It started quietly enough – another Saturday night at the Airport Bowl. Lanes six to ten were booked out for the monthly tournament between the baggage handlers’ union and the management. Tasteless beer and cardboard nachos were purchased and passed around. There was some ribbing and even a bit of politics but that wasn’t abnormal.
What was abnormal was Don’s ball. “New ball?” asked Bill.
“Yeah, thought I’d give it a go. It was a gift from Kelly.”
The ball was bright pink. Really bright pink. With flowers and teddy bears and very large finger holes. The ball was clearly made for hands bigger than Don’s, but he wasn’t going to let that dissuade him. Kelly bought it for him and Steve approved it (though Steve didn’t much like the patterns on it – his taste tended more to the geometric).
“You sure that’s not your wife’s ball,” shouted George, “she’s always had bigger fingers than you!”
“She’s probably hoping his fingers will grow to fit it – you know what they say – a man with small hands has a small…” the guffaws drowned out the end but it didn’t take much imagination to guess the rest.
“That ain’t no man’s ball,” taunted Milo. Milo’s ball was black with skulls on it. He was very proud of it.
The assembled teams were a little surprised Don didn’t reply – he was normally very sensitive and quick to fly off the handle. But Don quietly awaited his turn, checking his phone from time to time.
Don awkwardly hefted his ball, carefully inserted his fingers into the holes and balancing the weight with his other hand. These were serious bowlers – the taunts ceased while Don awkwardly began his run up.
As the ball rolled down the alley, heading towards the gutter, the assembled men laughed. They laughed until the flowers shifted revealing hitherto hidden muzzles. As the ball rolled, the bullets and flames flew.
There were no survivors.
(by Kate Gowers)