We step in front of the lanes. We eye up our opponents. Lights flash and electronic jingles play around us. We feed quarters into the slots and the machine releases our weapons. Our masonite instruments roll toward us. In a moment, we will compete.
I’m standing in an arcade about to play some skee-ball. Nostalgia drives me and my friends to roll a few games. I left my cane to the side, can’t let that get in the way of my swing. Once we start tossing the wooden balls up the inclines into the marked rings for varying points, we keep going. We revert back to the average age of nine and suspend any stress from our day.
The balls thump and slide up the lanes, sometimes wayward, sometimes right on. Paper tickets print out in piles from the machines next to the quarter slots. The scores don’t matter. Only the company does.
When we call it a day, my sister gathers up all of our tickets into a plastic cup. She searches for a well-behaved child to receive our haul, smiling at the chosen one’s parent for approval.
“You don’t have to do that,” says the adult, his eyebrows lifting.
“Oh, I think he will enjoy them more,” my sister says, handing off the cup. She grins and turns around to meet us. She leaves the child in wonder.
When is the last time you played some skee-ball?