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Lucky Strikes


LUCKY STRIKES by Mike Bozart (Agent 33) | AUG 2014

After eating a scrumptious soup-and-bread lunch – and strategically placing some GOLD, a summer story (my e-novel) quadra-fold excerpts – at the Panera Bread on US 52 in Salisbury (NC, USA), we, Monique (Agent 32) and I (Agent 33), went to visit my dad at the VA Hospital.

He was doing much better. The above-the-knee amputation had been called off. He was in a very jovial way, telling one joke after another.

“Dad, do you think you got lucky this time?” I asked.

“No, son, lucky got me.”

We all laughed. After about two hours of lighthearted, in-room conversation, we noticed him getting tired. Monique and I then left so that he could take a nap.

Soon we were back on I-85, headed southwest, listening to Roxy Music’s Siren album. Were you ever lonely? Mystified and blue? Realizing only – your number’s up. You’re through!

“Well, Monique, the whole day is open. We’ve got knowhere [sic] with a muted k to go, and all day to get there. Anywhere that you would like to stop on the way back to Charlotte?”

“Let’s check Concord Mills for Liverpool jerseys.”

“Ok, sure, Agent 32. Let’s get our Anfield on.” He must already have that darn audio recorder on.

We were soon taking Exit 49 to a very congested mall. Parking was an irksome misadventure. The most-visited site in North Carolina: a shopping mall. Go figure. Well, I guess we’re now adding to the tally.

We entered the mall and walked the large oval concourse and found one store selling LFC (Liverpool Football Club) gear. The name of the outlet was Flag-something. However, they didn’t have our sizes, and the prices were on the steep slope. I can beat these prices online all day long.

We then moved along and settled for a pair of caramel fraps at the obligatory Starbucks.

“Is this mall always this busy, Agent 33?”

“Oh, it gets even worse in the fall, Agent 32. It’s really bad in December in the run-up to Christmas.”

“Oh, let’s not come then.”

“Don’t worry; we won’t.”

We both chuckled and slurped down the gooey dregs of our frappuccinos. Then we promptly exited the mall.

Once back in the gray Kia Rio hatchback, we slowly made our way down to US 29. At the stoplight, Monique looked in awe at the large speedway looming just ahead.

“Is there a race this weekend, Parkaar? [my ailing alias] Are the racecars in there?”

“No, Monique, not this weekend. The next race is in mid-October. Probably no racecars in there now. I think the dragway has something going on next month, though.”

The light turned green and I turned right. About a mile later we could see the Charlotte skyline from a hill near the Mecklenburg-Cabarrus County line.

“Hey, 33, let’s go to downtown Charlotte!”

“Ok, sure.”

“Yey! You know, just walking around and hanging out in Romare Bearden Park.”

“Sounds good to me. Let’s do it.”

“I love hanging out there, 33. I love the downtown scene.”

“You mean uptown?”

“Oh, is it uptown?”

“Just joking, 32. Either is correct. But, you know what: I forgot something.”


“A typewriter.” What in the world? Is he already granulated?

“A typewriter? Why do we need a typewriter, Agent 33?”

“Because one is not truly hip in the CLT until one brings their typewriter to Romare Bearden Park.” And types collages.

“Oh, Parkaar, that would be such a funny pic. Just do it next time when you have your über-hipster sunglasses – the ones with the dangling yellow moustache.”

“Ok, I’ll wait for a nice fall day. Hey, you want to stop at Ross in University Place first? Sometimes they have Premier League T-shirts. I’ve seen United, Arsenal and Chelsea shirts in other Ross stores.”

“Sure, Agent 33! You know that Ross is my favorite store.”

“I do know that, lovely Agent 32.”

We laughed. Monique was excited about another visit to Ross. Unfortunately, we struck out at this store on this mission.

We continued going south on North Tryon Street. Once in the uptown area, I found a free parking spot on College Street near 8th Street. This free parking zone was once a little-known secret, but now that word had spread about it, vacant spaces could be hard to come by.

“Well, we’re here, 32.”

“How long can we park here, 33? I don’t want our vehicle to get towed again.” No, not again. Only eight minutes past ten and they had already hooked the old van. Yeah, that would suck a groty [grotesque in California Valley Girl slang] goat egg. Wait, goats don’t lay eggs. What was I thinking?

“Monique, we’re good here until ten o’clock. We’ll be back way before then, I’m sure.” Must stay cognizant of the time. Can’t afford another $140 towing episode. / Better remind him.

“I certainly hope so. I don’t want to take the bus home again.” Neither do I.

We walked up to North Tryon Street on East 7th Street. Once we were at the intersection, I looked across the street.

“Want to have a beer over there, Monique?”


I pointed at the base of the 10-story building. “That place is a micro-brewery, bar and restaurant. They make their own beer. It’s pretty good. Devetron bartended there.”

“Why, sure!” Monique was eager to try it out.

