Sonja wanted to go shopping. We went shopping. Went to the outlet mall in Fort Royal. I did not want to go shopping but I took the only advice Hunky Z ever gave me. "Whatever the woman wants, she gets. An unhappy woman is a dangerous thing."
Traffic was light. Hopefully people are driving a little less on the weekends because of the oil companies raising their prices yet again.
I did not go shopping myself. Just about all the stores in malls are for women. And the men's stores are for men with no sense of style. I took the Hammer for a walk by the river instead. Even though it could not be more surrounded by human development, it is a pretty spot. Millions of dollars worth of timber was floating nearby, tied up to the rusty, bird shit drool steel pilings. Thick-barked Douglas fir sawlogs; weather beaten bundles of western red cedar; and high floating bundles of Cypress pecker poles. The green gold that has paid my family's bar bills for decades.
We met a man and his dog while we were there. He had rescued his dog. Said, "For months the poor little fucker would cower every time somebody opened a beer near him but now he's great." Beer drinkers get blamed for everything. The man's dog and the Hammer knew each other's language: the language of let's have some fun.
Our walk done, my dog and I returned to the car at the time Sonja had agreed she too would return. We waited patiently. Then we waited impatiently. As we waited we watched people in the parking lot. Mostly it was women in pairs. They went store to store, locking their purchases in their cars as they criss-crossed their way around the mall.
There was one guy I remember too. Had an actual size poker hand tattoo'd to the side of his neck. What kind of a fuckhead would do that?
From the mall we went to the racebook located in the nearby casino for dinner. The cavernous pub was almost empty thanks to our screwy government's hatred of beer drinkers. Most of the Santa Anita Handicap card had already been run. We had made it to the racebook in time for the last three races.
I put a bet down on the eighth, my selection finished well back, and we ordered drinks and food. Service was fast. I like that. I then bet the next race, the Santa Anita Handicap. One of the better races held each year in America, eleven very good horses were entered. I liked the horse in the outside gate. Named Game On Dude and ridden by Canada's best jockey, Manitoban Chantal Sutherland, his previous race, a preparation for the $750,000 stakes race, looked very impressive to me.
Three horses, including the one I bet on, pinballed down the stretch in the lead. It was a real cowboy race. The favourite, bounced between the horses at his side, took the worst of it, and faded to fifth. My horse, also thrown off-stride, was passed by the horse that I believe started the mid-stretch jostling, but came again in the final couple hundred yards to win by a nose.
I cheered. Everybody looked at me. What kind of fuckhead would bet the eleven? There was an inquiry into the cause of the physical conduct of the race. The crowd felt certain the order of the race would be changed. The crowd is the true fuckhead. The finish order of the race was upheld after a twelve minute inquiry into the race by the race stewards. The crowd boo'd like a wrestling crowd boos a competitor outfitted as an Iranian.
Sonja asked me, "What were his odds?"
"14-1," I told her. She gave me a high five.
Some weekends are better than others.