PW #310: Young Adult Contemporary: BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Jeanmarie Anaya

Mentee Name: Amelia Diane Coombs


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 72,000 words


For Chuck Wilson, Bigmouth’s Bowling Alley is the tacky family business that will fund her future in fashion design. But when her dad can’t afford Bigmouth’s rent, Chuck begins trading strikes for cash in the underground world of action bowling. With her former foe Beckett and his unofficial hustling guidebook, Chuck’s certain she can save the alley. Until San Francisco’s bowling kingpin threatens to toss their hustle—and their heads—down the gutter.


I’m elbow-deep in some dead lady’s clothes when a customer bowls a perfect game.

The players whoop and holler, broadcasting the record-breaking score. Hidden from view, I crouch behind the register and organize my latest estate sale finds. Clothing spills from the black garbage bag onto the linoleum, and Chanel No.5 mixed with lavender-scented mothballs tickles my nostrils.

My shift ends in minutes, but first I have to deal with the cocky high-scorer asking for a free game. Shit. A bowling alley like Bigmouth’s can’t go comping games. I sweep the vintage threads into the garbage bag and pop up from the floor. Just as the winner, Marty, saunters over from the lanes.

I dropkick the bag beneath the counter. “Congrats on the three-hundred, Marty.”

“Sign says you comp perfect games,” he replies, slapping down the scored transparency.

I side-eye the sign hanging crooked on the wall beside me. Marty isn’t wrong. But the comped game the sign promises is for the player’s entire group. My brain churns for excuses because there’s not enough in the till to cover the sixty-two dollars the men paid for their games and shoes.

After all, they’re only the second group of customers we’ve had all day. Before his break, Dad grabbed money from the register to buy dinner. A lowly twenty-dollar bill remains in the drawer.

Bigmouth’s is hemorrhaging cash.

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