David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

The King of Bowlers and the Queen of the Jet Pilots

by Edd

Now this, boys and girls, is a story from back when we still had kings and queens of Chicago.

Paulie Haversack was the King of Bowlers then, and Hildegarde Fullenwider was the Queen of the Jet Pilots. Well, you can just imagine the rivalry between those clans, what with the pilots buzzing the lanes, and the bowlers putting dents in the jets. It got so bad for a while there that the Hairdressers and the Anglers were taking over big parts of their territories while they fought each other.

This dirty little war went on for the better part of a decade, until the Bowlers were reduced to a few alleys off Humboldt Park and the Jet Pilots had to use air refueling planes from Baltimore. And that’s when Paulie Haversack had the bright idea of challenging Hildegarde Fullenwider to a bowling tournament, winner take all. He set up the meet and was just about to spring his bright idea on her when she up and challenged him to a jet airplane race.

“Nothing doing,” he said to her proposal, and she said the same to his. That was very nearly that. The world would see the last of the Bowlers, the end of the Jet Pilots. Was this the split he couldn’t pick up? The power dive she couldn’t pull out of?

No. He wouldn’t have it.

This was it, the tenth frame. Paulie Haversack gulped, and he stammered, his hands went sweaty inside his favorite bowling gloves. But then he did it; he asked Hildegarde Fullenwider to marry him. And she thought about it, and peered at a contrail far overhead, and glanced back at her wingmen. Then she said yes, and they tied the knot the very next week.

Until the day they died he couldn’t stand flying, and she wouldn’t bowl. And yet the Bowlers thrived, and so did the Jet Pilots, and they taught the Anglers and the Hairdressers the meaning of ‘massive head trauma’, if you know what I mean.

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