Bowling as a form of stress relief
Marilee had divorced her husband because she suspected he had cheated on her. There were all the telltale signs of secret phone calls, quiet whispers, and lies told in the dark. Melvin's pattern of evasive answers and cryptic tales of his whereabouts sealed his fate. Marilee had no use for liars and cheats.
She had received the divorce papers in the mail today and was celebrating her newfound freedom with her cronies at the Tuesday night bowling league. Through twenty years of marriage, it was the one night she allowed herself time away from family. She called it her" Marilee" time which was spent bowling, drinking, and spouitching. Melvin never did figure out that the last one meant the women bitched about their spouses all night. It was a game they played, with a small trophy given each week to the woman whose husband had pulled the biggest boner. The ladies voted on the award after downing their bowling and beers. Marilee had been the proud recipient for twelve weeks running and now the papers tucked in her breast pocket served as a reminder that Melvin's antics were behind her. All her worries were left behind allowing her to shine in the bowling arena with her prowess evident.
Bowling since childhood, Marilee was good at the sport and took it seriously. She made sure never to leave home without her three ball bowling bag, silent striker shoes, and wrist brace. Her average scores ranked her in the top ten percent for the region, with her average set at two hundred and fifty. With all the recent troubles Melvin had caused her, the scores had failed to be reflective of her ability. That fact had angered Marilee even more than the cheating, as she felt it took away a small part of her soul.
"Marilee, we're on five and six. Get it together girl, we're about to start," Gladys called to her, shaking her from the revelry of hatred for Melvin she arbitrarily had found herself.
"On my way, bowl me anchor," she said as she silently cursed the man's name once again for thousandth time today.
Pulling her equipment up to the table, she donned her shoes and powdered her hands. She slid her two favorite balls onto the rack and plopped her bottom on the nearest formed plastic chair. She popped her forefinger up into the air towards the waitress,like an umbrella opening in the rain, to indicate she was buying the first round of drinks. She exhaled in a quiet form of a whistle to release the stagnant air of stress. With the tasks of preparation complete, she took to the nearest lane to commence the warm up. The rattling and tumultuous sound of a thundering strike could be heard on the lane as Marilee hoisted her ball down the alley.
"Dang, you threw that ball like you have some anger issues. Remind me not to stand in front of you. Wouldn't want to be one of those pins!" Fern teased.
"You could say that...but give me two more beers and my anger will disappear."
League play started promptly at seven, with Marilee rolling strike after strike, setting herself up for a perfect game. The girls chatted between frames about the happenings of their lives. She waited until the seventh frame before pulling the divorce papers out for the show and tell portion of the evening. There were cheers all around the table.
"He had the audacity to stop by the house to ask me not to sign the papers. He loves me and can't imagine his life without me in it, whine....whine. You should have heard him pouring it on. He actually tried to tell me that he never cheated on me. He said it was just all in my mind. Hardy, har, har...I think that encounter of the worst kind earns me the trophy for this week!" Marilee said with her voice dripping in drama.
Her audience giggled and carried on with the business of bowling. Marilee missed her final strike of the game cursing her former husband and the bowling Gods as she threw it. She had tasted the savory goodness of the perfect game in her grasp but one slight deviation in her form had caused her to choke. It was the vision of his face just as she had readied to toss the ball that caused her to lock her knees and fling the ball into the gutter. The merry band of women that had been on the edge of their seats in anticipation of her final throw, sighed a collective sigh.
"Merilee, so sorry for you but damn good game!" Fern said as tried to cheer her friend up.
The group consoled her as she walked back to the table. Marilee muttered under her breath.
Gladys tried to change the subject by asking her about the new bowling ball she had noticed.
"Man, did you bowl that great game with a new ball?"
Distracted, Marilee said, "Yes, I bought that with the settlement money. It was to treat myself."
"Is it the first time you've used it?"
Marilee laughed and said, "Yeah, I call it Melvin's genitals."
"Okay, no bitterness there! Ha-ha, just think what you'll bowl with it after you've had it awhile."
"I guess, but I sure wanted that game! Remind me to show you my other ball later. I think I'll have to use that for practice but it is awesome."
"Is it a swing-curve or pickup ball?"
"I haven't decided," she said as she walked away from Gladys.
Confused by the answer, Gladys shrugged her shoulders and started the next game. There was heavy drinking and a party atmosphere at the table. As they celebrated they were easily the loudest group in the bowling alley. They all bowled well skunking the other team. There was no perfect game to be had tonight, leaving a bitter taste in Marilee's mouth. They lingered in their drinking and party until their team was the only leftover of the league.
"Hey you were going to show me that other ball," Gladys reminded her.
"Yeah, I have to check to see if it is dry," Marilee said as she bent over her case.
"Yup, good enough!" she declared as she plopped the bowling ball into the center of the table.
Five grown women pushed themselves briskly away from the table while vomiting uncontrollably the beer that they had consumed.
Melvin's head bloodied and bruised sat idly on the table. No accusatory eyes stared at the women. Melvin's tongue was absent. His eye sockets and mouth had been perfectly drilled for Marilee's small fingers. A clear coating sheen had been sprayed on Melvin's cranium for preservation purposes. The head was the picture perfect centerpiece of gore for Marilee's private Halloween party.
As she picked the skull up and placed her fingers in the now defunct orbits, she assumed the perfect bowling form. Marilee marched her way down the lane, tossing Melvin's head towards the pins. She scored a resounding strike as the head exploded with grey goo on impact.
"I call it the crown!" she yelled over and over as her insanity overtook her.
Word Count 1208