The Sport of Kings and Devils: The Snapper

Whiskey sez: This is part two. If you wanna follow Lucifestus’ day at the races from start to finish, I suggest you start with the First Race.

RACE TWO: $30K Claimers on the Dirt; Mile and an Eighth

A young man, blonde, smartly dressed, couldn’t have been more than a couple days past the legal twenty-one, entered the box and sat down, “Hey, Fat Rick! What’s shakin’? You cash that first? The three horse, who’d a figured?”

“Let’s just say I have a live Pick-3 ticket worth a potential three figures.” Fat Rick gestured with an upturned palm, “Luce, this is Snapper. Short for Whipper Snapper. He’s a grad student in astrophysics or some shit. Snapper, Luce. Old time regular decided to grace us with his presence again.”

Lucifestus exchanged nods with Snapper as the young man extracted a laptop from a leather valise and started tapping keys. “Nice to meet you Luce, I’ve heard your name. And, actually, my graduate work is in Game Theory.”

Fat Rick said, “Snapper here’s one of those cutting edge, digital handicappers. He’s never marked up a Racing Form in his life.”

“See, there you go,” Snapper answered, never taking his eyes off the screen. “You make it sound like a bad thing. I think it speaks to my good character that I’ve never sat hunched over a giant newspaper, marking it up with a stubby pencil, getting cheap ink all over my hands like some kind of degenerate. I’m an investor. I use the tools that investors use. Besides, grandpa, it’s still the Racing Form, it’s online now, you know. ”

“To each their own,” Lucifestus nodded.

“Don’t cut him any slack Luce,” Rick shook his massive head. “That online edition does everything for you but cup your balls. You want best Beyer Figure at this distance, on this surface, lifetime? Bam. Trainer stats with first-time off a claim? Shazaam. No real handicapping required. Besides, if everybody’s got that same info, where’s your edge?”

“I still have to know which angle to look for when, right?” Snapper chuckled. “Anyway, handicapping’s the easy part. It’s knowing how to bet what the handicapping tells you. Am I right, Luce?”

Lucifestus removed his fedora, pretending to wipe sweat from his forehead. Not that sunshine and heat bothered him, but it was something he’d seen a lot of humans do. “I don’t care if a man chooses his wagers by reading sheep’s entrails. He’s entitled to bet his hard earned money however he wishes. If he fucks up, we get to take his money. We fuck up, he takes ours. That’s what parimutuel wagering’s all about, right?”

Fat Rick persevered, “All I’m saying is it’s not just handicapping. These young kids have everything done for them on these little machines, laptops, pads, phones. Brains are no longer needed. I mean, you got fourteen year-olds whacking off to Pornhub and shit like that. When I was that age I had to have an imagination. If I was really lucky, I might have a J.C. Penny catalog to look at the underwear section.”

“Yeah, you used to have to masturbate uphill both ways in the snow. Now I bet you spend half your free time on Pornhub don’t you Rick?” Snapper made the universal wanking motion.

“Well, fuck yes! I’m just sayin’ I have a proper appreciation for the fucking miracle that it is.” The two men and the undercover devil all chuckled at the joke in the manner in which men are supposed to chuckle at wank-themed humor.

Lucifestus had been observing interchanges just like this for millennia, ever since the cognitive revolution some 70,000 years ago – itself the result of a wager between Lucifestus’ group and their Opposition. The elders always resented that the younger generation had, say, fire. Or the wheel. Flush toilets. Willing threesomes. The generational certainty that the entire species was doomed to crash and burn under the lax, uninformed, incapable stewardship of their upcoming progeny seemed universal. But as of yet, the species that had, in an act of extreme hubris, named itself Homo Sapiens, had shown no signs of faltering.

“So, Rick,” Lucifestus said. “I’m heading up, gonna put together a exacta box here, three, five, six. You gonna sit tight on your live Pick-3?”

“Get yourself an Xpressbet account and you can make all your wagers without leaving your seat,” Snapper pointed at his laptop.

“Yeah, but walking up and down these steps is all the exercise I ever get. Anyway, I wanna start another Pick-3 here, but I can’t find a good value play in the 4th.”

“If I may,” Snapper continued. “My little machine here, as you call it, tells me that in the 4th there’s a class dropper, Spatter Pattern, been running up north, on grass, at long distances. Last time she ran down here, on dirt, at today’s distance a year ago? She recorded a 93 Beyer. Morning line 9-1. I mean, I don’t want to insult you with lazy-ass digital information you didn’t earn the old fashioned way.”

“Fuck it, I’m not proud. If I’m taking tips from The Revelator, I’ll take tips from your little machine.” Fat Rick stood up to his full 5’6” rotund frame, stretched his Hawaiian Shirt-clad, ham-like arms and said, “Well, gentlemen. Let us away, there’s wagering to be done.”

© 2017 Whiskey Leavins

 

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