The Night I Retired
It's 1961 and besides my father backing me, I had my own crew. My key man, like myself, was also 17. Paul's life is a whole motion picture and book within itself. He was a good-looking macho Italian womanizer, he was also a mans, man.
Pauls father owned a very successful wholesale bagel bakery, he worked as a bagel baker and hated it, even though he earned 3 times the money that most family men did. No matter how much he made, it was never enough. Paul's father was the type of man that would kick the living shit out of him for any reason at all, but that never stopped Paul from doing whatever he wanted.
We would be involved with each other, on and off for all of our lives. Including making sex films that showed on Broadway and through out the World at the tender age of 20. He was working with Andy Warhol and many other famous or near famous people, you'll see a lot more about these years in the motion picture. Paul had an office on 7th Ave above the Carnegie Deli, where he interviewed naked girls for the flicks. Paul would end up firing the leading male many times, and take over the roll himself.
It's 1966 and one of the toughest matches I ever bowled was against Richie Grossman, who would be found a few years later in the trunk of his car in Gravesend Brooklyn with a bullet in the head. It was a Friday night, A week before I would make the biggest mistake of my life, getting married, I left my future wife at about midnight and walked the 5 blocks to the bowling alley.
The night before, my crew, consisting of Paul, Doug, and Larry, had made a mid size hit of about eight hundred bucks, that was suppose to be our kitty for tonight's action. Paul wanted me to bowl Richie Grossman, Doug and Larry felt he was to strong for me because I wasn't bowling much lately and Richie was a workhorse. Paul immediately split the kitty up and told Doug and Larry where to go. He turned to me and said bowl him, you'll eat him alive.
It turns out it was one of my best nights ever; my first three games were 290, 289 and 246. The first 15 games I averaged about 240 and we were up about eight thousand, by far the most money we were ever ahead. Richie went broke, I paid for the lines, the match was over, or so I thought. I was feeling great, couldn't wait to get out of there and split the money with Paul, in walks Sal the plumber. Richie talks him into backing him and here I am, back on the alleys again.
It's now 5:30 in the morning; all the people that were betting on me had gone home, we were covering Richie for about fifteen hundred a game. By nine thirty, Richie completely wore me out, I quit, winning 300 hundred dollars. Richie was pissed that I quit, while he was still down thousands that the outside betters had left with earlier.
The next night I was at Leader lanes at about 1 am, I was still exhausted from the night before and swore I wouldn't bowl. My partner Doug begged me to bowl doubles with him. Relentlessly I gave in and bet only ten dollars a game out of disgust of what happened the night before, we went on to beating 4 different doubles teams, never lost a game all night long, cleaned out the house, I never increased my bet past ten dollars, many thousands had been won, I made 170 dollars.
I walked out the front door with my ball in hand, went to the middle of Coney Island Avenue, the sun was just beginning to come up, a lot of the guys were walking out wonderering what I was doing. I slowly went into my approach and delivered the ball down the middle of the avenue, it hooked slowly towards the gutter where it ended up. That was the last time I threw a bowling ball for quite some time. The following Saturday I got married and didn't even walk into a bowling alley for the next ten years.