An Equine of an Alternative Hue

by

Tags: Fiction, .

Desc: : A dialog-driven short story. With apologies to D. Runyon.

Boston Shorty says, “We need to talk. As of yesterday, if not sooner.”

Weenie Beany says, “Yeah?”

“The line is wrong. On Springtime Sunset.”

“The line,” says Weenie Beany, “is, if I remember from last week, which I still can do, the line is set --correct me if Iʼm wrong -- by none other than yourself, going under the name, which is sometimes acknowledged, or at least tolerated, of Boston Shorty.

“So, Mr. Shortstop, if I lamp the Racing Form, and if I further put on my bifocals, which when I put them on, and move my finger down the columns real slow, I can still see the correct page in this rag by which many wagers are engaged, and it says -- the Racing Form says -- let me make sure I have this in double-o focus -- the horse of our mutual interest -- Springtime Sunset -- is going off at ... hmm... 17 to 2, which, as we mutually agreed, is sweet for a filly out of Starbucket by way of Mr. Stud.”

“This is accurate so far as the history of your recollection is concerned.”

“Thank you, goodbye.”


”Goodbye your goodbye, than I guess you shouldn’t worry.”


”I shouldn’t worry? Good. Goodbye again.”

“Fine. Itʼs swell to know a swell. Money donʼt matter to you. Must be nice.”

“Agita. Is that your goal, to give me agita? Never mind, Mr. Agita and I are well- acquainted. Bosom buddies.”

“Itʼs not Mr. Agita, Both of us are well-known to that dapper devil -- itʼs Mr. Money Iʼm talking about.”

“So ... all of our study, all of the late night work in a certain paddock, all of the math ... we decide we donʼt need to go out of the way to give a public nod to Mr. Stud, in fact the sireʼs real name never appears on any paper which may fall into the hands of the everyday bettor -- the Joe Dunno -- god bless him and all his kin. So it is agreed by one and all that Mr. Dunno never knows of Mr. Stud. You are now telling me it his offspring -- Springtime Sunset of which we speak?”

“Yes. And no.”

“And no? We go to some trouble, not to mention expense, so that all the Mr. Joe Dunnos, they absolutely donʼt know and they bet, which we hope they bet the rent, if not the farm, they bet, but those bets are never on Springtime Sunset. Thatʼs our problem?”

“No.”

“Good. Now weʼre getting somewhere. So tomorrow we sit up in the box seats at the Big A like the solid citizens we are. We watch the parade of maidens before the race. Our partner, Walk-Walk complains like always about the colors Jo-Jo Jockey wears.

“Then Walk-Walk bets the trifecta four ways, guaranteed to lose four ways, and we been-around guys order the shrimp because we spread a substantial amount, if not considerable, on Springtime Sunset to win and we wait for itʼs time to pour champaigne and eat strawberries and present the roses, no?”

“All of this is true, as accurate as William Tell, except for the line is wrong.”

“So, itʼs our horse, Springtime Sunset, which nobody knows about the sire, even the parents donʼt know about being parents because of the late night semination, which only Jo-Jo knows about and for obvious reasons Jo-Jo never wishes to speak aloud about.”

“You say the truth. Partly”

“So there is no knowledge of Springtime Sunset, papa-wise, no?”

“Again, W. B., you speak from wisdom.”

“And Springtime Sunset goes off at 17 to 2, which, if I recall --and I do recall -- are the odds that we all nod at before we make that phone call to Vegas Veronica?”

“Weenie Beanie, your brain-capture is worthy of any sports book in Atlantic City, if not Monte Carlo.”

“So, Mr. Boston Diminutive, before we even begin to think about Fat Phil, explain to me, in words that a simple hot dog vendor can understand, what in the name of that great horse parlor in the sky has gone wrong?”

“To be precise, which we all try to do, nothing has gone wrong so far as our favorite filly, Springtime Sunset, is concerned because post time is not until 5:20 at the eighth race at Aqueduct.”

“So, I should tell Fat Phil there is nothing to worry about on his large, if not monster, wager on the number eight race at 5:20 at Aqueduct?”

“Well, precision-wise, that is not precisely the message, word-for-word, that I would care to deliver to Fat Phil. Were I you. Or anyone else.”

