Remember, What The Dormouse Said!

As I was gettin’ jiggy wit my bowling game a fight erupted towards the front doors of the bowling alley. Didn’t think much of the ruckus and commotion, at first. I was trying to get that elusive turkey, three strikes in a row. I was headed for my best game yet and I am embarrassed to say how much I used to practice. Bowling is a fabulous escape for the afternoon, weekend, date-night, or any old reason.

“On your mark ready set let’s go, dance floor pro.”

“Modern American ten-pin bowling derives mainly from the German Kegelspiel, or kegeling (not what the word means today, and quite funny), which used nine pins set in a diamond formation.” “Some sources refer to an 1841 Connecticut law that banned ninepin bowling because of its perceived association with gambling and crime, and people were said to circumvent the prohibition (laughable) by adding a tenth pin; other sources call this story a mere fable while earlier sources (e.g., 1838, re Baltimore and 1842, Charles Dickens re New York) explicitly confirm the strategy.” “Even earlier, an 1834 Washington, D.C. ordinance had limited the time (before 8 p.m. and not on Sundays) and place (more than 100 yards from inhabited houses) of “nine pin and ten pins” or “any game” in the likeness or imitation thereof … played with any number of pins whatsoever”. “In any event, newspapers referred to “ten pin alleys” at least as early as 1820.”

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
  • “Strike: When all ten pins are knocked down on the first roll (marked “X” on the scorescreen), the frame receives ten pins plus a bonus of pinfall on the next two rolls (not necessarily the next two frames). A strike in the tenth (final) frame receives two extra rolls for bonus pins.”
  • “Spare: When a second roll of a frame is needed to knock down all ten pins (marked “/” on the scorescreen), the frame receives ten pins plus a bonus of pinfall in the next roll (not necessarily the next frame). A spare in the first two rolls in the tenth (final) frame receives a third roll for bonus pins.”

The maximum score is 300, achieved by getting twelve strikes in a row within the same game. I double dog dare you to go get that perfect score and I can promise you it’s addicting. I was hooked the very first roll, except it flew backwards, behind me, and not the lane or direction it should have. I had my work cut out for me! This was not a subject that came easy, like all the others.

“Triple dog dare. (Slang, US) Used to denote compounding levels of “dare seriousness”; the escalation of a double dog dare.”

Now you can get college credits for a bowling class in lieu of physical education in school. My, how we have come along way; or have we? Considered a subdued sport these days, and quite wholesome, so, I thought. I worked in the office of the bowling alley part-time and would help organize bowling leagues along with Joan, my immediate supervisor. Allow me to introduce; Joan, who had a Crawford look about her and was really tall. Over 6 feet. We shared a desk in a small space in the back of the bowling alley.

“The biggest boss has the clearest desk.”

Statuesque for every inch, Joan dominated every space she dwelled. Short dark curly hair and glasses; looked like she held the weight of the world on top her very broad shoulders. She would tell me later, I carried too many rocks in my bag of life. We called members of the bowling leagues the old-fashioned way. We telephoned from a massive list printed out, called telemarketing. I was that friendly voice leaving messages on your answering machine; trying to entice more patrons. Sadly, “numbers” were down, and our manager stormed through the back office, slamming the door behind him.

On the phone, tone is 86% of our communication.

Instead of the red queen, we had a red king, who seriously lost his head! He started screaming and yelling at Joan while I was literally “pinned” (pun not intended, but ironic) behind the desk. The red king was blocking the door. I have seen many “lose their cool”, but this particular event, made me want to call 911. I, froze!

“Now, I give you fair warning, either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!”

After the yelling subsided and as the red king “bashed” Joan, he left a threat in the room that silenced us both. After, many minutes, I mustered a barely audible, “are you ok”? Joan replied stoically, “If he ever has a heart attack, I will be real slow getting to the phone.” Joan told me, the red king was a wife beater and abusive towards her for years, never telling a soul. She apologized to me for having to witness the horror. I stayed on the bowling league but didn’t work in that cell of a storage room ever again.

“When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go!”

When I hosted Karaoke, Joan would pay homage and grace me with her one song: Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit. She nailed it! The guitarist went to Encino H.S. (everybody who’s who, attended) and is now the friend to a once stepfather, white knight from long ago. No one, except the original singer, can compare! I now understood her inflection and why her chosen song. We kept that bit to ourselves, and I too kept the secret she held down the rabbit hole. This wasn’t the time and unfortunately women’s rights in the workforce then; were unequal, unfair, and utterly out of whack.

“How long is forever? “Sometimes, just one second.”

“One of the most iconic songs of ’60s psychedelic rock, “White Rabbit” uses imagery from Alice In Wonderland to illustrate the surreal effects of taking hallucinogenic drugs.” “White Rabbit” was written by San Francisco-based singer Grace Slick while she was still a member of her original band, The Great Society.” “Upon joining Jefferson Airplane in 1966, she offered up “White Rabbit” while the band was recording their seminal second album, Surrealistic Pillow.” “The song became the band’s second biggest hit, peaking at #8 on the pop charts.”

“God is all over the place. And even if He isn’t, if it makes me feel good, why not?”

