It was a night in the third week of advent in the back room of a bowling alley in front of scrub land dusted with hoar frost. The men jockeyed erratically around the self serve betting machines as if they were in bumper cars. Eventually everyone found a seat and froze there.
‘That four horse was 70-1. I had the favourite and five other horses, not the four, though’
The horses at the main track were at the gate and the air in the stuffy room behind the bowling alley changed as everyone looked at the other tv screen- the tv on mute. The men frozen in their seats, breaths skipping beats.
The fourteen horse chugged along powerfully in a direct line like a dark train cutting through the prairie in an ice storm; the two horse almost floating on the outside, light as a feather and weaving like a leaf falling to the ground.
‘That two on the outside- I put a place on him eh- that grey- I put a place on him’
‘Don’t squeeze your ticket, eh- just keep them nice if you want the machine to read them’
The finish was framed on the screen, so the men started moving again.
‘So a friend told me about a piebald horse I have to see next week- I’m putting all I have on that one- I don’t need the machine- I’ll cash my voucher in person’