“‘Like to see some stuck up, jocky boy setting on Dan Patch. Make your blood boil? Well I should say.’” He giggled lightly to himself. “I still got it,” he said as he scanned the race sheets. “Could probably do the whole show still.”
He scanned the names as he moved his finger down the page, the tip slowly going black with ink.
Horse Cents, Needle in the Hay, Barn Door, Horse Feathers, Too Drunk to Dive.
He moved his lips around the names silently.
Nagging Ambition, Snatch and Grabbit, Glue Factory, Don’t Mess with Taxes.
He would find his winner by saying the names in his head until a small explosion sparked and smoldered in the back of his brain, like a slow burning idea. That’s when he would know.
Excelsior, Whore Shoes, Fairy Yer, Stay Gold… wait. Stay Gold. That was it. He smacked the newspaper with the back of his hand. Seemed like every movie about horse racing he’d ever seen, when the winner is picked, you smack the racing form with the back of your hand. Now he just always did it for luck.
“I got the horse right here,” he sang aloud. “His name is Paul Revere… Ha! except his name if Stay Gold. Haha.”
He stood up and pulled his boxers from between his butt cheeks. He had a bad habit of sniffing his hand after he did that. He was always checking to make sure he hadn’t had an accident. “I gotta stop doing that in public,” he said out loud again. “Also need to stop talking to myself in public, “ he thought.
His legs had stiffened up while he had been sitting on the wooden park bench. The morning sun was warm, but the air was still chilly and he could just make out the slight mist of his breath when he exhaled. It took him more than a few steps to work his legs into a regular, but still stiff rhythm. One of his knees barely bent at all anymore and he had to sort of swing that leg around to get it in front of the other.
As he hobbled down the park path he whistled at the birds in the trees and bent over one of the star jasmine bushes to coax a butterfly on to his finger. The butterfly was uninterested in his nectarless (and possibly foul smelling) fingers and jerkily flapped to the next flower.
He was undeterred. Nothing would ruin the morning. Not an apathetic butterfly, not his unbending knee, not his boxers that were creeping back up into the crack of his ass. Today he had his winner. His ship had finally come in. Stay Gold, he thought. Stay Gold.