#3 Epidemiologist, air conditioner, spare, absent-minded mysteryqueen



"Strike!" Justin threw his hands in the air and danced around the narrow single lane bowling alley. Chris watched for a moment, wondering just how many pixie sticks Justin had consumed. He admitted to ten, but Chris knew it had to be more than that.

"Spare." Chris said, shaking his head. He hated to rain on Justin's parade, but he wasn't gonna let the kid cheat either.

"Hey no. That was a strike man. All the pins down in one shot." Justin held his finger in Chris' face, then went back to dancing. "One shot! Strike!"

"That was your second ball though. You guttered it the first time." Chris marked the score as a spare and sighed.

"Oh no way man." Justin spun around and tried to look all depressed.

"Oh yes way man." Chris made a face, then stood up to fetch his ball from the ball spitter upper thing against the wall. "Hey, turn the AC up."

"Do what?" Justin dropped himself on the chair by the overhead score keeper.

"The air conditioner. Turn it up." Chris picked up the purple and silver swirled ball and spun it in his hands.

"What's the magic word?"

"Please. It's getting hot in here." Chris sighed and slid his fingers into the familiar holes. It wasn't his ball, but he didn't know where his was, so he used Lance's. Which was originally Justin's, but when Justin went and got one custom made he handed that one, the purple one, off to Lance. Chris snickered to himself, he wasn't sure if he liked thinking of Justin's holes as 'familiar'.

"It's getting' hot in here." Justin sang as he reached for the lower hem of his t-shirt. "So take off all your clothes." He pulled it over his head, then tugged at the long sleeved shirt he still had on.

Chris stood by the score table, assumed his position, then walked up and sent the heavy ball sailing down the alley right on target. As the ball connected with the pins at the far end he knew he'd done well. All but one fell, and the one remaining was just to the right of center. Piece of cake.

"I'm glad Johnny doesn't make us wear bowling shoes here." Justin pulled at the floppy toe of his sock. "Bowling shoes suck. I mean, how many other people wear those? Gross. Of course, I guess we could each have our own here, right?"

Justin had a tendency to be a little absent-minded and Chris felt the need to push him back onto the train of thought he was supposed to be on. As he stood by the ball machine waiting for the purple beast to be returned he kicked at Justin's socked foot. "Hey Nelly, you wanna turn the AC on buddy?"


"My God." Chris rolled his eyes and stomped passed Justin, down the single step to the carpeted play room and across to the thermostat. He hit the buttons on the digital display until they were in the 60's, a temperature that was appropriate for a bowling alley. Or a pseudo-bowling alley like they one they were in.

"Oh." Justin said when Chris walked back and retrieved his ball. "Sorry."

"S'okay." Chris took a deep breath and rolled the ball in his hands. He took a deep breath, set up, then sent the boll rolling. It expertly sailed down and curved at the last minute to hit the final standing pin.

"Dude. Check out the curve ball you've got going on there. Man, you should be a professional bowler." Justin laced his fingers behind his head as Chris came up behind him and etched his score into the score pad. A spare wasn't bad at all. He was still smoking Justin's ass. As usual.

"Yeah. I'd have a better chance of being an Epidemiologist." Chris rolled his eyes.

"A what?"

"An Epidemiologist."

"A doctor?"

Chris bit his lip and sighed. He could explain it unnecessarily or let it go. "Uh huh." He answered, favoring the quick response as opposed to the lecture he could have given. Justin wouldn't care and honestly didn't really want to know what an Epidemiologist did, so what was the point? It was an example. Chris wasn't even sure if he cared. He just liked using big words to confuse Justin. Who was so easily confusable.

"Your turn." Chris nudged Justin off the bench and watched with near envy as the young man bounced up to the ball dispenser, leapt over it and landed into a somersault. "You should be a professional gymnast." Chris joked softly as he double checked the scores.

"Yeah. I'd have a better chance of being a Proctologist." Justin snickered with his tongue between his teeth as he balanced his ball in his hand and turned to the alley. He puckered his lips, took two quick steps then launched the ball down the alley. It bounced once causing Chris to flinch, then it slammed through the front pin and took all the rest with it. "Steeeeee-rike!" He cheered again as he started his dance routine.

"Fluke." Chris smiled and shook his head, marking a strike next to Justin's name. It didn't matter though. Chris was still going to win. As usual.