“I identified with Alice. I was a product of ’50s America in Palo Alto, California, where women were housewives with short hair, and everything was highly regulated. I went from the planned, bland ’50s to the world of being in a rock band without looking back. It was my Alice moment, heading down the hole. ‘White Rabbit’ seemed like an appropriate title.”

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

“Musically, “White Rabbit” features a “march” tempo and instrumentation that was influenced by Spanish bolero music.” “A 1960 album by jazz icon Miles Davis was also a major influence.” “Slick remembers: “I took acid and listened to Miles Davis’s ‘Sketches of Spain’ album for 24 hours straight until it burned into my brain; particularly ‘Concierto de Aranjuez,‘ which takes up most of the first side.” “It’s hypnotic.”

“On sunny days we made excursions to Aranjuez, Alcalá de Henares; how sick I was after eating tripe there, to El Escorial and to Toledo.”

Here was an off day for me, a blue moon (from school and work), and I thought for sure this was the day! I was going to beat my best score. It’s normal to hear “horse play” among other bells, whistles, video games, music, laughter in a bowling alley; so, when I saw this guy fling another to the ground, I figured just that. I turned back around to regain my focus on the game at hand. Just as the ball was released and before the pins could smash, I heard cussing and loud expletives and the red king hollering for someone to call the police!

“A blue moon is brought to us earthlings every two and a half years. It’s an extra full moon in the calendar year, which means that there are thirteen full moons instead of twelve.”

A gang fight had enveloped in our small-town bowling alley. Back in the day, the Sacramento area had an influx of off branches to the Bloods vs the Crips. Initially the Bloods were formed to protect them from the uprising of the Crips. CRIPs stood for Community Resources for Independent People. “It was styled on the Black Panther Party, which was formed 3 years earlier, by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, further down the west coast in Oakland.” The Bloods were formed in 1972, shortly after a concert in LA.

“The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.”

There was a sea of people coming in from the side doors, the front doors, and I thought for a moment; I’ve got nowhere to run. Contemplating from the lanes, as quick as one could, I knew an exit and made a beeline in that direction. Sirens and the alarms all blaring! People were running and frantic. I side-eyed a police officer at the exit I was mad-dashing for. He took on 4 or 5 guys with his night stick (club). Not going that way; so, I snuck into the pool game room, now overfilled with an angry, crazy, mob.

“Start with the impossible. Proceed calmly towards the improbable. No worry, there are at least five exits.”

My favorite bartender and my dream of genie, Peach, was waving frantically for me to hide under the bar. There’s a latch that opens a small space for someone to walk through and works as an addition to the bars counter. I had zero time for that and quite literally crawled through the swarm of angry men, underneath the latched table, and was hiding in a space the size of a small cupboard. Not the first time, having to hideout. I could write a novel from underneath the kitchen sink.

“Pure love and suspicion cannot dwell together: at the door where the latter enters, the former makes its exit.”

Just then a guy jumped over the bar and was inches from confronting, Peach. Like nothing fazed her, she broke a beer bottle, jagged edges facing her potential attacker, and in her normal high pitched bright voice, said, “Honey, I don’t want to hurt you!” That guy made a reverse so fast! Shockingly, no shots were fired, by either the police or whatever gang swooped in our small quaint bowling alley. Spent days cleaning up glass. Just as it all started, it ended. Thank God for our police!

“How my poor heart aches with every step you take!”

Strangely enough, I knew both people on either side of the fence and would never wish harm on any of my brothers or sisters. I had a God moment that day, and realized my future had a different road laid out before me. I’ve only gone bowling maybe twice since that day and apparently, I am unable to get jiggy wit it. Never have I picked up my bowling ball (sphere of blue swirls) again, nor graced those badlands either.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

My name is not Alice and I’m not entirely sure, I ever escaped that long dark bewitched rabbit hole. No need to call Alice or a hookah smoking caterpillar, unless you have their digits. When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead, and the white knight is nowhere to be found, and the red king loses his head, remember what this dormouse said, feed your head and pray to God instead!

“My life is my journey with God. It may be hard sometimes, but I am assured it would be all worth it.”

*** Thank you for visiting and you are so welcome to return for more stories, rabbit holes, devil snares, tales with tails, and haunted memories to share. This is a disclaimer for anyone who needs one; this story is a work of fiction rolled straight down a bowling lane, no need for a spare. Stay out of the gutter, my dears, and hopefully I will hear from you soon. ***

“Dear friend, ’tis hard to say farewell,
And harder yet it is to tell,
In parting words, how strong the tie
We sever now in this good-bye.

We all shall miss thy gentle grace.
Thy willing hand and cheerful face;
No other friend thy place can fill.
Though absent we shall claim thee still;

God bless the work thou hast begun,
And guard thee in the years to come.
And when thy heart is weary, or alone.
Come back and rest in this thy home.”

Published by SiriusSea

Many moons ago and in a faraway land, I used to write about all things wonderous to the world and I am back to stir the seven seas of wonderment once more. As the storms pass through, I set my compass and my sights upon and beyond Sirius Sea! Welcome aboard!

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