Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Getting Your Money Back

You slide your card into the ATM machine and attempt to withdraw cash, only to find that your account is empty.  Something is wrong, as just yesterday, you had $5,000 in it.  Only one person you know could be responsible for this - and without hesitation, you are off to confront that person and get your money back. W.D.

I dialed her number as I sped down the freeway.  The phone kept going straight to her voicemail so I kept redialing.  I am sure I left many angry drivers in my wake as I merged across three lanes of traffic just so I would make it to my exit.  A few minutes later I was in her driveway.  I went to the porch and noticed a note pinned to the door.  At the track.

"She didn't,"  I thought as I went back to my car.

When I got to the track I went straight for her favorite spot.  Section C, seat 17.  There she was, biting her nails as the gates opened letting the horses loose on their short journey.  I startled her when I sat down next to her but she managed a smile.

"How much?" I asked her.

"All of it."  She replied confidently. "Look, she's already ahead of the pack!"  She was giggling with excitement as her pick was ahead of the rest of the pack by a significant margin.

Although I knew very little about horse racing I did understand the odds.  The favorite didn't pay very well and the underdog paid tons of money if it miraculously won a race.  My five thousand dollars were now a small stub worth either one hundred thousand dollars or -most likely- absolutely nothing.

My anxiety grew as I noticed a second horse inching its way closer to the leader.  By the last stretch they were neck to neck, the jockeys exchanging mean dirty looks, the horses doing their best, feeding off of each other, together leaving the rest of the pack behind.  The tension thickened in the stands.  The usual chatter became a roar.  By now, my beautiful thief was standing next to me unable to contain her excitement.  As if prompted by her, everyone in attendance got out of their seats.

I covered my eyes and almost instantly the crowd cheered.  The race was over.  The voice in the loudspeaker said it was one of the closest races he had ever seen and the official winner would be determined shortly by the photo taken at the finish.  When the picture appeared on the TV screens it was evident that my horse won the race.

I picked up my girlfriend by the waist in happiness only to notice she was not smiling.  When I put her down she pulled a five thousand dollar check from her pocket and handed it to me.

"What's this?" I asked.

"I never made the bet," she said.  "I couldn't go through with it.  I didn't want to disappoint you again."

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