something like seven in a row after that. He didn’t want the beer, so he gave it to his mom. Curt’s not like other bowlers. First of all, he’s in the middle of getting a Master’s Degree in education. Second of all, I think while he’s in school he’s a stay-at-home dad. His wife, who is equally cool, does something that makes way more money than he does.
But, back to his mom. I love Carol Sue. She’s a typical small-town Minnesota old lady. I’m not sure exactly how old Carol Sue is, but she’s old enough to go the ‘beauty parlor’ once a week to get her hair done, and then just sleep on it for a week. When Carol Sue talks to you she has a habit of tapping her finger against the table or bar. Only the way she taps it, it’s like her hand is walking towards you on that finger, inching closer to slap you for being so stupid.
Also, Carol Sue is kind of a bitch. In the way that old ladies who are set in their way can be. She has a smug, disproving frown that she wields like a judge with a gavel. She does not approve of much, but she likes me, and therefore I adore her for all her Minnesota old-ladiness.
Carol Sue and I were BFFs during that third game Friday night. Curt had bowled 8 strikes in a row, and you could feel the air change. Kent walked over to me and told me to lock the door. He didn’t want anything to jeopardize Curt’s perfect game — especially his wife. See, about 3 years ago Blake had a perfect game going, then in the 10th frame his girlfriend walked in (Blake didn’t even realize it) and he blew the frame. The guys totally blame her. Allegedly, a man cannot properly bowl when his GF and/or Wife and/or SO is in the place.
I did not lock the door, because I didn’t want to break any fire codes.
Carol Sue got up from the booth on alleys 5 and 6, and walked the four feet to the bar where i was perched. “I don’t even know if I should watch.”
“I can’t,” I said. “It makes me too nervous.”
She walked back to the booth, sat down, and turned to me. “I don’t even know if I can watch.”
(she likes to repeat herself).
Premium Wood came down from Alley 1, with his hair in some sort of fauxhawk he had just fashioned using pizza grease and Non-Slip Grip Cream.
Carol Sue walked back up to the bar. “I told that goofy guy to go back to Alley 1 where he belongs.”
I grinned and nodded.
She sat back down. “I told that knucklehead to go back to Alley 1 where he belongs.”
Kent came up to get a beer, and we heard the door open and shut. It was Curt’s buddy and sometime bowler-friend whose name I do not know. Kent glared at me. “I told you to lock the door.”
“It’s not his wife!”
In the meantime, everyone started to get a bit quiet. People were standing on their benches to get a better look at Alley 6, where Curt was standing on the approach. I sat down. Then I stood back up. I rubbed my arms, trying to get rid of the goosebumps.
Curt nailed the first ball of the 10th. The place erupted in applause, tears sprang to my eyes. Two more, just two more.
All bowling stopped. My goosebumps got goosebumps. I shivered and if I’d of been a prayer, I’d have prayed.
Curt started his approach, it was like slow motion. The ball went high behind his back, his foot slid forward, he released the ball, and 37 people held their breath all at the same time.
The ball connected and pins flew. All of them, except the 1 pin. A nine-count. We all sighed at once, and again the place erupted into applause. Nice Game Curt! They shouted. My goosebumps started to subside, and I blinked back tears.
“I blame you,” Kent said. “You should have locked the damn door. That doofus came in and screwed up the mojo.”