The bowling alley we clean every week has just completed a year-long renovation intended to class up the joint.
Class is defined as a hundred enormous televisions and blue tortilla chips. Someone also took the time to paint the word 'Tequila' all over the place.
We get here early, 8:30 on a Tuesday, but a ferocious crew of lady bowlers is already hustling. Strapping on gloves, lacing up bi-color shoes; they wear custom Nike polo shirts bearing their team names: "Strike True", "Gutter Babies", "Friends Forever".
They have their own verbal shorthand and reoccurring jokes.
"Aha, yep, yep, Sparky's getting her coffee." Everyone laughs. Sparky comes out with coffee and talks about how she has coffee.
A tall blonde woman with brick shoulders and a strong Austrian accent discourages everyone from seeing movies.
Half of the women carry the library book club's monthly selection in their purses, eager to discuss such modern masterpieces as Summer Brings the Melons or Why So Spicy, Latin Pants?.
"Yes, yes, but why did Lena see the driveway as evil?" one woman asks, as she hefts a dark purple bowling ball.
"The driveway is symbolic; what she really hates is the Iranian revolution."
They probably say lots of other stuff, too, but when the bowling starts, it gets really loud and I can't hear them anymore.
Notes on the Craft
Dialogue is not my strong suit as a writer.
Recently, I've been trying to write true crime stories, because then you don't have to make up words for people to say. You don't even have to make up people.
You just go to a crime and write.
When I wasn't sure of the actual police procedures involved, I just wrote look up what all this stuff is called in parentheses.
Then I wrote, I'm the killer!, tee hee. No I'm not, jk jk. I jotted down a few other really inane things to myself like that.
I still remember watching my English teacher's face as he read through one of my stories. He looked like a sad crinkle fry.
After awhile, he took off his glasses and squinted out his office window.
"You know, people don't...."
Weighing his words carefully, he started again.
"It's just that, human beings, they don't talk this way. Ever."
My story lay on the desk between us like a flat, poorly written vortex, sucking all the hope from the room.
He studied my face with obvious concern.
"Have you heard people before? Has anyone, I mean a real person, ever....conversed with you, son?"
"I don't know," I answered. "I am for shamed of myself."
The teacher glanced back at my story again, shuddered, and hid his face in a tent of his fingers.
"Please get out."
I slung my Brother Word Processor onto my back.
It's heavy; this burden, this compulsion to write so much, so badly.