After study, we cut class and went down the Shore. We drove slowly, marvelling at the mansions in Deal until the cops escorted us to the Asbury line. It was too cold for the beach, but the guy at Asbury Lanes turned on Lane No. 1 for us. We drank pitchers and tossed bombs down a warped alley. The place was ours alone. We threw strikes and hit splits, like the guys with thick sideburns on Wide World of Sports. We took turns describing our plans after high school.
The lights flickered. The lane guard lowered when it wasn’t supposed to so one of us had to run through the gutter to retrieve the ball.
We discovered we could hit the reset button and gain an extra frame.
“There gonna shut this place down one day soon,” the manager told us.
No wonder, we thought. It’s worn and out of style. He was lucky we happened by.
He handed us back our Lou Brock sneakers. We raised the collars on our Pony League baseball jackets and strutted into the afternoon light, fully expecting that the next place we went was gonna be better.