Racetrack’s a funny place. People says they come here for entertainment, but there ain’t nothing they take more serious. It’s the gambling. They see themselves hitting the big one and taking it all home in a big bag. Course, that never happens, but it seems some always had that idea. Mind, there’s a few can come here and just spend a few dollars and leave, and it don’t bite them. But others, well, they get hooked the first time they’re here. I think it’s got something to do with the horses. Maybe they think they’re not really gambling cause it’s live animals.
I been here near forty year, ever since about 1955. Started out as a groom, then got a lucky break to start as a sulky driver in the races. Even got to travel around the state for a while. But then I got hurt in a bad pile-up and the boss offered me this job. I’m sort of a security guard now. It’s okay, but I sure do miss the horses. I’m not so close to them no more.
I remember this one young feller, back about thirty year ago. His daddy knew somebody and got him into the barns as a groom. That’s the starting point, where you learn everything. He wanted to be a driver and could have made it, too. He had a good touch with horses and was showing some real promise on the practice track. But then I start seeing him in the stands, and at the window, and I thought—well there goes another one. He’d caught the gambling bug. There’s a certain look they get in their eye when that happens, a kind of intense focus when they watch the horses or read the program. There’s despair when they lose, but it ain’t long before they’re looking at the next race. Continue reading
By Eddie D. Moore
Dale walked the city walls when he found it hard to sleep, and failure always left him up late into the night. The open air and the stars above usually helped settle his mind. Unfortunately, there were no stars on this night, and the thick fog felt oppressive. He heaved a sigh, deciding to return home and try to get a couple hours of rest. When he turned around he saw a small ball of light drifting on the wind. He stood watching it in wonder, until he heard one of the city guards approaching from behind.
“Good evening Dale. I see you have found one of our night visitors.”
Recognizing the voice of the man, Dale answered without taking his eyes off the light. “Hi Nairn, it is beautiful. What is it?”
Nairn stepped up beside Dale and shrugged. “I figure it is some type of firefly. Although, I have never saw one stay lit this long.”
The guard continued on his rounds leaving Dale to watch the ball of light. Dale grew excited as it drifted closer. Clasping both hands overhead, he caught the ball as it passed within his reach. He opened his hands a crack to see inside, and he shook his head when he saw nothing inside. He sighed, and said to himself softly, “I cannot even catch a bug.”
After the walk in the damp nighttime air, the smooth sheets and the warm covers felt wonderful. Within moments, his eyelids grew heavy, and he drifted off to peaceful dreams.
A beautiful woman stood before him, and when he looked at her, his heart burned with love and a longing he could not describe. She spoke with an alluring voice. “Oh Dale, I am so glad you have found me again.” Continue reading
By Edele Winnie
Mean streets, wild dogs, crack house. Laughing on the front porch, guarding the stash, guarding the cash, guarding me, queen bee, Queen Sheila of Detroit. I may be thin and short but I’m covered in spikes that no one else can see. They call me Whip Lady because I have a real whip and I once strapped a junkie ‘til he was almost dead. Now everyone walks softly and smiles at me, cause they like happy times. But there’s always clouds, you know, and broken pipes and dirty grit that gets in your eye. You gotta deal with it best you can or go down, fall into the mud, and there ain’t no future with dirt in your mouth.
Jeff Nooper came to us in the summer, saying he’s looking for a safe house to sleep. A whole neighbourhood of empty boarded– up– houses and he wants to sleep at the Queen’s palace! Who are you Jeff Nooper? I ask but he just shrugs and says he’s a guy in-between. Like we all are. Except the queen’s palace isn’t in between– it’s a someplace, with electricity and water- both illegal but no one bothers us cause the queen’s guard sees to that.
Most of the guard are users who still have some life skills left, like walking and talking and shitting in the right places. The coke and the crack take that away from you so I ride them hard, making sure they’re my guards and not rainbow police grasshoppers that will jump away when trouble comes. That’s why I was suspicious when Jeff Nooper, who has been my boarder, sleeping upstairs in the race car room and paying me in bags of groceries, says he wants to join the guard. I know nothing about this schmoe. He smokes weed and sniffs a little, but mostly he keeps to himself and he’s always smiling. Never trust a smiler, ‘cause they know something you don’t. Nooper’s not a real name– probably slang for snooper and that’s what I think he is- some kind of a spy. He’s either blabbing to the cops or taking gum from another dealer who wants my neighbourhood. There’s no shortage of wannabees- Crimson Daddy, with his long red hair or that one armed guy everybody calls the Slot Machine. Continue reading