Havana’s World – The Phantom of the Bowling Alley


Photo Credit: Luiza Decenzi

Courtesy of Luiza Decenzi

Havana Garrett, Editor in Chief

The lukewarm coke in a plastic pitcher, the chatter of children over a playlist of 2000’s greatest hits, the clatter of pins, and the hum of excitement, there’s nothing that brings a family together like bowling. 

My family had been bowling for around 45 minutes and the game was close, we were competitive and fueled by the desire to win, my brother in particular was ready to win. As he sent the ball spinning towards the pins, the rest of us watched in awe. Gutter ball. He twisted around, still determined to prove that he was the best Garrett sibling at bowling. He lifted another ball, unaware that the cage was still down, guarding the pins for the time being, the ball went flying. Plummeting towards the cage. 

We braced ourselves, wondering if his pure determination would lift the cage on will alone. But yet, the ball was too powerful, if not for the cage it would have been a strike for sure. The ball bounced against the cage at such a high speed that it ricocheted back at full throttle, coming to a stop in the middle of the lane. 

We stood panicked, unsure of what to do about the lonely bowling ball stranded in a field of synthetic maple. We were so focused on that lone ball that we didn’t see the figure coming towards us. 

The man approached my brother and hunched his back so he met my brother’s eye-line. 

“Look,” the man said in a low groaning tone, “with your eyes.” He picked up two fingers and pointed them at himself, twisting them around to face my brother. He then turned around and began to head towards the lanes, with a crack of his knuckles he prepared for the journey he was about to take. 

He began walking down the lane, balancing on the divider between gutters. We stared as he picked up the bowling ball. We assumed he would turn back, and return to us with the ball in hand, but instead he kept walking. Now down the center of the lane, he reached the end of the lane and lifted the wall panel, climbing inside and disappearing. 

A moment of silence followed, it was one of those moments where it almost feels like a dream because it’s so strange. As my family looked at each other with confused glances, we heard a rumbling beneath us, as the ball returned to us. 

We still talk about the man in the wall, in an almost phantom of the opera like fashion. We haven’t seen him in many years, but maybe one day we’ll come face to face again with the man, or maybe he was a ghost all along.