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Good Times to Spare

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“…So-” Robbie crinkled his nose, a small scowl on his face. “…Can one of you brats please tell me again why you have all decided to drag me into this dreadful place?”

            “Robbie-…” Stephanie laughed a little, rolling her eyes at the tall villain. “We didn’t force you to come, -we asked if you wanted to come to the bowling alley with us and you said yes!”

Robbie bristled. …Okay, that might’ve been what actually happened but- but now that he was here, he hated it! He despised the bowling alley! He absolutely detested this establishment! It was loud- he couldn’t even walk two feet without hearing an arcade machine flicker and beep, or the sound of pins crashing down- and if that wasn’t bad enough, the whole place reeked of stinky shoes and stale one-dollar nachos.

“I thought that I was going to be able to take a nap here!” He cried out in dismay, throwing his hands up in the air.

Suddenly, he felt a firm hand perch upon his shoulder, and standing behind Robbie was none other than that dreaded jumping blue kangaroo, Sportacus, who was giving him a bit of sympathetic smile that he couldn’t describe as anything other than… patronizing. He couldn’t explain why, but something about that look on his face just grinded at his gears.

“Robbie, I understand that this is something new and different for you, and trying things for the first time can be a bit daunting at times,” Sportacus began. “But who knows! It may not be as awful as you think it will be! …Perhaps you might even have a little bit of fun!”

The elf grinned at him, making Robbie grumble to himself and cross his arms.

“Besides-…” Little Ziggy chimed in from below, making Robbie jolt a bit. He didn’t notice the little boy standing right next to him… “-We were all going and we didn’t want you to feel lonely without us!”

Robbie scoffed at the boy, blushing a bit. “I wouldn’t have felt lonely!” He absolutely would’ve felt lonely being in Lazytown all by himself… -He huffed. “I would’ve been glad to finally have had some peace and quiet, without any of your gross exercising!”

“You would too have felt lonely!” Trixie argued. Jeez, she came out of nowhere too. Robbie’s poor heart… “Remember that one time when we all went to the beach without you, and you got so lonely that you made friends with an imaginary fly?”

“Now, now, Trixie…” Sportacus gently chided. He looked back at Robbie. “The point is, this probably will not be as bad as you’re imagining it to be,” he told him. “Besides- you’ve even dressed yourself up in a bowling outfit for the occasion!” he smiled at him.

“Th-th-th-that means nothing!” stammered the villain, feeling his blush heat up even more as he suddenly started trying to cover himself. “I wont have a good time doing something that you enjoy, Sportapoop!”

“Well- you look like you’re ready to have fun to me!” he exclaimed with a little laugh, not even getting a little bit upset with Robbie which somehow, frustrated Robbie even more… “But please try just a couple of turns?” he asked of him.

“Please, Robbie?” pleaded Stephanie.

“Robbie, please?” Pixel chimed in.

“Try it just one time?” joined Stingy...

Robbie covered his ears, as all the children started to beg, batting their eyelashes and glancing up at him with big, puppy-dog eyes and puppy-dog pouts. Robbie whined a bit, pouting himself. No fair! They were using unfair tactics! He groaned, finding himself giving in.

“Alright, fine!” he yelled. “I’ll bowl just one time for you!”

The children (and Sportacus) faces lit up, and they each grinned ear-to-ear.

“Yes! Let’s head down to the lanes!” Sportacus exclaimed excitedly, and together with Robbie, Bessie, the Mayor, and the kids in tow, he led them all across the stretch of zany nineties-esque carpeting down to where their lanes had been reserved.

After the kids had taken their turns, Sportacus turned and glanced back over at Robbie, picking up a neon-orange bowling ball.

“Robbie, would you do us the honor of going next?” he asked of him.

Robbie rolled his eyes, sighing. “Well, …I guess that I might as well get it over with…” He mumbled, reluctantly holding out both of his hands to take the ball, wincing before Sportacus had even handed it to him. But once he did place the ball in his hands, Robbie blinked a few times, staring down at the ball in surprise. …Weird- the weight of the ball didn’t make Robbie sink to the floor like he thought it would- it was actually a lot lighter than he imagined it to be…

“…Do you want me to show you how to bowl, Robbie?” Sportacus offered.

“No! I don’t need your help!” Robbie hugged the ball to his chest. “Just step aside…”

Everyone stepped very far off to the side, giving Robbie plenty of room. He snorted, walking his ball and himself up to the lane. …-But when he got there, he swallowed, staring down at the pins on the other side nervously. He’s…probably going to be absolute garbage at this he realized, now that he found himself standing in front of the lane. He was bound to be, given how… not sportsey he is…. But…he turned down all help, so it’s either sucking at this, …or sucking at this but while at least giving it his best effort-

He took a breath and glanced at the pins one more time, staring them down intensely. Okay…if he bowled a ball of this weight at xxx miles an hour at an xxx degree angle then he should- hold on! He’s supposed to be lazy! Thinking about it is effort!

He huffed and just let go and let the ball roll, and all eyes were on it. He watched his ball with bated breath.

The ball itself rolled down the lane rather quickly, making a straight shot towards the center pin when-


Left, right, and center- all ten pins had toppled one over the other like dominos, none left standing. A big, white X filled the scoreboard above him.

For just a split second, there was complete silence. Robbie’s jaw had dropped to the floor, his eyes bulging out in shock. But then, he found himself surrounded by a round of claps and cheers.

“Good job, Robbie!” cheered Stephanie.

“Wow, you got all of them on your first try!” exclaimed Pixel, playing Robbie’s strike back on his wrist computer.

The Mayor looked at Robbie in awe. “That was just splendid, Mr. Rotten!”

“That was a strike!” he heard Ziggy say…

“…A-A strike?” Robbie blinked in confusion and disbelief. He pointed to himself, feeling flustered. “…I-I got a strike?”

He heard Sportacus behind him chuckle. “Yes Robbie, you got a strike! That was a very good bowl too! I’m impressed! That was even better than my first try!”

“A-A strike!” He felt the muscles in his face stretch into a huge smile. “A strike! I got a strike!” Suddenly, he started cheering.

“Strike! Strike! I got a strike!” he sang, prancing around and jumping up and down. Everyone around him laughed, clapping for him and cheering right along with him.

“I got a strike!” Robbie grinned, -but then he froze. “...Uh, Sportacus-?“ he looked over at the hero. “…Is bowling a sport?”

Sportacus chuckled, giving Robbie a fond look. “Yes, Robbie, bowling is a sport.“

“…Oh-” Robbie crinkled his nose, appearing repulsed. “A sport- disgusting!” But nonetheless, his face lit up. “I’m good at a SPORT! –I can’t believe it!” He threw his head back to the ceiling, letting out a triumphant laugh. “I’M GOOD AT A SPORT!”