|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
The Sure Bet
Mel ripped the ticket into little pieces. Dropping them one-by-one, he watched them scatter as they landed around his feet. Suddenly, Del-Mar was hot and dusty. A beautiful sunny Sunday had become an inferno, and he felt like crying.
Cigar had lost. A horse with sixteen strait wins! How could it loose? Easy, he bet on it. The odds weren't long, it was a sure bet, and he needed a win. Mel was sure, just one lousy win would turn things around. That's why he had put almost every cent he had on Cigar. Main Threat, a long shot, finished first.
With ten dollars left to his name, Mel quit the track and headed for the local bar.
He was only a block away from the track when a brown, mid seventies, Ford LTD cut him off, forcing him over to the curb. The passenger, a short stocky fellow in a tan suit, "helped" Mel out of his car.
"Hey, easy Louis! I was only going to the sport bar for a drink."
"Forget the bar Mel, your horse lost, and I want my money."
Mel ran his hands through his hair, for a moment it looked like he would start pulling it out by the handfuls. "Aww Jesus! Louis, you know I need a little time to come up with the cash. Couldn't you tell them it was a layoff bet? You know, I've always been good for the money before."
Louis smiled, he loved it when a fish took the bait. "Sorry Mel, you already owe thirty-five hundred. I can't carry you any longer. But see'n that you always were good in the past, I'll give you a 6 for 5 loan. That's twenty percent a week, and the payment is due at one o'clock Friday, no excuses."
"Sure Louis. Look I really appreciate this, I'll have your money on Friday for sure."
Louis grabbed Mel by the lapels. "Yeah, sure, one o'clock, not a minute after got it!"
"Yeah, I got it." Mel's mind was reeling, how could he come up with the money by Friday.
Fired from his job for theft, his wife filing for divorce, sleeping in his car for the last week, eight hundred and forty dollars, it might as well be a million.
He thought of robbery, but he wasn't a violent person. Mel was screwed, and he knew it. All he'd done is buy a little more time before his knees were broken, or worse.
One o'clock friday came and went. Mel didn't show up. Louis hated it when he had to go looking for a deadbeat. "That Mel, you try to do a favor for someone, and this is how they treat ya. Carl, when I find that little shit, I'm gonna sell every stinken drop of his blood to the blood bank."
Carl was Louis's strong arm, a small quiet guy, that liked to hurt people.
Mel, having no money for gas, had sold his car. He paid off his bar tab, and drank the remainder of the three hundred dollars it had brought him. He remembered his appointment with Louis a little bit late, three hours late to be exact. But decided he'd walk over to the Flower shop that Louis ran his operation from. No point in making him angry.
Mel had just stepped out of the bar when the LTD jumped the curb, and screeched to a halt.
Carl got out of the drivers side carrying a baseball bat. Mel blanched. "I was just on my way to see you guys, really! I was..." His voice trailed off.
Carl chuckled. "Oh yeah, that's why we found you here, after waiting for three hours at the shop. Mel, you're a nice guy, why don't you just lie down so I can get it over with? It'll hurt just as much, but at least you won't hit you're head on the pavement after I break your legs."
The rear passenger side window on the brown sedan rolled down, and just as Carl was winding up, there was a shout. "Hey! Carl, forget that! We're taking Mel for a ride." Carl grabbed Mel and pushed him into the front passenger seat of the car.
Louis slapped Mel across the back of the head. "Hey Mel, you look nervous, no reason to be nervous. I'm gonna give you another chance to pay back all that money you owe me. Even though you don't deserve it." The car pulled into an alleyway.
"C'mon Louis, please don't kill me!" Mel sobbed. Louis started to chuckle. "Oh no, I won't kill you. You're gonna win back every cent you owe me...with interest. If you don't, next time you lose, Carl will break your legs." Mel relaxed, he was sure they were going to kill him but what's the point, it was hopeless to beg anymore.
Louis chuckled again. "OK, Carl take us to the track."
Del-Mar, they were heading for the track, Mel's hopes began to rise. Maybe he was going to live after all. He felt a sharp sting on the side of his neck, then everything went black.
"C'mon Carl help me get him into a stall before he starts to change." Carl grunted as he lifted Mel by the shoulders. "Gee, he's heavy. Think he'll be able to run?"
Lousi shrugged. "Who knows, he better. Otherwise, like I said, your gonna break his legs."
Once Mel was in the stall Louis and Carl hung around watching him change. "Ya know Carl, I really think this is one of the best fixes in racing. I mean, if I want him to loose he'll loose. If I tell him to win, well he'd better win or else, and he knows it. I think Mel will do OK."
"Well, he's almost done, looks good too! He should thank me for this, an old sop like him turning into a young thorobreed."
Mel was just coming to when he heard Louis say. "Carl, You wait here until he comes around, I'm gonna go have a talk with Cigar."
He wanted to scream when he realized how great a fool he'd been. "Neigh!"
The Sure Bet copyright 1996 by Jack deMule.
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