We entered the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. It wasn’t very crowded. Just a farrago of tourists, it seemed, but wasn’t sure if any were from Fargo. An assortment of baseball and NFL (National Football League) preseason games were on the flat screens, but no one seemed to be watching the gallimaufry. Gallimaufry, the odd-lot word of the day. Glad I looked that one up earlier. Quite a yawner of a sports-on-TV afternoon. No EPL [English Premier League] matches on now; way too late. NFL preseason? Meh. August baseball games could only interest a MLB [Major League Baseball] purist. And, I’m just not one of them.

I had a dark beer and Monique had a light one. They were pretty good. Thus, we had another round. However, for some strange reason, time hung like a lumpy necklace.

We departed for the park. Once there, we found a bench out of the sun’s reach. It was a hot summer day, but in the shade with a breeze, it wasn’t too bad; it was endurable. Where is autumn hiding? The hunt for mid-October.

Monique was watching people file into BB&T Ball Park, just across Mint Street. “Is there a Knights game tonight, Parkaar?”

“Yeah, it looks like it, Agent 32. Though, I am not sure who they are playing.”

Suddenly, I caught a glimpse of someone who looked like Agent 111 approaching. I waited a few more paces to make sure it was really him. It was indeed guitarist 111. He was with his lovely better half.

“Greetings, Agent 111,” I said. “What a chance meeting!”

“Hi Larry!” Monique shouted.

“Howdy, 32 and 33. Going to the game?”

“No, we’re just hanging out,” Monique said.

“Are you guys going?” I asked.

“Yes, we are, but we wanted to check this park out first,” Agent 111 said.

“We love this park, 111,” Agent 32 said. “We come down here every other weekend.”

“Well, let us take your pic and we’ll get going,” Agent 111 said as he quickly prepared to snap a pic of us with his cell phone. (The exact photograph is somewhere on the psecret psociety facebook page.)

“Ok, shoot us, 111!” Monique shouted.

He did and they quickly began to walk towards the stadium.

“Enjoy the game,” I said as they made their way over to the fountain wall and disappeared behind it.

“Are you ready to leave, Monique?” I asked.

“No, I want to stay longer, Agent 33.”

“Hey, let’s walk up to the grassy area at the corner of Mint and 4th, Monique. You can see the game from there, and it’s free.”

“Wow! Then let’s go!”

We found a soft section of turf in the shade that had a view from center field to home plate. We sat down. Others began to do the same thing. This aint too bad for the price: zilch.

We had only been sitting for four minutes when a well-dressed, neat, Caucasian gentleman in his late 50s with a stylishly attired, elegant, white lady of the same age accosted us. They look like a Myers Park husband and wife. What do they want with us? They sure don’t look like the classic Charlotte panhandlers.

“Here ya go, guys: two tickets to the game,” the man said as he held out a pair of tickets that looked legit from three feet away. Is this some scam? Don’t get gullible. / Yey!

“How much do you want for them?” I asked.

“Nothing. Zero. They’re free. We can’t use them tonight.”

I took the two tickets from his right hand. “Ok, thanks. I really appreciate that. We weren’t planning on going to the game, but the evening is open for us. We will use them.” They’re probably counterfeit. But, we’ll just try them and see if we get in. If not, it will be a good life lesson for Monique / Of course we’ll use them. Gosh, he can be so demented sometimes.

“Have a great time,” he said as they began to walk away.

To my subdued amazement, the tickets passed the bar-code scan test. And, just like that, we were in the sold-out, skyline-view, Triple-A stadium.

“Where are our seats, Agent 33?”

I looked at the tickets. “Home Run Club, section 112, row B, seats 7 and 8.”

We then followed the signs for Section 112. Once in that area, an usher led us down towards the field. The seats were second row, behind home plate. Wow!

A colorfully dressed African American couple in their 50s sat beside us. The lady nudged my arm and said: “There are still good people in this world.” The man then added: “Do good and good will find you.”

I smiled. “Yeah, you’re right.” So, that man on Mint Street has given away at least four tickets. But, what will Agent 111 think if he sees us here? Agents 32 & 33 are a pair of liars!

Lucky Strikes

Agents 32 and 33 drive to Salisbury (NC, USA) from Charlotte to visit Agent 33's dad at the VA Hospital. They then head back to Charlotte on I-85, stopping at the popular Concord Mills Mall for a frappuccino (after striking out on LFC gear). Once in uptown Charlotte, they sample a micro-brewery and then visit a 3rd Ward park, where they see Agent 111 and take some pics. Lady Luck then smiles on them, and they are in the stadium behind home plate. But, did Agent 111 see them? Another one in the psecret psociety pshort pstory pseries. Approx. 1700 words.

  • ISBN: 9781311659194
  • Author: Mike Bozart
  • Published: 2015-09-10 20:35:07
  • Words: 1721
Lucky Strikes Lucky Strikes