Short Fiction Friday: Playing Nice with Gods Bowling Ball

Playing Nice with Gods Bowling Ball by N.K. Jemisin

[no synopsis provided]

I know N.K. Jemisin mainly from her Inheritance series for which she had received a lot of well deserved praise. This series was with a heavy influence of Gods and mortal men and it seems that this is right up N.K. Jemisin's alley as Playing Nice with God's Bowling Ball has something of the same working in it's favor but with a more subtler approach. 

The story picks up with an police investigation where Detective Grace Anneton is questioning a little boy called Jeffy Hanson. Jeffy Hanson turned himself in for causing the disappearance of his best friend Timmy. He miracalously dissapeared, or did he? Now let me take you back to how it happened. Jeffy and his mother don't have a lot of money to spend but the money that Jeffy saves he spends on buying card from the popular Monster Fusion King franchise a collectable card game. This one day when he once again has saved enough money for a booster he has a lot of luck and finds a rare card, which he trades with Timmy for more cards. However Timmy knows what the true value is of this card and when Jeffy discovers this he wants a trade back so he can sell the card. He need the money so that his mothers car can be fixed. Timmy promises that only if Jeffy can give him the moon or a black hole that he will return the card... Well what if! Jeffy explains to Grace what he has done but no one believes his story. Even questions from a different person and asked differently make him stick to his first story... When the police thoroughly investigates the story they stumble upon evidence that is really hard to explain. And every which way you turn it nothing seems to fit. In the end the most feasible explanation is that Timmy caused an explosion and is on the run. During an later encounter between Jeffy and Grace well there is your evidence. What is Jeffy precisely? The ending is nicely shown and the in this sentence “No. Not yet. Maybe when I’m older. I’ll understand it better, then. Maybe I’ll be able to get Timmy out, too.” there lies a beautiful innocence in Jeffy's character. 

N.K. Jemisin once again let her creativity take full swing in Playing Nice with God's Bowling Ball it is definitely one of those stories that you must have had read. From start to finish you will be captured. 

The story was originally printed in Jim Baen's Universe #8 and reprinted over at


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