The bowing alley was dimly lit, and smelled like fast food. The dated music rivaled the look of the discolored carpet. Paul hated bowling, but he’d do just about anything for his dad. Marcus Jackson worked at the bowling alley, and was a lazy, distracted, hipocrytical father. He hadn’t always been that way, but ever since his wife left him without a word, and with his kid, he’d given up the effort of providing comfort to himself and his family. No matter how much Marcus pushed him to a standard higher than he held himself, all seven-year-old Paul Jackson saw was a hero.
Paul clicked the invisible ink pen his dad had bought for him. He drew a smiley face on the back of his hand, and then flipped the pen to the other side to shine the light, and see the purple ink. As the light passed over his had, it flicked over the table, and he could see designs drawn all over the cheep plastic surface. He saw bowling balls, and pins, and flames sparking off of a pair of shoes. He entertained himself for a while until the TV screen buzzed on over head, and his single name popped up to bowl.
He eyed the group next to his. It was a boys birthday party, and they were all yelling, and laughing together over their table piled high with large presents, balloons, and a cake frosted to look like a football field. One of the boys yelled out to him as he picked up his ball.
“Hey! If you don’t drop that ball and shatter the floor, you can have piece of cake!”
The other kids laughed, but Paul mistook it for encouragement. He hefted the ball with his fingers, and rested it on his shoulder.
“James! The table!” one of the boys yelled out to another.
Again Paul didn’t notice the kid sneaking over to where he’d left his new pen. He let the ball go, but it instantly rolled and then ground into the gutter shamefully missing every single pin.
The boy who had offered him cake called him to their table, and told him he could have a piece anyway. He shoved the cake into Paul’s mouth before he could even ask for a fork, and all the boys laughed like giant grisley bears playing with a rabbit. He ran to the bathroom, and scooped smeared cake and tears out of his eyes just in time to see the boy named James come out of a bathroom stall.
“Ya know,” he said, “I wonder if the inside of the toilet glows purple if you hit it with a green light.”
It took him a second to understand what he meant, and then he bolted to the stall the boy had just left. His plastic green pen lay broken into ugly half shards at the bottom of the dirty bowling alley toilet. He cried for a while. Colored cake frosting still smeared all over his face. He didn’t even notice the click when James locked him into the bathroom, and he fell asleep on the grimy floor.
When he woke up, he couldn’t even tell what time it was, but someone clicked the switch on the bathroom door, and a janitor came in.
“Kid how long have you been in here? It’s 7am!”