Bowling – Tyler Meese

Gurgie and Gorgie broke into the bowling zone. They only wanted to bowl alone. As if it were a crime.

The air was disinfectant strong, the balls shined. This was a special night. Gurgie worked double gas station gigs and Gorgie didn’t really like Gurgie, so she did her best to stay away. Every couple months, Gurgie dragged Gorgie into some mess. Tonight was breaking and entering. Gorgie thought, I got on my good ass jeans for this?

Behind the lanes Gurgie found a switch for Gorgie to flick and the pinsetter spit pins. They shared a purple 10-pounder and cigarettes, back and forth. I stole ‘em from Marathon, Gurgie said, but go to Shell if you wanna buy some, they’re cheaper. Their names appeared on the high-up TV in all caps. Animations played for spares and splits: heavy machinery bulldozed helpless pins, a bodyless foot kicked all but the 7 and the 10, ¡OLÈ! then a bullfighter’s cape led a bovine to the lane’s end.

In the fourth frame Gurgie opened up about the time she watched her uncle drown in state milk. This was before they ditched the death penalty. He was a kidnapper. She was a victim. He was a murderer. Victims got to watch executions. Her uncle sat strapped to a metal chair, his prison smock loose and his shoes laceless. One guard checked her uncle’s restraints and turned on the milk spigot. The guard’s feet kicked white milk as he exited the tank and closed the door. The tank filled with milk. It got to his chin. He dipped his head. The milk erased him. Gurgie expected his hands to show up on the glass, his face to press up close, one last sick crime. No hands, no face. She left before they drained the tank.

What did they do with all that spent milk? Did the guards make the prisoners drink it?

Gorgie threw the ball into the gutter and reached for the shared ciggie. Gurgie wouldn’t give it.

Where Gorgie thrust, Gurgie averted.

             The fuck, Gurgie, Gorgie said.

It went on until the cigarette burned out and a cop came into the bowling alley and cuffed them, Gorgie to Gurgie.




Tyler Meese was born and raised in the Midwest, where he’ll return to die. For now he lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. 


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