“So Boston Shorty, my attention, full bore, is now what you have. Itʼs not what I want you to have, itʼs not something -- my attention -- which I toss around to every Tommy Tilt which crosses my path, but it seems now that you have purchased it for the duration. Or until I tell Tiny to decide which of your limbs are optional to your locomotion.”

“Mr. Weenie Beany, did I not come here to you volunteer-wise? Did I not ankle all the way down from West 52nd Street? Which, as you can imagine, that particular heel-and- toeing all the way down to 14th Street is not for nothing.”

“It is well known, Shorty, that you are not a contributor to the scholarship funds of the offspring of NYC cab drivers. And your lack of subway understanding is equally well known as you have ended up in Brooklyn by mistake, as well as Queens. I heard, but it was from No-Nose, who is not overburdened by the truth, that you were seen coming up from a station in the Bronx, squinting like a mole into the sunlight, looking puzzled.

“So before my grandchildren, should I someday have some, die from waiting for this conversation to come to a conclusion about which I might, but probably wonʼt, want to mention to Fat Phil, before then, you are maybe interested in telling me why the line on Springtime Sunset is wrong?”

“Mr. W. B., it is my pleasure to share the encyclopedia of my knowledge regarding Springtime Sunset with you instanter. Particularly before the gates fly open on the eighth endeavor at the Big A. In fact, it is my pleasure to share immediately with you this newfound intel which you can then decide how best to tell Fat Phil.”

“Whoa on the sequence of your thoughts, Boston Shorty. If you have some unfortunate information which will make Fat Phil well, turn into Fat Phil, love him like a brother like I do, then the presentation of these new facts falls most appropriately to the guy what unearths said data. I try to be fair in all passages of information, not wanting to claim kudos where it belongs rightly to someone else, to wit, you.”

“Weenie Beany, you are always so generous in sharing credit, but in this particular case it is my assessment that, since you are close to Fat Phil, and, in fact, you are the one who brought to his wise attention the matter of a possible long-shot bet on a certain filly, given your long and treasured friendship with Fat Phil, it seems only right that you will be the one to give him the update, Springtime Sunset-wise.”

“Whyn’t you just just deliver me the news, then i decide whether to deliver you to Tiny, who hasnʼt used anyoneʼs head for a basketball for maybe three days. Or four.”

“Mr. W. B. I always admire a sense of humor during the discussion stage, which is where we are currently residing.”

“Do not think that discussing the discussion will keep Tiny away for long. Do not think that.”

“There is no need to entertain any thoughts re: Tiny. Tiny is no part of the arithmetic of your problem.”

“So, this new news, which I am yet to hear, is now my problem.? Have I chessed through what you are telling me to arrive at, you are telling me I have a problem?”

“Well, W. B., perhaps problem is not the precise word that should have been uttered out of my mouth.”

“This is encouraging, Shorty, to learn I have no problem with Springtime Sunset, as this means I have no problem with Fat Phil which means you have no problem with Tiny.”

“There is, as Iʼm about to leave to leave you to your business, one detail that you might want to be on the earie about.”

“My ears are your ears, Shorty.”


”You recall that Jo Jo Jockey was our inside man, paddock-wise, a while back.”

“I recall hearing -- from you, was it not? -- about a late night visit to Mr. Studʼs bedroom out there in horse country where Mr. Stud made a generous contribution to the continuation of his noble line via the midnight participation of Ms. Starbucket.”

“This is the gospel except for one fact which has recently come to my attention, which as soon as i learn about it is why I am present here and accounted for.”

“This one fact, Shorty, is this the nugget you are going to share with Fat Phil? Before Tiny begins doing what Tiny enjoys doing?”

“I believe, Mr. W. B., as per our earlier palaver, it is your privilege, update-wise, to impart all of import to Fat Phil. As has been the tried and true custom since he moved up in the rankings. You are more the executive material, everyone agrees about that except maybe Bernie Burnout, and Iʼm just a messenger boy, passing along that which might be of most valuable interest to the executive floor.”

“Perhaps Tiny wonʼt be necessary, vis-a-vis Boston Shorty, who may soon find his way downstairs without disturbing the elevator.”

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