The Dude watched as Donny's arm swung back then forward in a smooth release. The ball glided down the lane and into the pins with a beautiful sound.
Donny gave a small `Yes.'
"I'm on fire tonight, Dude. Mark it."
The Dude marked it. "Yeah man, I've never seen you roll better." Donny sat down next to The Dude. "Which if you think about it is kinda a funny thing seeing as how you're dead and all."
Donny shrugged. "Your roll, Dude."
Questions of life, death and the greater meaning of the universe could wait. The Dude rolled but failed to pick up a split.
"That's tough dude." Donny said with real sympathy.
"It happens." The Dude sat back down and sipped at a beer. "So man, not that I'm not glad to see you and all, but what are you doing here?"
"I wanted to roll."
The Dude nodded having full appreciation and understanding of the deeper meaning of those simple words. Donny took his turn. The Dude watched as Donny moved. Donny had always been a good bowler but now he was moving like he was designed by god to bowl. A bowler in his purist form.
"So hey," The Dude said as Donny came back from rolling another strike. "I like wanted to say I'm sorry and all."
Donny frowned. "Sorry for what, Dude?"
"The whole mess and all," The Dude waved in the general direction of the parking lot, "and that stupid, fucking shit with the nihilists and that fucked up eulogy. I mean that was a fucking disgrace."
Donny sat down next to The Dude who was suddenly on his couch instead of the hard plastic seats of the alley. "Don't worry about it, Dude. I mean it's about how I expected it to go. Well, maybe not the bit with the nihilists, that was kinda weird but, you know, no weirder than anything else I guess."
The Dude slumped in on himself exhaling a heavy sigh. "I still feel bad about it."
"Don't worry." The Dude did worry. He'd had to apologize for a lot of shit over the years and there was a lot more shit he'd refused to apologize for but he'd never thought he'd have to apologize to someone for a bad eulogy.
Donny gave The Dude a little shove on the arm. "You find anyone new to roll with?"
The Dude shook his head. "Nah, not yet. No one else will put up with us, well Walt."
"I hear Smokey's looking for a new team."
"Come on, Smokey? Walter would send him into a nervous breakdown in like five seconds."
"Yeah, he probably would. But don't worry dude, I'm sure you'll find someone."
The Dude put his arm around Donny's shoulder and pulled him close. Donny felt warm and very undead but not in a vampire, zombie way, just in a not dead way. "I know. I just miss you man." The Dude said feeling quite honest with himself.
"I know." Donny said. Both became quiet, what was there to say to that especially when someone was dead. "Oh, hey!" Donny said suddenly perking up. "I hear there's a mini-Dude on the way."
The Dude sat up a bit. That was news to him. "Where'd you hear that?"
"Cowboy guy, hangs out at the bar."
The Dude grinned. "Well fuck."
"Gonna teach him how to bowl?"
The Dude suddenly felt heavy. Maude had made it very clear that she only did him `cause she figured he wouldn't have any interest in the kid. "Well I don't know. You can't just teach a kid to bowl. They have to want to bowl."
"Very true, Dude." The Dude fell silent. Donny was still very alive feeling next to him despite being most certainly dead. Hell he'd as much as admitted it. The Dude thought he should maybe be a little freaked out but fuck, it was Donny and who'd ever been freaked out by Donny?
"I've missed you, dude." Donny said softly and seemed to lean in closer. The Dude was having a hard time believing Donny was dead at the moment. Donny was warm, and made the couch sink down a little on his side and The Dude could even smell that slight salty smell Donny always had from his daily surf.
"Missed you too man, and hey I really am sorry about that fucking eulogy Walter gave. Seriously, I should kick his ass or something for that."
Donny chuckled "Don't worry about it dude. I figured out years ago you or Walter would be giving my eulogy and well Walter is Walter. Walter abides."
"Yeah, I guess he does."
"Just worry about getting someone new to roll with before the next league round."
"I'll try but no one rolls like you, Donny. And fuck knows no one puts up with me and Walt's fucking shit like you."
Donny shifted a bit and The Dude felt sad because he knew this couldn't be real, properly real the way it used to be, he and Donny just sitting on the couch after bowling, listening to Creedence or sometimes just listening to silence.
Donny kicked the floor a little "Hey dude, you never got a new rug?"
The Dude shrugged. "Never got the money either. Doesn't matter."
"Still, the room kinda needs a rug, you know, to tie it together."
The Dude contemplated the floor for a bit. It did need something. "I was thinking of painting a mandala on the floor with, like, tenpins fanned out like the sun."
Donny nodded. "That would be really cool, dude. But I thought you were renting?"
The Dude scratched at the back of his head considering this fact. "Is it really renting if you never pay your rent?"
"Well, that is a question to ponder." Donny yawned suddenly. "Whoa. Sorry dude. Just getting a little tired I guess."
The Dude smiled softly. "Don't worry, The Dude's getting a little tired himself."
"Maybe I should go?"
The Dude pulled Donny closer. "Stay. You can chill here. The Dude don't mind."
Donny smiled. "Thanks Dude."
Donny closed his eyes and drifted into sleep. The Dude followed.