Posted in 1 Point Perspective, fiction, Humor, Uncategorized

Chapter 3: Into the Gutter

Link: Chapter One / Link: Chapter Two / Collect all three, trade with your friends!


Illustration by the author
Illustration by the author

The Bowl-A-Drome lies on the fringes of the old meat packing district, not far from the Chiselers’ home arena.  The giant red pin getting knocked over by the big blue ball on the sign lit up years worth of broken bottles in the parking lot.  Part of the neon tubing was out, so every time it got hit, the pin changed for a moment into some sort of foreign calligraphy.

I stepped inside and the smells of waxed hardwood, stale beer and rented shoes hit my nose like a fifteen pound house ball with no spin on it.

It was league night.  The usual assortment of embroidered synthetics were well represented.  Some teams looked like slobs with matching shirts while others were just a few sequins away from being dressed to teach ballroom dancing.   I spotted Oma and Tommy down in lane six, wearing our signature yellow shirts with the green trim and distinctive “NWR Lane Lizards” logos on the backs.  BD was a no-show, as usual.  She’d been resistant to participating on a bowling team to begin with.  The realization that bowling shoes did not come in 5 inch pumps had sealed the deal.  I noticed Wing Far over in the racks trying to find a ball to suit him.

Wing was also known to BD as “Wingman”, “Wing-A-Licious”, and “Everybody Wing-Chung Tonight”.  He was the cook from the restaurant below our offices.  His small frame was a good fit for the boss lady’s bowling shirt.  It so happened that the lack of two finger tips on his ball hand resulted in a wicked hook.  His spoken English was limited, and it had taken Oma a few frustrating weeks just to get the concept of bowling across to him.  He must have kept the shirt somewhere in the restaurant because it reeked of #17 Mongolian Beef and Brocolli.

How’s the investigation going, guys?” I asked, eager to hear what they’d been able to turn up.  I hoped they wouldn’t be expecting too much from me.

Oma and Tommy looked at each other with tired eyes, then turned back to me.

Have you ever considered reading a newspaper, One-Point?” Oma asked.

I frowned my reply.  Answering a question with a question is one of those things that always tripped me up.  I was never sure if I was supposed to answer the question with yet another question, or if it was rhetorical or what.

The mayor retracted his resignation,” Tommy said.  “After some consideration, he felt it was best for the city and for him to stay in office the rest of his term.

Oma chimed in, “It had to be a dame.  Some hot tamale had him dancing around like a puppet on a string.

Yeah, now he’s back with his dumpy wife and kids, the other woman’s moved on, and we’ve got squat.  We can’t find out the name of that chippy if she’s gone, and lord knows hizzonor aint talking.

I said “I guess your fancy corner office up on Stateside is gonna stay empty for a while then, huh?

Oma chose to ignore me, and glanced over to lane seven at the King Pins, sizing them up.  Tommy chose re-tying his bowling shoes in favor of acknowledging my comment.  Over on five, the Guttersnipes were whooping it up because the fattest one of them had managed to pick up a spare.

Wing strode up and proudly showed us the house ball he’d picked for the evening, a bubble-gum pink number with the name “Joan” engraved in script below the thumb hole.

Dis my rucky bar – It named Joooan!” he cried.

Wing’s proclamation had lightened the mood considerably.  As we took on the King Pins, a distraction kept gnawing at me.  I had a bunch of seemingly random thoughts in my head from the past few days but I couldn’t shake the notion that they were all somehow connected.  I was getting up to take my turn buying a pitcher of Foam Eez Lager just as Wing let the pink orb go sailing down the lane, perilously close to the gutter.

You stay on wood Jo-oh-oh-oan!” he called, mustering all the body language he could.  Apparently a good listener, the ball not only stayed on the wood but took a violent curve inward at the last moment, scoring Wing a strike.

I turned toward the bar with Wing’s words echoing in my head.  By the time I had the pitcher filled, I’d figured it out.

– * –

The next morning we sat at our desks, trying far too hard to come up with something funny to write about to possibly succeed.  I stood up and faced Oma and Tommy, then cleared my throat.

Guys, you might not believe this, but I think I figured out who the mystery woman is.

Tommy took a pull of his coffee and winced.

The mayor’s chickadee?” he asked.

He glanced across at Oma, who was leaning back in his chair with his fingers laced behind his head, waiting for me to continue.

Yeah,” I began.  “The other day, I was at Finn’s with BD.  She’s sitting there, sipping a Dirty Mo, when her phone rings.  Only it’s not the usual ringtone.

You mean the actor saying ‘Ring’, right?” Oma said.

Exactly!  This new ringtone was music.  It was the Beatles, but I couldn’t place the song right away.  BD referred to the caller by the name ‘Teach’,  then high-tailed it into the lady’s room before I could hear anything else.  Then last night Wing kept calling his ball Joan.  I was buying a pitcher of suds and that name triggered it.  The Beatles song on her ringtone was ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’.  BD didn’t say ‘Teach’, she said ‘Teej’ as in ‘TeeJay’!  As in Mayor Thaddeus J. Maxwell

Oma leaned forward in his chair now.  “You’re trying to tell us that the mayor’s piece of side tail was…

He’s right” said BD, appearing behind Tommy in her office door.  “For what it’s worth, I thought I might have loved him once.  Turns out, when TJ Max actually decided that he wanted to leave Mrs. Country Club and the crumb-snatchers, I was the one with the cold feet.

The three of us stared at her in disbelief as she continued.

