Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Ringer

   The crash of pins was louder than usual and Eb, Hank and I turned to see the source. Two alleys over we saw three of the guys on D'Angelo Concrete high-fiving each other. The forth, a tall, thin man with slicked back dark hair, stood in the alley.
   "Who's that?" I asked.
   "Mike Burczyk," said Hank.
   "He's the new guy with D'Angelo's, eh?"
   "Yep," said Hank, "a ringer that Zac brought in."
   Uncle Billy stopped his approach and turned toward us. "Do you mind? I'm trying to pick up this spare."
   "Sorry, Bill," said Hank.
   Billy made his typically abbreviated delivery and held the finish as the ball rolled down the alley. We all watched it curve ever so slightly toward the four pin, then miss it by a fraction of an inch.
   Billy turned and walked slowly toward us. "I might of made that if you ladies would shut-up for a few seconds."
   Another loud crash came from the D'Angelo alley. The man with the slicked back hair appeared to be admiring the particularly violent strike he'd just thrown.
   Billy stopped and turned to look. "Who the hell is that?"
   "That's what Hank was just telling us," said Eb.
   Billy walked over to the bench and sat next to Hank. "Well?"
   "His name is Mike Burczyk," said Hank. "He's a friend of Zac's ... that's about all I know."
   We turned and looked at Burczyk as he released another ball toward the pins. The ball rocketed down the alley with amazing speed, curved into the pocket and scattered the pins in a wild explosion.
   "That's a turkey, isn't it." I watched the other guys on Burczyk's team shake their heads and laugh.
   "It is," said Hank.
   "It looks like D'Angelo's is tired of bringing up the rear," said Eb.
   "Don't they know they can't bring pro's in?" said Billy.
   "The guy's not a pro," said Hank.
   "I thought you said you didn't know anything about him," said Billy.
   Hank shrugged. "Well, I know he's not a pro bowler."
   "How do you know that?" asked Billy.
   "Zac told me he just moved from Florida to work as a foreman for D'Angelo."
   "Moved from Florida ... in the winter? What is he ... nuts?"
   "Could be ... but from here, it looks like he's a hell-of-a-bowler," said Hank.
   Billy stared over at Mike. "Yeah ... it does."
   "Hank ... you're up," said Eb.
   "Oh ... yeah,"said Hank.
   "And no more seven-ten splits, there, Ace?" said Billy.
 

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