It was a warm summer night and with nothing better to do I joined some friends for some bowling
at one of the local lanes in Dearborn
. After prizing some size 14 bowling shoes
and trading in one of my own as insurance that I would bring back the bowling shoes, I noticed a guy that, unknown to me at the time, was predestined
to leave an indelible
mark on our lives. He was about 5 foot ten with thin long dark curly hair tucked towards the back of his head and secured by a nasty black baseball cap. His face was of equal parts gritty determination
and professional detachment
. He bowled with a style that had been well practiced, he was filthy, smoked
, drank like a fiend, wore a belly shirt
in a sports jersey style with the number 73 and where the name would be... only the words "cool breeze
"Cool Breeze indeed", I thought to myself, "why, I bet I could beat him". Oh, how naïve I was in those early hours. Bowling wore on and Cool Breeze threw strike after strike while my own meager skills at best only provoked a score slightly above 100. Cool Breeze was indeed like a “cool breeze”. Cool Breeze's wife sat at the computerized score terminal, obviously in awe, occasionally standing up to throw a ball with no more passion than a prostitute at work. Cool Breeze returned and with 3 strikes summoned the computer animated turkey. "Cool Breeze, how do you do it?” I thought to myself.
Someone on my team knocked down all the pins except for a lone red one. "What's that mean?” everyone wondered as they stood around. I went up and asked the dazed and haggard looking clerk who still held my shoe hostage, what the red pin meant. "Oh, you get one of these” she said, in a husky voice and slapped a red and white cartoon decorated coupon book in my hand. "Thanks”, I said, eyeing my shoe, still tucked behind the counter, in suspicion as I walked away. Little did I know that, during my trip, Cool Breeze had already jumped in and explained the whole thing to the lucky bowler. I handed the coupon book to my friend who rejoiced in triumphant glee. "Cool Breeze is kind and helpful AND an extraordinary bowler", I thought, and looked over to his table. The Breeze family HQ was littered with empty packs of smokes and beer bottles and a few coupon books. Mrs. Breeze looked up at me with the same weird look that Mr. Breeze makes sure is on his face at all times.
Cool Breeze bowled on and on, throwing strike after strike, never rejoicing never congratulating. POP...whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...BLAM as the pins exploded, over and over again. I bowled on as well switching to the 15lb blue ball from the greasy black 15 pounder I had used previously. Then, on one of my turns, I looked to the side for some much needed inspiration, but to my chagrin Cool Breeze and his wife were gone, vanished into the night, leaving behind not even garbage to prove their existence except for a lone coupon from one of the books. The coupon that was left was for a discount on a bowling birthday party. “If I’m here on my birthday, somebody better shoot me” one of my friends muttered, as I let the lone and folded coupon drift back to the now abandoned table. Somewhere inside I wanted to remember hearing talk about a mythical bowler, like a deity who only visits earth once and a while to satisfy some itching desire, only to spirit himself back to Mount Olympus within moments of the desires fulfillment.
Later, we began to file out into the night, first walking with one shoe on, like a peg leg pirate until returning the shoes designed for bowling to get our hostages released. While walking out the front door I heard a dog bark from a truck parked next to the front. Looking inside the truck, Cool Breeze as a dog was barking at me. I imagined the dog wearing a belly shirt with the number 73 and the words cool breeze on it. I see cool breeze beginning the painful transformation into a dog, his body contorting painfully. Looking up I noticed a full moon peaking from behind the clouds and decided not to take any chances, after all if he is that good of a bowler; he would be one hell of a werewolf.
I hurried to my car and started the ignition. I thought for a second of introducing Mr. Breeze to some of the musings of the Buddha, because they both seemed to have so much in common, but then realized he probably wouldn’t want anything like that. He has all he needs. “Thanks cool breeze”, I said to myself, for we had all learned a lot about bowling that night, and also, a little something about ourselves. I drove away into the night the sounds of bowling echoing in my head and plans for a belly shirt of my very own.