The First Strike

In Fiction on August 27, 2013 at 9:16 am

BowlingBall

The First Strike

Fourteen years old and full of swagger, his whitewashed jeans evincing a unique brand of skinny virility, Toby Fischer thumbed at the scoreboard and smiled.

“That’s a turkey, gentlemen. Bear witness to my glory.”

The Eider twins, Gary and Evan, were beside themselves. They hollered as Toby did a spin in his two-toned shoes—a god among boys among men. It was closing time at Button’s Bowling, and the best Saturday night of Toby’s young life.

But a sudden scream pierced the jubilation—thin and high and desperate—and Toby held up his hand for silence.

“I think it came from the private lanes,” Evan offered.

“Let’s go look,” Toby said.

The boys crossed the empty lobby without another word, the browning carpet muffling their steps. On a typical Saturday, Button’s was host to motley drunks, dropouts and deadbeats, but even they had cleared out by this time of night. The boys were alone. From around the corner, brutish grunts and pitiful whimpers came tangled and faint to their ears.

When the girl came into view, khaki shorts around her ankles, Toby recognized her immediately from school. Her arm looked hurt and tears were streaming down her face. The two men, tattoos coiling about their bare arms and calves, turned as the boys entered.

“Fuck off, kids,” one demanded, hastily zipping his pants. The other let the girl go, and she crouched, shivering against the wall.

“Leave her alone,” Toby warned, and the leading thug smiled wickedly.

“Get a load of this little shit,” he said with a light laugh, and he moved to grab Toby by the scruff.

Toby was too fast: He grabbed a bowling ball from the rack and brought it up with all the force he could muster, caving the man’s skull and sending him to the ground with a crunch and a spray of blood.

“Holy shit,” Evan squeaked. “That was Jimmy Covington.”

The other man stared, shaking with anger, and slowly backed out the door.


This is my story for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge; the word was Turkey. I wish I had a little more space to firm up the ending, but this’ll have to do. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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  1. What a shocking ending to what started out to be a good night! There might be something wrong with me because I was happy a guy got his skull crushed by a bowling ball…and a little sad the other one slithered away.

    • I definitely think there are supposed to be mixed feelings there 😀 — the bad guy got what was coming to him, but Toby is in a bit of trouble now too. Thanks for reading and commenting Janna!

  2. Woah, I did *not* see that coming. I love how you drove this piece from happiness to horror, and managed to make Tony even more sympathetic as a killer than as a bowler. Great job.

  3. Great writing, great hero. I love this: ‘evincing a unique brand of skinny virility.’ Nice turn of phrase. I like the open end – Jimmy Covington is somebody, and the 2nd brute was shaking with anger. Toby will need to watch his back. Well done, as always.

  4. First, I love alliteration. You moved this story smoothly from one emotion to the next. I like. A lot.

  5. I absolutely love this. You built it up so perfectly, so quickly, that I was chanting ‘please pick up a bowling ball, please pick up a bowling ball’ in my head. Excellent pay off, great characters. For some reason, I instantly saw the Stand By Me kids before I was done with the first sentence.

  6. You tricked me with the image of the petri dish. I thought we were going into zombie territory. Great work.

  7. Yikes! I like a lot about this piece. It’s gory, but not gratuitous. You carry it well. I especially love your giving us his name at the end. For some reason, it firms things up a bit. Thanks for linking up.

  8. Agree: the voyage from obnoxious teenager to avenging hero was smooth and satisfying.

  9. Very powerful writing. Didn’t see that ending as possible at the start – beautifully and deceptively set up.

  10. He took care of that Turkey.

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