Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Bowling Sub Rosa
Uncle Billy sat staring off into the distance. "I knew him my whole life."
The crash of bowling pins got our attention. Eb walked toward us, his arms in the air. "Two strikes in row ... I'm rollin' it now."
I slid over to make room for him on the bench. "Uncle Billy's missing your friend, Bruce."
Eb shook his head. "He was a damn good bowler."
Billy looked at Eb. "You're an idiot, Eb, you know that?"
"I'm just saying ..."
"Well, just shut up, okay?"
Eb looked hurt. We all sat quietly and watched Hank pick up a 5-7 split for a nice spare. Billy got up an rolled a strike and a spare and I followed with two open frames.
I sat down next Billy. "Sorry," I said.
He just nodded.
"By the way, did I tell you I saw Clara this morning?"
Billy leaned back and stretched his arms along the seat back. "She mentioned it to me ... said you thought her book was okay ... but you'd already told me that."
"Anyway, sounds like she has a good plan to get it published ... she's meeting with Irv Nesbaum."
Billy's eye's narrowed. "Yeah, she told me that, too."
"Does that bother you?"
"Why would her meeting with Nesbaum bother me?"
"I don't know ... she said you acted a little strangely when she asked if you wanted to join them."
Billy pulled his arms down and leaned toward me. "Remember that party that Alma Beeler invited me too?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Well, I went ... alone."
"So, Irv Nesbaum and his wife were there."
"Oh ... and you don't think Clara will be happy to hear about that?"
Uncle Billy looked around to see if anyone was listening. "Not if Nesbaum tells her that I didn't leave that night."
"How would he know that?"
"'Cause he saw Alma give me a ride home the next day."
"You're up Bill," said Hank.
Uncle Billy stood up. "Just keep your trap shut, okay?"