The return of the dangerous lady...
GRETA AT THE TRACK
Teddy knew the track like it was the back of his hand. He knew when the races started without even looking at the Racing Form. He knew which horses would race better in various conditions just by looking at them. And he knew the quickest way to the window to avoid the crowd and place his bet.
What he didn't know how to do was win. Frequently, he found himself where he was right now: on the phone with a loanshark.
"Charlie," he said into the receiver, "you know I'm good for it. Come on. Yeah, yeah, well, fuck you, too!" He slammed the receiver down and put his hands in his pockets as he walked away from the pay phone. He still had a hundred and eighty or so, enough to place one last bet.
The six in the next race looked good and he let all of it ride on this one horse.
Returning to his seat, he was startled when a tall blonde slid into the chair next to his. She was wearing a white halter dress with a hem that came to rest just above her knees; one was wrapped in an Ace bandage. She had her hair tied back in a ponytail with a white ribbon. She crossed her legs, looked over at Teddy and smiled.
Maybe my luck is changing, Teddy thought.
The bell rang and the horses were out of the gate, with the number six leading the pack. Teddy jumped to his feet and screamed his lungs out. Around the first turn, the six was still leading the pack. Down the backstretch, Six was pulling away from the field, three lengths then five and then seven around the third turn.
"Go, you son of a bitch!" Teddy yelled.
The hundred-eighty that Teddy had put down would pay three-to-one. He'd be back on his feet, just in time for tomorrow's big one. Fuck Charlie and his fucking cash, Teddy would make it on his own.
Coming down the stretch, Six was ahead by ten lengths, then twelve, then sixteen. It was no contest. At the wire, it was a twenty length win for the six. And for Teddy.
"Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Teddy turned around, beamed at the blonde, who had never left her feet and appeared bored out of her skull.
"Did you see that?" he asked her. "Twenty goddamn lengths and I rake in at three-to-one."
"Really?" the blonde asked.
"Yep," Teddy said and then excused himself as he rushed off to the pay window.
Ten minutes later, counting his cash, the blonde approached him again.
"Thank you," she said, taking the money from his hands.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" This was insane. Who did this bitch think she was, stealing his hard won earnings?
"Charlie says hello," she said, as she grabbed his right index finger and bent it backward.
"Ow, Christ!" Teddy screamed and bent foward, cradling his hand against his gut. He drew the attention of more than a few in line to place a bet.
"Sshhh," the blonde said, her voice calm and soothing. She took the ribbon from her hair and tied it around Teddy's dislocated finger. "This is a reminder of what you still owe. I'd get that looked at as soon as possible." She patted his shoulder and started to walk away.
"Tell my brother, uh, shit," Teddy said, playing around with his finger, trying to put it back in its socket. "Tell Charlie he'll get it all back."
"Yeah," the blonde said. "That's what they all say."
BIO: Christopher Grant is the owner and editor of A Twist Of Noir. His fiction has appeared on the now-defunct DZ Allen's Muzzle Flash, as well as Powder Burn Flash, The Flash Fiction Offensive and here at Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers.