For monkey 0 and for the real-life Ed.
Ed felt it right as the ball left his fingers, a perfect throw, rolling straight as the path to God down the lane, lights shining off its surface. He closed his eyes to hear the sweet clatter as the ball hit true, ten pins down.
"You ever hear anything so pretty?" asked Ed, turning back to his boys.
Cecil shook his head, slurping suds from his moustache, "You're on fire tonight, Ed."
"Throwing with the angels," agreed Johnny, angling up to the ball return, his long fingers slotting into his own ball.
Throwing with the angels. Ed nodded, in a state of grace, something special tonight. He knew he had that magic 300 in his fingers, he just had to step aside almost, a simple perfection speaking through him.
"Whatever happened to that Sherry?" asked Ed. He could still remember the feel of her lips on his cheek last year, after his second 300 game, always thought it was her nominated him for the Hall of Fame in Kalamazoo. The way she looked at him sideways from behind the counter, shiny red lips in a little smile like they had a private joke, just the two of them.
"She married that Kosanke fellow," Cecil slumping back from a sorry throw, "From last year's All Star's?"
"Moved out to...Illinois, was it?" Dick rolled his head against the back of the bench, Ed guessed his shoulder was acting up again.
"That girl had real class," Ed nodded his way back to the lane, last throw of the game, head full of Sherry and her long brown hair. Even under the alley uniform you could tell she was built like one of those girls on the mud flaps, tiny little waist, hips rolling under the edge of the shirt. Too young for him, he knew, but she let him dream. Ed held his hand over the air, thought again of her breath on his cheek, her gentle voice in his ear: "Way to go, Ed."
His fingers slid into the holes like home, the ball warm and alive in his hand.
This is a good night, he thought, letting go, rolling true as the word of the Lord, the boys jumping up almost before it hit, he could hear them yelling his name, a perfect 300, stars shooting behind his eyelids, his heart swelling up, he turned around to see their faces once before tilting to the floor, Sherry's voice in his ear, calling him softly home.
"Way to go, Ed."