Arcade – friends’ honeymoon, February 2014

The newest games in the arcade date to the 1990s and one of the “Bozo the Clown Basketball” basketballs is permanently deflated. So I expect the bride and groom surprised the proprietor of the establishment. She ignored the February cold in a knee-length dress and he wore a boutonniere and a thin orange tie. They’d just been married up the road and they wanted quarters.

Dropping a coin into Home Run Baseball, the groom coaxed it into the hole for a 50-ticket homer. Copping to a poor upbringing, he tried to filch an extra ticket: pull slowly and firmly and sometimes you get one more. Exorcising some wedding jitters, the newlyweds attacked “Wacky Gator” and doubled Friday’s high score.

They played elegant, imprecise pool at a table by the windows. He scratched; she won.

True, newlyweds can’t keep a small-town arcade afloat in the PlayStation age. This place used to close at 1 a.m. and now the proprietor goes home at 6. Most of his customers seem to be the children and grandkids of his old regulars. He’s run the arcade since he was a teenager and he’d have gone out of business already if he didn’t own the apartments upstairs. He says he may shut down in a month or two. But he’s been open for 44 years and I have a feeling he’s been saying that for a while – and that if the married couple comes back to celebrate their anniversary, they’ll find this arcade unchanged.

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