I worked my way up in this arm-pit of a town, building this blog from nothing and giving you three losers jobs.  I’d only known one way to get ahead in this world and that was by scratching and clawing.  Bedding down with Mayor Maximus sure looked like an easy alternative, but it backfired.  He fell for me, and he fell hard – you can’t blame him, any guy would.” she smiled to herself.

All of the sudden, Thaddapuss wants to throw all of that power and status down the crapper and move away with me to some dumpy little bungalow in the country” she said, her voice starting to crack.

BD turned back into her office, pushing the sunglasses up the bridge of her nose as she went.  She slammed the door and the silence was palpable.

Tommy took a sudden interest in his cuticles while Oma re-organized the three pens on his desk.  I pulled off my clip-on tie and tossed it in the trash.



I used to write a fair amount here on my blog, but then I got lazier and now I only manage to write over at The Nudge Wink Report once every month or so.  I only write there because of assigned deadlines and my unflagging allegiance to a woman I've never met but love anyway, the lovely Blogdramedy herself.  My current profile there is a 30,000 word run-on-sentence and ends up keeping people from scrolling all the way to the comments section.  As any blogger will tell you, posting without getting comments is like kissing your first cousin - and not in a hot, West Virginia sort of way.  I'm hoping this little blurb can take the place of the other profile and allow people to actually reach the comments section.

51 thoughts on “Chapter 3: Into the Gutter

  1. Reblogged this on 1pointperspective and commented:

    Here’s the third (and final?) chapter to my series over at the Nudge Wink Report. I work my fingers to the bone coming up with mediocre fiction for that site! Seriously, you should see my fingers – they’re boney as hell right now. Everything I eat goes to my expanding waistline, and bypasses my fingers.


  2. I am never sure if I’m supposed to question the comment with yet another answer, or if I’m the rhetorical ruse or what. Most likely the what.

    “You got the coffee made, 2farfetched?” she demanded, while walking briskly past him in a hurried attempt to reach the revolving door before it captured her between here and there.


    1. You see? That’s JUST what I’m talking about. The coffee is hot and the cup nearly empty. You’ve got to get down to the last 1/8 of an inch to be able to see the image on the bottom of the cup though, as I’ve brewed it very strong (again).


    1. So glad you enjoyed the coffee and/or the fiction. As a point of trivia, the Lane Lizards name and logo were developed by yours truly several years ago for a March of Dimes bowling fundraiser I participated in. Rumor has it the charity decided that we had spent too much time in the bar of the bowling alley to be connected in any way to their stellar organization. We had a damn good time though…I think.


  3. I’ve been called many things. I’ve been called a Lounge Lizard. I’ve even been called a Lot Lizard. So I have a thing for 18-wheelers. But I ain’t never been called no Lane Lizard before. Finally, I have achieved a state of lizardness known as Trifecta. And why do I always come across as such a smart ass? I’ve got a serious, tender side, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m seriously considering running for mayor. The position has perks.


    1. You’re preaching to the choir, my lizard brother. I’m sure any day now, Jim Morrison will come back from the other side and anoint you “Lizard King”.
      I apologize if the fictionalized version of Tommy T. comes across as a smart ass. There were quite a few comments (or maybe it was just a couple) which wanted to know why I had portrayed myself as such a doormat loser. These warped perceptions are tough to shake.


                1. I’ll do you one better, and score you a Coke in the old style green glass bottle, and I’m known to be a little heavy handed with the rum. Lime wedge is mandatory, as is clean glassware. First, though, I’ll need some proof that you’re old enough to drink.


                  1. You wave a fat, juicy worm in front of me, sir.
                    If you look veeeeery closely at my Gravatar photo, you will see a salt and pepper head of hair. I have lived! And the white streaks keep multiplying each, wonderful year.

                    Also, my husband prefers excellent and expensive scotch. Include that, and you have yourself a new member.


                    1. I’ve got Macallan’s 12, and also a bottle of Balvenie Special Reserve. If he would prefer something else, we can order it in, as it happens, many of the area liquor distributors are on the church’s speed dial.

                      As for your Gravatar photo, I prefer to keep them at their standard size of dwarf postage stamps, and pretend that all my commenters and followers don’t wish to come any closer.


        1. I understand it now. The shades, the international travel, the mysterious “Mr.” You’re already famous! The only question is who can possibly play you in the film adaptation of this story, other than you yourself?


          1. Exactly. Finally someone who understands. You join J.J. Abrams in grasping my unique qualities. (Only not so tightly I hope.) He cast me as the Invisible Girl for the next installment of Fantastic Four.

            I was in every scene.


  4. Reblogged this on The Peanut Butter Table and commented:
    Happy Easter, my fellow weirdos,
    Oma, Blogdramady, and 1pointperspective in three, incredible chapters of hard liquor, 5 inch pumps, and bowling… YES. READ. The Easter Bunny will not hold it against you.


  5. Your Lane Lizards logo is magnificent! You could sell shirts with it on them. None bowling shirts.
    BD was the Dame all along. I did not see that coming. I’m not sure why I didn’t see it coming. Perhaps I ducked.
    This was lots of fun, Dave. You consider a sequel.


    1. An interesting misinterpretation on your part. Oma is actually very loosely based on Omawarison, the illustrious author, humorist and wearer of beanies who is a regular contributor to The Nudge Wink Report, in addition to other group blogs and his very own Blurt Blog – none should be missed.


  6. Ha ha ha…You’re living on the edge! You can’t expose the boss like that. She’ll have you writing bathroom signs with instructions on handwashing for the rest of your career! Is Chapter 4 titled “What I meant to say was…”?


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