Night Crawler

On the Buss

"Where do the gorillas come in?" asks one bleary-eyed bystander. "Bloodshed is one thing. I was promised gorillas."

After what seems not long enough, the winner is announced: C y b e r sAM.

The fix is in, but shouts of "bullshit" garner a re-tally and, in an unforeseen upset, Fish Guy and his dog Molly are awarded the ceremonial 40-ouncer of King Cobra, which is dropped from the top of the buss into the waiting arms of a lucky recipient below.

Red, in camos and dangerous-looking metal shoulder pads, still questions the decision's validity, but decides to jump into a gurney and join in the ensuing free-skate, along with 6-year-old Kiki and the dog named Molly.

Beaten but not over-battered, Smokin' Joe limps away from the battlefield to take inventory of his bruises and drink some Gatorade, while his partner Impish Trish orders Chinese food delivery to the address next door.

"I think I wore myself out before the race," says the grinning Smokin' Joe, who earlier was seen doing wheelies in his patchwork skirt. "I have to learn to pace myself. Not really. It's all in good fun, you know."


Later that night, at Colma's 24-hour Serra Bowl, it seems like another world. At midnight, the parking lot is still packed, the bars are bustling, the dance floor is pumping, and every lane in the place is occupied. Folks swill beer and slap each other on the back for their well-earned strikes, talking about their wives/girlfriends/boyfriends/ husbands and their well-earned time away from home.

But all is not quite as it seems.

On Lane 12 a punk-rock angel with wings and a much-worse-for-the-plane-wreck Buddy Holly are busy selecting their bowling balls. A few minutes later, they are joined by a haggard, hollow-eyed Marlboro Man with a cigarette hanging out of the tracheotomy hole in his neck. Jayne Mansfield, with a bloody gash left in her neck by her accidental decapitation by a gas truck, casually checks a 5-inch silver pump and puts on her bowling shoes. Forties starlet Suzie Wong arrives on the arm of Keith Moon and someone offers up a clear bowling ball with a skull floating inside. It's just a few dead celebrities getting together to bowl a few frames. No big deal. But, oh, the stares. You'd think no one ever saw a Chinese starlet bowl four strikes in a row holding a large feather fan in one hand. The game is on, sort of.

Stating that bowling is not a cummerbund-friendly sport, Buddy Holly all but gives up. Mansfield's game is much like her career: She starts strong and ends up in the gut- ter, whining about that bitch Marilyn. The Marlboro Man wheezes through a few frames and tries to make a comeback toward the end by ripping the cigarette from his throat, but it's too late. Keith Moon seems too stoned to care. The Angel of Dead Celebrity Bowling keeps a watchful eye, quietly doling out prizes and bowling strikes, even though her Jesus has left her in the lurch. And Wong takes the game.

On Mansfield's way out, a curious bowler poses the question everyone in the bar had wanted to ask: "What are you doing?"

"Just having fun," Mansfield says, adjusting her fur. "Even dead people have to have fun, you know."

Send comments, quips, and tips to crawler@sfweekly.com.Night Crawler

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