A Day At The Races

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This was fun, he thought. He had never watched live horseracing before, so when his latest belle suggested they go to The Curragh for the day to watch her father’s horse run, why not? The promise of a champagne picnic had simply sweetened the deal.

“Molly’s Folly?”, he repeated. “What race is it in?”

“Oh, dad said she was not running until 4:15. We’ve got hours yet. I tell you what, why don’t we have some fun and place some bets in the meantime?”

So they spent the next twenty minutes studying form. Had Padraig been there on his own, it would have been quicker – he could just about tell the front of a horse from its rear, but Aisling had been around horses her whole life. Having made their choice, a good each way bet, whatever that was, Aisling sent him off to place the bet.

“£20 on Grandpa’s Winter Woolies, please” as he reached the bookie. “Is that to win?” came the response. Padraig was baffled – of course it’s to bloody win! Would he really be placing a bet on a horse to lose? Thinking on his feet, the bet was made and he returned to Aisling.

At racetime, they turned their attention to the track. “Which one is ours?” he asked. “The guy with the gold sash”, came the response. The jockey was wearing a colourful maroon shirt, with a striking gold diagonal on it. Padraig watched him disappear into the stall, and a minute later they were off.

“They’ll be a few minutes, yet”, warned Aisling, as they jumped the first hurdle. The race is over two miles, so get comfortable.

With a mile to go, they were both glued to events on the track. Padraig couldn’t believe it – Winter Woollies was right up there, in a clutch of four horses. His first race, and already he had picked a winner. Coming up to the last hurdle. they were too close to call.

They saw a horse come crashing down, but which horse?

Padraig showed visible disappointment as he realised that his rider was no longer to be seen in amongst the three running horses.

And learned a valuable lesson – it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Married Life

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He hated this. This was the worst part of his job, thought Mark. Processing all the numbers. When he had quit working at the gym, to start a career freelancing, nobody had told him how difficult this would be.

Now, here he was, lying in bed, dreading the task ahead. “Ah, well, the sooner I’m started, the sooner it is over”. He made sure to get up quietly, so as not to disturb his partner, Carol, who lay gently snoring beside him.

Benjy, however, was another matter. As soon as he heard his master’s movement, he jumped up from his rug and sprinted out to the kitchen. For Benjy, breakfast could not come soon enough.

Mark went through to the kitchen, fed the dog, let him out into the garden, and fired up his computer. He stared at the hundreds of receipts lying waiting in a pile and groaned. Some of these were two year’s old, for God’s sake. Why hadn’t he taken his own advice, to enter them onto the computer as he went along? But the self-employed deadline was next week, and he had to get these numbers over to the accountant for first thing tomorrow, so he started plodding.

Almost two hours later, he heard movement in the bedroom, and Carol appeared. She padded over to their open-plan kitchen, decided that the coffee was no good, and put on a fresh pot. “Do you want a coffee?”, she chimed, cheerfully. “…nuh”, came the response. It had hardly registered with him.

She wandered over. “Good morning, gorgeous”, she chirped. “I said, would you like some coffee?” Mark snapped out of his trance. “Oh…. Er, no, thanks”, he muttered, adding, “look, I’ve got to get my accounts done this morning, so I’d appreciate some quiet.” He’d told her last night that this would happen, although Carol’s salaried job meant that she had little idea what he was doing – her employers took care of all her taxes. “Not to worry, darling, I’ll be as quiet as a mouse”, she uttered, as she ceremonially tiptoed back into the kitchen. After hearing sounds of breakfast, Mark heard Carol return to the bedroom. He looked up when ten minutes later, she reappeared in a leotard. “I’m just gonna do my exercises, but don’t worry, I’ll be really quiet.”

That was the trouble. Their apartment was essentially a lounge plus a bedroom, and since Lockdown, the lounge had become Carol’s gym. He heard the rebounder being locked into place, and then she started jumping. With her earbuds in, she was dead to the world, but with the noise, Mark found it hard to concentrate. But, wanting to keep the peace, he decided it was time for a coffee break, and went through to make a fuss of Benjy.

All coffee’d out, Mark reappeared when he heard the bouncing stop. He saw Carol, sweating now. “All done”, she panted, “how’re you getting on?” “Okay”, replied Mark, biting his lip. “Right”, Carol told him, “I’m gonna quickly jump in the shower, then I’m gonna crack on. Is there anything I can do for you?” “No, just keep the noise down”, reminded Mark.

After the shower, Carol padded through to the bedroom again, and reappeared, five minutes later, dressed.

“Right, I had it on my mind to fix Benjy’s kennel today. The way it bangs every time we have a breeze is really annoying me.” Mark grunted but did not tell Carol exactly what was annoying *him* right now. He pressed on.

He heard her remove their little toolbox from their utility cupboard, then figured he might get some peace, if she was going outside. He pressed on.

Five minutes later, he heard the kennel being dragged into the apartment. “It’s too bloody cold out there”, she explained. He pressed on.

When Mark heard the hammer crashing down on the kennel, Mark finally snapped. “WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP????”, he shouted at Carol.

Not used to being spoken to so rudely, Carol was aghast and angry. She picked up a screwdriver from the toolbox, and flung it in Mark’s general direction. Mark ducked. Carol then stormed past him, and out of the front door. He heard her car start and the car drive away.

Maybe now he’d get some peace?


