The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 18
After three months I was in trouble. Every dollar I made had gone to some expense: tires and a tune for the car, clothes, meals. The work for Cathy and Don was over. The “real work” interviews and applications had gone nowhere.
I sold the car for $800 and moved into the same residential hotel I’d inhabited back in the Barnes & Noble days, the Sheila days.
I had no idea what was next.
“Yo Bobby wuz up?” said Jeff, slamming his body down on the sofa next to me in the hotel lobby.
“Here’s what’s up,” I answered, folding the sports section into quarters, holding it in my left hand and leaning towards him: “Check out who’s going in the ninth at Hollywood Park.”
Jeff: The one you got circled? Hm. Russell Baze. He’s that No Cal jock.
Me: Down here only for that one ride.
Jeff: Oh hell no, man. I ain’t taking you out there. You crazy?
Me: Hollendorfer’s the trainer. Baze is up. A slight jump in class. And look at the probable odds. If we pass this up, man…
Jeff: (Rolling his eyes, smiling simultaneously) We? (Long pause) Shit. Lemme go see if my lady’s got some cash.
Five minutes later he was back. “Lez go.”
The starting gate opened and Baze’s horse—who had the outside post in a field of nine—instead of going straight, made a quick right, dumped the rider, and that was that. There went my 200 bucks and Jeff’s fifty.
He never let up on the drive home: “Not only is he an ‘also ran,’ not only is he dead last but the motherfucker don’t even run! Two steps out of the gate and he’s done. We’re done. You know what Hope’s gonna say when I walk in that door? And you know she’s gonna come knockin’ on yours about a minute later, right? Dead last, man. From now on I’m calling you Dead Last Bob.”
I’d dreamed of calling her on my way out of town, flight to BC already booked, a few grand in cash, a hired cab, taking her out to someplace funky but nice, intimate, like Cafe Pomegranate or The Harlequin on Melrose.
“Hello? Sandy speaking…”