Sarah, the receptionist in work, was leaving to go travelling in South America, and as her closest friend I was left in charge of planning her leaving do. After a few minutes thought I came up with bowling, just a bit of harmless fun and drinking.
There were only six of us in the office, three guys and three girls, so we could have teams. One of the guys, Ian, was always reading bowling magazines. His desk was full of them. One time I had to use his computer for the afternoon and his favourites was full of bowling web sites and there was folder on his desktop with hundreds of screenshots from films with bowling scenes in them. I thought he'd be excited when I told him we'd all be going bowling, but he said "No way, none of you will take it seriously." I told him it was just a bit of fun to see Sarah off, but still he said he would sooner "eat shit" than come. I had a week to wear him down, and finally on Sarah's last day he agreed to come, but only because he'd just bought a new ball that he needed to test and he was going to be there anyway.
We met at the alley at eight o'clock after work. Ian was already there on his hands and knees with a spirit level measuring the lane. He'd brought his new ball, it was black with his signature in silver writing on it. He also had bowling shoes with his initials on the side and he was wearing a bowling glove on each hand. I asked him why he needed two gloves and he said it was in case his arm fell off and he needed to use his other one. I'm not sure what impressed me more, the fact that he'd carry on bowling if his arm fell off or that he thought that his arm falling off was a genuine possibility. Louise suggested we pulled the rails up at the sides of the lane to stop the ball rolling in the gutter. Ian snapped and they both got into an arguement which ended in him calling her a slut. There'd been tension between them for a while, because Ian had liked Louise for ages, but she got off with Geoff at the Christmas party last year.
We got a couple of pitchers of Fosters in and we all getting pretty tipsy, except Ian, he'd brought his own water.
We got to bowling and everyone seemed to be having fun. Louise was flirting with Geoff, which I could tell was annoying Ian, because he kept snorting to himself everytime Geoff bowled. Everytime someone threw the ball instead of rolling it, I could hear him mumbling something under his breath about dents in the wood.
After five frames Ian had five strikes and had the most serious expression I've ever seen on a human face. By the sixth frame he was listening to his mp3 player and refusing to speak to anyone. By the seventh he was wearing sunglasses and sitting on his own on the empty seats on the next lane over. We got to the last frame and I had 74, Sarah had 56, Louise had 99, Geoff had 117, Stephanie had 120 and Ian had 270. Geoff asked him if he'd every bowled a perfect game before. Ian removed his sunglasses and said that he hadn't. There was a look in his eye, a look of desperation and panic.
"Well, good luck, mate."
Just before it was his turn, Ian said he needed the toilet. He'd drunk a lot of water. Five minutes passed and he still hadn't returned. We waited a few more minutes and there was no sign of him. I went to the toilets to see if he was ok. There was no-one at the urinals, so I called out his name.
"Ian!" I yelled. No answer. There was only one cubicle and the door was closed, but it wasn't locked. I gave it a gentle push. As the door swung open I saw the walls covered in blood. There sat Ian, pale and motionless. He'd slit his wrists.