And We Ran

Throwing the Bowling Ball Down the Street In To Traffic

Nick threw a bowling ball down a hill once. It wouldn't have been that big of a deal if the hill hadn't actually been a road that emptied out in to a busier street used by most of the folks in our town.

We lived on the hill. At the bottom of the hill were railroad tracks and Lincoln Avenue - one of the only streets that ran the entire way across town.

I don't know where Nick found a bowling ball. I know that Nick was a great bowler but it was explained to me that the ball was “found.” It sat in Morris's garage for weeks until we figured what to do with it. I mean, you couldn't let something like this go to waste. It was a bowling ball after all. If we didn't take advantage of it as best we could what good were we?

One day, in broad daylight, perhaps mid-afternoon I went to Morris's house. That's where I learned “Nick was going to throw the bowling ball down Walnut street.” Well shit. That was definitely interesting. We'd thought about all kinds of ideas before that. Let's throw it up in the air and see if we can crack it in half. Could we fill it with something and blow it up? Nahhhh. Too easy. Throwing it down a street in to a busy intersection… something was guaranteed to happen.

Nick held the ball underneath his chin - like Walter Sobchak in the Big Lebowski. When he let go it was more of a throw than a bowl. We watched, silently. The entire pack of us congregated by the side of the road in awe of what could happen. This could be a real catastrophe. Odds are, we were going to have to run. It rolled down the first block, picking up speed. At the end of the block it hit Raymond avenue and continue down it's path, unfettered. The sea foam coloured ball was a bullet, bearing straight down the middle of the road. As it got closer to Lincoln and approached the intersection the intensity heightened, at any second a car could be driving by. Would the ball enter the intersection at the same time?

The ball shot out, rolled across the double yellow line and in a final act of defiance it struck the train tracks and flew up in to the air. It came to rest below the street. How anticlimactic.

That sucker had to of broken. It must have shot 15 feet in to the air when it hit the tracks. Instead of running away, we ran to retrieve in. In Mike's words “That was fucking gay.”

It did indeed have a large crack but the integrity of the ball hadn't changed at all. Unless you had been looking for it you would never notice the large vein running through the center of the ball.

So we took it up the hill and Nick tried again. This time Nick put spin on it.

I've seen bowlers who don't put there fingers inside the holes on the ball. Nick was one of those bowlers. When he let go of the ball it went to the right but you could clearly see the spin of the ball. It landed, before it got to Raymond Avenue, on the curb. A combination of spin and rebounding from the curb shot the ball to the other side of the street. Oh shit, this one wasn't going straight. It's not going to go in to the intersection at all. Cars park along this street.

So it bounced. In fact, it bounced so hard it flew across Raymond Ave and back across to the other side of the street. It was nearing the cars now and just as it was about to strike the first it bounced off a rock, hit the curb again and flew to the other side of the street. There was no stopping it now, cars were alongside the road the entire way to Lincoln. When it struck the opposing curb for some reason it flew straight down the road.

When a bowling ball hits a car it's like the snapping of plastic and the dull thumb of a hammer hitting the ground. Somehow Nick's ball had missed the entire rear end of the car and somehow slammed itself in to the drive side door.

And we ran.

This is the moment where every one of us realized we should not have done that outside of our friend's house. Eventually, after an hour or so, we all found our way back to the Morris house. Nothing had happened. No police, no angry yelling of neighbours, nothing. The ball could not be seen from the house. None of us were going down to find it.

That night Nick went down to take a look. That's how we found out about the dent. It wasn't like the car was brand new but that was some impressive damage. We never did anything that directly stupid again.


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