Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Mush

We had a big win on the ponies one wild night last September, Gerry Gormley, Dave McKenna, The Mush and me. Straight from work and over to the track, drinking Green Monsters and The Mush on the powders as usual. Gerry had a tip from a guy who knew a guy and before you knew it, we'd talked each other into putting the best part of a weeks wages each on the 3 horse in the 7:45 - I'd tell you it's name but then you'd be as wise as me. The Mush and me we had a tipple going too, emboldened by Jamie's and the odd line of whatever it is The Mush snorts. Before we knew it we had a shit load of money in our hands and a party going with some washed out old whores who hang around the track on pay day. Gerry was up for getting a motel room and driving over with the girls by way of the liquor store, phoning out sick and party, party, party. Sounded good but  I reckoned the wives might miss us and what would we tell the gaffer, we all got sick together? We'd invited the old fucker to the bar with us not two hours ago. Dave wondered how the fuck he was going to explain the bank roll to his Mrs. He'd sworn off the gambling at the same time me and him went to AA, 6 months ago. She'd leave him she said and we all believed her. 

You know what a claiming race is, right? Well by nine that night I owned one 1/4 of a trotting horse. They don't tell you which bit you own but The Mush reckoned I'd got the arse. He might have been right. I suppose it was inevitable that we'd get to this stage. When everyone at the track knows you by your first name you've probably bought a horse or two without realizing it over the years anyway. Such is life. 

It never really sank in that I was a part owner. Sure nobody went to the track, at least not like in the old days and we'd parked in the owners spaces for years, we sat in the grandstand and drank in the owners bar too. Nothing changed until the bills started coming in. The old girl knew something was wrong when I started beating her to the mail everyday. Our nag had run the race of his life that night and looked like he'd never win again. Feed, stables, exercising, grooming, transportation, riders, sulkies they all cost money but the biggest bill of all was the fucking vet bill. Gerry had a few bucks from his old man who'd owned a couple of two family houses in Kearney so he didn't feel it too bad. Dave's wife wised up to what was going on and, true to her word, packed up her bags and left him for the bosom of her clan back in Connemara. The Mush didn't give two fucks. No one really knew what he did for money but he lived way beyond our union pay grade. Both him and wife, no kids thankfully, knew how to party and one or the other but never both usually went to the meetings. 

A lot of people thought The Mush was a fool but I was never one of them. I'd tear the arse with him from time to time but I kept him away from my family. How'd you keep your kids on the straight and narrow when your best mate's got half of Columbia up his nostrils? The Mush wanted to change the horse's name to Second Mortgage but they wouldn't let us. It sure as hell felt like a second mortgage every month. If I had my time again I'd be a vet no doubt about it.

The Mush had a plan. He'd fucked the regular rider off and teamed up with a lad from Ecuador. Fuck knows how, Mush knew no Spanish and The Ecuadorian no English but anyways they worked something out. The Mush invited the gaffer and a few big shots from work out to the track one night, guests of ours. He made a big scene of parking in the owner's spots, he played it like the owners bar was an invite to the Kennedy Compound. As my accountant Jimmy the Jew would say, 'He shmoooooooooooozed them big time.' I didn't have a clue what he was up to but I sure thought he'd lost it when he put a grand on our nag and encouraged our guests to do likewise. I'd long since given up betting on my own pony indeed I used to bet against him. Gerry and Dave weren't there and I don't think they knew what was going on either but fair play to The Mush our nag won though it was close. You could see the other riders holding back and our lad still had to beat the fucker half to death to get it over the line. I'm amazed there wasn't a stewards inquiry. Maybe The Mush had paid them off too. He'd sure as hell nobbled the riders. After much champagne, cigars and a complimentary blow job from a track-side whore in the men's bathroom we no longer owned a second mortgage. The Mush played it beautifully; like he didn't want to sell but by nine o'clock that night, the gaffer and three other big shots from work were the proud owners of a pony with two wins under it's belt out of 12 starts. It would never win again. The Mush and me, we just about broke even. Just about.

Johnny L

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