Settling with the Man: Part Two

Sep 2, 2014 by


 If you haven’t read Part I yet, click here to read it!


Isaac and Perry pay and leave, get in Perry’s car, and drive twenty minutes out of town to a bowling alley. The building has smear marks on the windows from rounds bouncing off the bulletproof glass. The neon sign that advertises beer above the front door has a bullet hole in the middle. Isaac and Perry go through the door carrying bags for their bowling balls and shoes, walk down the short hallway, and to the counter, where they ask for one lane to be turned on for the both of them.

They go down to the second to last lane from the far wall, where the television screen for it has been turned on with the cursor for entering names blinking. As they approach, they see a woman sitting at the table up on top behind the lane. The woman has long brown hair, a skinny, tight body, with blush cheeks, full lips, and dark brown eyes. She looks over at Perry and smiles. Isaac stops and looks at her. Perry speeds up his walk and she comes into him, wraps her arms around his neck, and kisses him passionately.

Isaac sighs, “Mother-fucker.”

The woman releases him, and Perry strokes her hair and smiles, “Good to have you back in town.”

She giggles and says softly, “Thank you.”

Her eyes shift coldly to her lover’s accompaniment, “Hey Isaac.”

His face turned to stone, Isaac walks past them and down onto the lane, “What’s happenin Jenni.”

Perry picks up his bag and walks down onto the lane and sits beside Isaac. The two of them open their bags and start untying their street shoes and putting on their bowling shoes.

“You invited Jenni?” Isaac asks in a whisper, “After all the shit I just told you, you still invited Jenni?”

“There a problem?”

Isaac turns his head and looks at him with wide, frustrated eyes, “I don’t know how there could not be a problem.”

Perry continues looking down, putting on his shoes, and smiles, “You think the Man objects to my relationship?”

“Na, motherfucker, I think the Man objects to you bein alive at this point.”

“Eh, I’m not worried about it.”

Now Isaac smiles, laughs even, and leans back in the chair, having concluded putting on his shoes, “You better be worried motherfucker. You better be.”

Perry finishes tying his shoes, then turns and looks at him, “What’d you say?”

“Nothin. I didn’t say shit.”

Isaac stands and goes over to the keyboard in the middle of the space behind the lane and types in the two men’s names. Perry watches him, confused and enraged. Once Isaac is done he turns and walks up to the carpet again, “I gotta take a piss.”

He walks back towards the bathroom in a hallway beside the front desk. Isaac wipes off the bottoms of his shoes with a towel and walks up onto the carpet and sits next to Jenni, taking her hand in his.

Isaac walks back to a pay phone on the opposite wall from the men’s bathroom, puts in a quarter, and dials a number.

“Yes ma’am, is he there? No…well when’s he gonna be back? Alright…Listen, I need to speak with him…it’s pretty urgent…yes ma’am…okay…are you sure I can’t speak to him…it’s about Jenni…uh-huh…that’s more like it…yeah, I’ll hold.”

Isaac looks back and sees Jenni and Perry sitting next to each other, flirting like high school kids. He rolls his eyes.

“Yes sir…yes sir, I’m at the bowlin alley, the one on Main Street…yeah the one with all the bullet holes…right…she’s here, yes sir…I’m sorry, she did what? No sir, I didn’t follow her there…damn…I’m sorry sir, I must’ve missed somethin, but…yes sir, I will…I can do…what? No sir, I dunno if I’m willin to…Okay. Yes sir…yes sir…alright, if that’s what you want…yes sir…yes sir…goodbye.”


“How’d Tokyo go?” Perry asks Jenni.

She lights a cigarette, “Everything’s cool. I ditched him at the airport one day and I flew to Zurich with no problem.”

She reaches into her pocket and takes out an index card and slides it on the table over to him, “That’s our account number. You do your end this afternoon, and we’re in Costa fuckin Rica by sunrise tomorrow.”

Perry smiles and kisses her, “That’s good work baby.”

“Thank you.”

Isaac comes back and taps Perry on the shoulder. Before Isaac can see he’s able to get the index card in the pocket of the coat draped around the back of his chair.

“Hey, you’re up first. You didn’t have to wait on me.”

“Alright. Sorry.”

He walks down to the lane and picks up his ball off the return. Behind him he hears Isaac say, “Even in the bowlin alley women are a distraction.”

With a smirk he takes his four steps down the lane, swings the ball, and rolls a strike.

“Hey, that’s pretty good,” Isaac says, “You still got that loft on your ball though.”

“What loft?”

Isaac stands and takes his ball from the rack, but turns and faces Perry, “That shit flies up six inches before it touches the oil. You wanna roll that shit, you know that.”

He then goes up on the lane, takes six steps down the lane, and rolls a strike. The ball comes out of his hand at the bottom of his release, not making a sound when it comes in contact with the lane, then it rolls like a bullet train down the second arrow from the right and hooks into the headpin to make the strike. Isaac comes down and stands next to Perry, “That’s what it’s supposed to look like.”

Perry steps past him and picks up his ball. They finish their first two games within the next hour. Perry shot 226 and 185, while Isaac smoked him, rolling 257 and 243. They both sit now up on top, on either side of Jenni, and smoke.

“You wanna put a number on the last game?” Isaac asks.

“Not really.”

“I do,” Jenni says.

Isaac turns and looks at her with a feathered brow, “You mean to bet on him?”

“Yeah, why the hell not?”

“Because I just smoked his ass. Twice.”


He turns away from her smiling, and takes a long drag off his cigarette, “You know he ain’t got no chance in hell with that loft a his.”

“Maybe this time, it’ll be different,” she says as she slips her hand into her inside coat pocket and pulls out a fifty dollar bill in between two fingers.

“How’s that for a number?”

Isaac purses his lips, “I can cover that. But your boyfriend gotta cover it too.”

Jenni turns and looks at Perry, who without batting an eye, takes out his wallet, and from it, a fifty dollar bill, and sets it on the table with authority.

“You’re on,” he says.

“Good. It’ll be good for ya…to lose a little money like this.”

“Who said I’m gonna be losin it?”

“I did. I aim to take it. I aim to take quite a bit.”

Jenni cuts the two of them off, saying, “The testosterone in here is palpable. I’m gonna go powder my nose.”

She stands, turns, and walks off toward the bathroom. Isaac watches her go while he puts out his cigarette in the ashtray, “You roll first,” he says, “Imma go make a phone call.”

“Don’t you have a cell phone on you?”

“Yeah, but that shit’s traceable. I gotta make a business call.”


Perry stands up and makes his way down to the lane, picks up his ball, and rolls, scoring nine, but leaving the ten pin on the far right side.

“God damn,” he says.

Isaac stands against the red wall opposite the door to the women’s bathroom. He waits five minutes. He taps his toe, and fiddles with the switchblade in his pocket. He spends a lot of the five minutes thinking about the sense of morality that should exist within himself to stop a thing like this, but that sense of morality conflicts with his monetary view of the world, so he dismisses the notion completely.

The door opens, and Jenni comes out twirling a strand of her hair. Isaac takes out the switchblade, extends it,steps forward, slits her throat, pushes her back into the bathroom, and waits for the door to close. As it does, he sees the blood begin to pool out onto the ground around the corpse, seeping into the cracks in the bathroom floor. He takes a long, reassuring breath. Then puts the switchblade back in his pocket and runs down to the lane.


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