Rock and Jacob walked into the bowling alley and looked around.
“Why are we in a bowling alley?” Rock asked. “It seems like a weird place for high school kids to go on a Friday night.”
“What are you talking about? We’re here to hang out.”
Jacob shrugged. “That’s what all cool high school kids do on Friday night. They go down to the bowling alley and meet their friends. Hang out. Eat nachos and crappy hot dogs. Play arcade games. Maybe bowl.”
“I’m like 90% sure that isn’t the case.”
“What? You mean hanging out at the bowling alley isn’t a thing anymore?”
“I don’t think it ever was a thing,” Rock said, looking around uncomfortably, as he should have, because I’m pretty sure bowling alleys have a pretty high per capita proportion of rapists. “I’m not even sure bowling alleys are still a thing.”
“What? Really, dude?”
“Maybe in the 1950s. Wait, there’s Lucy. And a bunch of other people,” Rock said. He looked confused for a moment. “I guess this is a thing. Not sure why, but let’s roll with it.”
“Hey, guys,” Lucy said, walking up and greeting Rock and Jacob.
“You know, you don’t have to say hi to us every time we happen to be in the same place at the same time,” Jacob said. “We can both just be somewhere. What’s this song, by the way? It’s awful.”
“It’s Meghan Trainor.”
“Ugh. Doesn’t she have a black guy to go fuck?”
Rock and Lucy stared at Jacob.
“You know, because she’s fat and white.”
They kept staring.
“And, stereotypically speaking, black guys tend to be attracted to fat white girls.”
Lucy and Rock continued to stare, before Rock spoke, saving Jacob from himself. “I actually kind of like her.”
“Really?” Jacob asked.
Rock shrugged. “Like, I know all her songs are incredibly stupid, and the lyrics are entitled and obnoxious, but they’re catchy.”
“I think they’re manufactured to be that way,” Lucy said. “I think professionals or whatever draw them up specifically to appeal to our brains in a way that makes us enjoy them. You just have to find a way to ignore the lyrics.”
“Is that what they do with Lady Gaga?” Rock asked.
“I don’t know,” said Lucy.
“Lady Gaga I actually respect,” Jacob said. “It takes a real artist to wear a meat suit to prove…something.”
“Hey, does anyone want to go get some nachos?” Lucy asked. “I’m thinking that’s what we do in a bowling alley.”
“Actually, I was thinking about going and playing some crappy arcade games,” Rock said. “Man, this is so much better than being at home with our high-tech video games and smart TVs, or in a park drinking. No wonder all the kids these days are hanging at bowling alleys.”
“I know,” Lucy exclaimed excitedly. “If we were at a football game or something, I might be able to walk ten fucking steps without getting ogled by some creepy pedophile. And can you imagine interacting with someone at a concession stand who isn’t drunk or stoned?”
“Truly, the bowling alley is the Mecca of high school kid hangouts,” Jacob said. “Just as it always has been and always will be.”
As Rock and Jacob broke apart and started moving toward the arcade games, Jade Pelfert walked in and caught Jacob’s eye. He tapped Rock and nodded toward her.
“Hey, what do you know about that girl?” Jacob asked.
“Some sophomore,” Rock shrugged. “Pretty hot. Why?”
“Well, don’t tell anyone, but I think we’re meant to be together. Someday, I’m going to marry that woman. It’s destiny.”
“Marry her? Aren’t you getting, like, three steps ahead of yourself?” Rock said. “Who is she?”
“Jade…something. Pelfert, I think.”
“Don’t you think you should know her name before you start making wedding plans? Have you talked to her?”
“Not yet,” Jacob said. “Back off my ass. I’m slow playing this.”
“Yeah, I mean, it looks like you’re missing just a few preliminary steps between now and marriage.”
Jacob sighed. “Maybe. But I have this crazy pipe dream where something actually works out and life doesn’t completely suck.”
“You may be asking for too much there.”
Rock sighed. “Is this going to be another extended series of you obsessing after a girl you hardly know.”
“Don’t you think that plot point is a little tired? That you’re kind of turning into a one-trick pony?”
Jacob shrugged. “I don’t know. There was that one timeline where I ran for President. Besides, we’ll throw a lot of time travel and other shit in there to break up the monotony. The love angle is just one thing we’ll do. Sort of an underlying baseline, if you will.”
“I just think you should be more creative, is all.”
Jacob shrugged. “Maybe. But I’ve never really been much for plot structure. It’s just kind of…boring.”