by Jennifer-Oksana

Sometimes, the only place Oz could find himself was in a weird place.

Like a bowling alley in North Hollywood after all the lights went out in LA. He was going to stop at Angel's new digs, but instead, he found himself there, drinking a beer and listening to two philosophers explain life, the universe, and everything.

With a lot of curse words.

"It's like, very deep, bowling," the Dude explained, taking a swig of his Bud Light. "You've got the ball and it's like--"

"It's like lining up a Charlie's head in your sights and getting ready to blow him away," Walter offered.

"What the fuck are you talking about, Walter? Bowling is not like trying to kill Charlie!" the Dude snapped. "Shit, man, does everything have to be about Nam with you?"

Oz nodded, listening. "What do you guys think of the sun thing?" he asked.

"It's a government test of what they're gonna do to that camelfucker in Iraq," Walter replied. "Saddam won't know what hit him. Besides, too many dissidents here. The government is making an example of us."

"Dissidents?" the Dude asked. "Man, that is so uncool. You don't know what you're talking about, Walter."

"I beg your pardon, Dude," Walter replied curtly. "But who here has intimate knowledge of the US military? As I recall, you were a non-combatant in Viet Nam. So who knows what the government is capable of, Dude? Who's seen it with his own two eyes? Am I wrong?"

Oz managed not to laugh as the Dude took another drink of his beer. "I just don't think the government would block out the sun, Walter," he said. "Like, it's my opinion that it would be very uncool of them. Besides, if the government did it, who the hell are the guys who keep stalking the parking lot? The ones who suck blood?"

"Genetically altered shock troops. That's why they blocked out the sun, Dude," Walter said earnestly. "Saddam and his buddy Osama won't know what hit 'em."

"Are you saying Osama bin Laden is in Baghdad?" the Dude asked, apparently somewhat riled. "And that those guys in the parking lot are American soldiers?"

"That's exactly what I'm saying, Dude," Walter replied. "What do you think, Mr. Osbourne?"

"Uh," Oz said.

"See, our young friend agrees with me," Walter said. "It's your turn to roll, Dude."

The Dude, who had clearly been formulating a response along the lines of "Walter, you're nuts," forgot his agitation, picked up his bowling ball, and proceeded to roll a spare. Oz, who hadn't wanted to explain that the government shock troops were actually vampires and it probably wasn't safe for Walter and the Dude in the bowling alley, breathed a sigh of relief and looked around again.

At least two of the parties bowling were vamps, yet they seemed absolutely disinterested in anything other than the game. In fact, the two vamps in game face were arguing about whether or not one of the vamp's feet had slipped over the line.

"So have any of the shock troops tried to eat you?" Oz asked as the Dude returned and Walter got up to bowl.

"Yeah, man, once or twice," the Dude said. "I think they were drunk. I offered them a j and they got off my case. Particularly when they noticed the outfit. Like, it's cool. I explained that it wasn't really my idea of a good time to be eaten, and they, like, decided that was a good idea. A couple of 'em are thinking about joining the league. And it's like, right on."

"Wow," Oz said. "Groovy."

"Indeed," the Dude said, taking another drink of his beer. "So, Oz. Gonna be with us a while?"

"I think I might be," Oz said, finishing his own beer and trying to decide which ball, if any, would be his speed. "If that's okay with you."

"Hey, man, whatever," the Dude said. "It's bowling, and like, that's the secret of the universe. You know?"

And as Walter walked back toward them, having bowled another strike, and the two vamps continued to scuffle, Oz knew exactly what the Dude meant.


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