By Patricia Crandall.
Jeff Croynin, disguising his wrestler’s physique and kewpie doll face under a security guard uniform, was ushering Race Mueller into the bowels of the Wilmington Dog Track. The vast, echoing chamber was black, damp and empty, with the exception of several luminous monitors leaning against a wall. These sensitive devices were timed to release the greyhounds from their gates to chase Oscar the bunny.
A weaselly man with a spritzed mustache, Mueller exuded confidence as he removed tools from a pouch attached to his western belt. At once, he set to work arranging the timing mechanisms of the favorite greyhound, Buginshoe, and the least favorite, Cutsie Poo.
At precisely one twenty P.M., while leaning against the chain-link fence separating the spectators from the greyhound racers, Race and Jeff gave the thumbs-up sign to each other at the frenzied sound of the crowd in the clubhouse and thumping of feet on the bleachers. The board had just registered a photo inquiry. It was not long after that Cutsie Poo was listed as winner of the second race, paying exorbitant amounts to long shot ticket holders and shocking those confident in their bets otherwise.
Late that evening, when the hoot of an owl was the only sound to be heard at an outdoor phone booth near the Massachusetts stadium, Jeff Croynin placed a call to California.
“I assume Buginshoe won the race,” said a deep, steely voice to his better in New England. Ian Dawes, comedienne/tycoon, was contemplating the large advance of money he had forwarded to Jeff to bet on the favorite for the purpose of bolstering his dwindling fortune.
“Yessir,” Croynin lied.
“Whew,” sighed the celebrity, adjusting the neck-piece he wore over a white, silk tee-shirt. “Now I can tell the producer nagging me to be a guest on corny game shows where to go and it won’t be to Heaven. Thanks pal…I’ll pass you a token!”
Croynin calculated that due to a frantic work schedule, his client would not learn of his losses for several hours. He grinned at Race fanning a thick green wad, having already cashed in the winning tickets.
PATRICIA CRANDALL has published numerous articles and short stories in various magazines and newspapers. She has five books in print, Melrose, Then And Now, a historical volume, I Passed This Way, a poetry collection, The Dog Men, a thriller, and Tales of an Upstate New York Bottle Miner, non-fiction, and Pat’s Collectibles, a collection of short stories. She lives with her husband, Art, at Babcock Lake in the Grafton Mountains near Petersburgh, New York. Visit her at authorpcrandall.blogspot.com