I’m sorry, very long today, by my usual standards. But I wanted all the readers to be weary of her too, just like Mark was.

Progress

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That was it, the final piece of the jigsaw. He’d finally been able to buy up the old lighthouse, and at less than market value, too. Mere cookie crumbs. The former owner, Drew, had held out for so long, but that obstinate old fucker was now dead, and at the auction that very morning, Brad had finally been able to buy up the real estate on behalf of his client, Swindlers Inc.

Brad had already made some phone calls, intent on having the 200-year-old lighthouse demolished just as soon as possible. Once that was gone, the path was clear. Sure, they would encounter local opposition, but that could be bought off the way all opposition was bought off. They could then start work on the next phase of their project – their new, luxury apartment complex.

Feeling hungry today, he ordered a rare steak for his lunch, plus a bottle of finest Bordeaux. He silently raised his glass in a toast.

This had been a good day.

Fit to Drop

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My big break – and I’d just finished working a week of twelve-hour days. This was to be my reward – a Friday night out with the boys. I’d even figured how, just this once, I could escape from work a little early, so that I might have time to soak in the bathtub before we all met.

But it seemed that the rest of the world had had the same idea, and the traffic home was awful. Not the ideal start to the weekend. By the time I got home, I had to forego the soak. A quick shower was all I had time for – we were meant to meet at the restaurant at 7, and I would just about make it, but couldn’t dawdle. It would be good to catch up with my mates again, it seemed like I hadn’t seen them in ages since I’d started this new job.

When I arrived at the informal burger joint, I was only the second to arrive. John was already sitting there, perusing the menu, and George, Paul and Ringo arrived shortly afterwards. The beer flowed, and it was good to catch up with these guys, we had been mates since high school. The food, when it came, was pricey but delicious. That bun looked like it had half a cow in it!

By 10 o’clock, I was fit to drop, but the boys wanted to move on. What the hell? I had the whole weekend to recuperate. A short discussion, and we agreed on the Flamingo Wine Bar, five minutes away. In Flamingo terms, it was still very early, so we easily found a table to sit at. As the place started to fill, I just grew more tired. Paul’s voice caused me to snap awake, “Come on, soft lad, I’m getting the beers in. What are you having?”

And then I saw her.

Slow Day

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I’m not gonna provide a specific update on my eyes today, because I reckon they’re pretty much back to how they were. It’s a difficult one because, even before, they were far from perfect.

I remember last Tuesday, before anything happened, mentioning that I wasn’t sure about a couple of the photos, so winging it. I think I’ve got them all today, so I came up with this.

When I read it back it sounded kinda like the type of book I used to read my daughter, so don’t go expecting classic literature! It’s quite long, for me, but nice and lightweight.

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Jen had always loved writing, from High School, but it was only in the last couple of years that she had begun to label herself as a writer.

Her writing had been spotted by a TV studio, who had asked her to provide some lines for several shows. Seemingly, she passed the test, and had been invited to write more lines for one show in particular, a known sitcom, already with four seasons under its belt.

With financial success, she was able to rent some modest office space in Manhattan. One line of work generated more lines of work, and it was useful to be in close proximity to the action.

Jen’s personal life, however, was not so successful, and last year, having finally decided to give up on men, had bought herself a puppy. Mutt, as he was known, went everywhere with Jen, even coming into the city to spend the day guarding her at her office.

Jen’s star continued to ascend, and this summer she had followed the Bohemian path, and rented a summer house in East Hampton, for a full three months of summer. Jen had planned to use the quiet time to work on next season’s scripts.

Shortly after breakfast, the phone rang. A flap with the show. They were filming at the moment, the producers wanted to rewrite three scenes, and wanted the new scenes… yesterday!

“Sorry, buddy”, she said to Mutt, as she came off the phone, “you’re gonna have to amuse yourself today, until I get this done. Should only be a few hours.”

Bemused, Mutt watched his mum disappear into her study. He sat outside. He could wait this one out.

An hour later, and Mutt was fed up. He stretched himself, and got up to take a stroll around the house. The weather had been warm, and to his delight, Mutt found an open window in mum’s bedroom. He looked outside to the wisteria outside her window. I can easily make that, he thought, and jumped. From there, it was a mere hop onto the ground, and Mutt leapt out of the garden into the street outside.

What’s going on? he wondered. He tried their usual haunts. He scrounged a piece of cod from the fishmonger’s, who came out shouting when he realised that Mutt was unaccompanied.

Same result at Jones the butchers. “What were all these guys shouting about?”, thought Mutt, before resolving to find somewhere quieter. “I know”, he thought, “I’ll try the library. It’s always quiet there. Maybe I can go there and someone will play with me?”

He got to the library. They knew it well, and Jen often sought refuge here, just for a change of scenery. The librarian was busy, though, and ignored him. “Woof”. No response. “Woof, woof”, he barked, a little louder. The librarian looked up. “Shhhhh”, he said, “don’t you know to be quiet here? I’m busy sorting some books, so I can’t play today. Where’s your mum, anyway?” The librarian moved towards him, but Mutt was wary. He turned away, he’d give that one a miss, thank you.

Mutt ran straight down to the beach. Oh, yes! Some children were down there, playing beach volleyball. “Kids!”, thought Mutt, “they always like to have fun. They look like they’ll be up for a game.” Spying a neat row of the childrens’ shoes, Mutt thought, “Oh yes. They’ll do for a start. Where can I bury them?”