A story a day until there’s a sleigh! This holiday season, I’m sharing a new flash fiction piece inspired by a holiday song every day of December until Christmas. Today’s story is inspired by Wonderful Christmastime.

“Don’t look down.”

“How am I supposed roll the ball if I don’t look down?”

“Look at the pins, not at the cheese, love.”

Betsy examined the wooden ball in her hands that Gavin had referred to as “the cheese.” She had half a mind to hurl the cheese at his head rather than at the nine pins that mocked her on the other side of the lane. So far this game of skittles had proved much more challenging than the bumper bowling games she’d played growing up in the suburbs of Chicago even though on the surface the games seemed similar.

“Are you going to throw or not?” asked one of the players from the other team.

“You can’t delay the game,” said another.

Betsy was a last minute sub for Torpedo Alley, the premier skittles pub team in West Sussex, and she was feeling the heat, especially from Gavin, the team captain.

“One, two, down the lane,” Gavin said to her with an accent Betsy once fantasized about when she was making her plans to study abroad in England. Now, it was just annoying.

“I’m trying to focus,” she said. The noise in the pub didn’t help.

Betsy centered her attention on the pin closest to her in the diamond pattern on the other end of the alley. If she could just hit that one.

She squared her shoulders, rounded up, stepped forward and released. The ball sped down the wooden alley until it struck not the pin she desired but one out on the farthest edge.

Betsy threw up her arms, “Woohoo!”

Meanwhile, Gavin let out a moan and a couple of his Torpedo Alley teammates stepped toward him to comfort him.

Betsy turned toward where he’d sunk down onto a wooden chair, “I finally got one.”

“But we lost, love,” Gavin said. “Our perfect season ended.”

A tear rolled down his cheek.

Making a Brit cry was hardly as poetic as Betsy thought it would be.

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