On a television the size of a shipping container, I watch as two sisters from South Central swat a ball back and forth with the same intensity and speed as I’m applying to a pitcher of Pacifico at a bowling alley off of Pico Boulevard.
Over the din of clattering pins and urethane balls pounding the hardwood, a girl in rented shoes says, “I still do it here and there. Like weekends and holidays, but mainly as a diuretic.”
“I see,” I say. Though I don’t.
“Which is why I think it’s really fucked up when my sister calls me a cokehead. I mean, HELLO, I wouldn’t be snorting this stuff if I could achieve a regular bowel movement.”
“You’re up.” I point to one of the six hundred big screen TVs. This one happens to have our names and scores. Her name, according to the scoreboard, is Ganges, though not after the river, she tells me. After her cat.
“Who’s your cat named after?”
“No one. That’s just her name.” She scoffs and says, “Who’s your cat named after?”
“I don’t have a cat.”
I’m here for a birthday.
She struts to the mechanism that cost Woody Harrelson his hand before he was famous for True Detective, and picks up an eight-pound, neon green bowling ball. She takes the ball, brings it up to her nose and stares down the alley.
I turn my attention to the pitcher and refill/refuel, depending on how you look at it. I hear the pins bang against each other and then the slick hardwood. She strides back with all the swagger of a person who can both claim to use cocaine for the explicit purpose of shitting and bowl a strike in a romper. She may be one of a kind. It’s girls like her that remind me Los Angeles is a special place.
A special place, and that I probably shouldn’t stay here too long.
In Santa Monica that is. The night is thick with salt air and the wind refuses to blow. And tonight, it seems, not even Milagro over ice can solve the weather.
I pick up my phone and search the advertised D.U.I. checkpoints so I can carefully chart my course home; not unlike a sailor bound for Easter Island. Or maybe it’s nothing like that. I’m just headed to Silver Lake.