and they're off! stories from the racetrack is finally available for purchase. Below is an excerpt from A Day At The Races Ain't Always Funny. I've added a link to where the short story collection can be purchased for those who might be interested.
Sammy and I ran into the building. Sammy’s dad followed. We got in line behind a wall of people. I turned and watched Sammy’s dad walk towards us, his head hung low, his feet shuffled. I think I might have felt sorry for him, but Sammy was so excited that I couldn’t stop listening to anything he was saying.
“Come on, dad!” Sammy yelled and some of the older folks turned and looked at us as if we were dogs that had been let off of their leashes. “Let’s get our money! How much did we win?”
Sammy’s dad suddenly smiled as he stared at the two of us. Then, he told us, “You two hang back here and I’ll cash our ticket.”
We waited as Sammy’s dad took his time finding the line he wanted to get into. I started wondering why he had decided to get into the longest line. Then, I put it together, he wanted to waste time, to think about what he was going to do next, but I wasn’t going to say anything because Sammy was my friend and I didn’t want to make him feel bad.
Sammy kept looking around, staring at everybody, and making jokes. “You know who that is?” he’d ask me and then he’d hit me in the shoulder and slyly point to an old woman or an old man.
“Who?” I’d ask.
“Yo Mama!” he’d say and then he’d laugh. I’d laugh along with him even though I didn’t think it was funny. It didn’t make any sense either since some of the old people were men and there was no way my mamma could be confused with a man. Still, I sort of got why Sammy kept doing it. He was nervous about something and even though he wasn’t sure what it was, I had a good idea of what it was and I felt sorry for him.
A hurricane is nothing compared to what Sammy was going through at the racetrack. I know, I know, how can I say that? Well, I can say it because it’s true. There’s disappointment of the kind that you can’t control. The kind that comes down from heaven or comes up from hell. It rips you to shreds like a mad dog on a steak whether it comes from above or below, but then there’s the kind of disappointment that just comes at you in small rips, like paper cuts. A hurricane is from heaven or hell, washing away most living things, but washing away all of the trash too. But Sammy’s dad? He was like those small rips, those paper-cuts, the kind that keeps bleeding no matter what you try to do to stop it from bleeding. That was Sammy’s dad, a never-ending paper cut.
He finally came back to us. “Keeping the money safe in my back pocket!” he said and he smacked his own ass.
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and they're off! stories from the racetrack