Gutter Ball by Ben Newell

Punk Noir Magazine

​Right hand clutching a tattered bowling bag purchased from a pawn shop, Chester ambled down the trash-strewn sidewalk en route to the shabby rooming house on the corner.  He approached the entrance, bracing himself for the inevitable ribbing.  Those jerks huddled around the TValways gave him the business.  Chester hoped against hope that the lobby would be empty this evening.  He sighed wearily and opened the door. 

​No such luck.  The TV glowed.  Heads swiveled in unison.  

​“Hey, guys, look what the cat dragged in!”

​“Our favorite pervert bowler!”

​“It’s Chester the molester!”

​Laughter erupted as Chester stood there, torn between defending himself and retreating quietly to his room.  He was a passive person, quiet and reserved, but these assholes pushed things too far.  They hit him where it hurt, knowing exactly which button to push.  Chester was a registered sex offender and they weren’t about to let him forget it.  Not that this was likely.  He was all too aware of his crimes.  Having recently served eight years in the state prison, he had had a lot of time to think.  

Of course his fellow tenants were hardly boy scouts.  Chester regarded the motley crew; virtually all of them had done time for various offenses ranging from burglary to assault.  That’s why they were living in this God-forsaken roach motel.  It was the only place that would have them, the only place they could go.  

A resigned Chester turned away and went upstairs to his room.  He placed the bowling bag on the floor, inserted his key, and opened the door.    




Prison had been a living hell.  Sex offenders were scum, the bottom rung of the hierarchy.  As part of the general population, he had endured countless beatings until finally giving in and requesting a transfer to the protective custody unit, a proverbial think tank for sex fiends.  Chester had learned a lot.   

Finding a job upon his release had been surprisingly easy.  Granted, washing dishes at a greasy spoon was a dreary gig, but a man with Chester’s record could hardly be selective.  He was lucky to have a job at all.  

And it had its perks.  They gave him a free meal every shift.  Another guy covered nights, so Chester always returned home before dark, freeing his evenings for otherpursuits.  Bowling, for instance.    




Chester sat at the open window smoking a cigarette.  

“Bowling,” he muttered.  

He sure had them fooled.  Hell, he had never bowled one lousy frame in his entire life.  Seemed like a total waste of time, wearing ugly shoes and knocking down pins with a back-breaking ball.  Not for me, he thought.  

He extinguished his cigarette in a filthy ashtray and got up from his chair.  The bowling bag sat on the floor.  He double-checked the door just to make sure it was locked.  Last thing he needed was a surprise visitor.    

He spread some old newspapers on the bed.  Then he unzipped the bag, reached inside, and pulled out the hooker’s head. 

Chester dropped his pants, gripped her big ears like handlebars, and shoved his cock into her mouth.  Crystal meth had claimed most of her teeth. 

Her gums felt like paradise. 






Ben Newell, 49, writes poetry, fiction, and the occasional review. His full length collection of poetry, Fuzzball, was published by Epic Rites Press in 2019. He dropped out of the Bennington Writing Seminars during his first semester, eventually resuming his studies at Spalding University where he earned an MFA. He recently quit his library job to wash dishes because he’s sick of sitting on his ass behind a computer screen all day.