Friday, December 12, 2008
Nellie the Nag
I knew instantly that it was wrong. An alarm rang in my head warning me not to do it, but in the back of my mind something told me it was worth the gamble. So I decided that I would.
I went along the road, up the hill and round the bend. Then over the bridge, through the gate and across the park. Past the pub, by the church and into the mall.
Still that little voice in my head said no, but all the time there was a chance I simply had to take the risk.
I strode into the betting shop, puffed out my chest and with a confident air strode up to the counter.
“I’ll put everything I have on Nellie the Nag in the nine nineteen at Newmarket” I said. “Every single penny”. Everyone else in the shop heard me and immediately thought that I must know something that they didn’t. A queue formed and one by one each of the customers staked some money on Nellie.
The bookie's eyes lit up. It was a rank outsider with odds of ninety nine to nine. The race was about to start. I sat myself down and fixed my gaze on the TV screen. They were off!
Out of the stalls, down the straight and around the curve. Rush to the first, jump the hedge, and down again. Nellie is last, dropping behind and looking tired. I turn away, cover my eyes and switch off my ears.
Suddenly I am aware of shouting and cheering. I part my fingers, peer through them at the screen and realise that Nellie the Nag is coming up the outside. She is gaining fast and there are just three fences to jump before the home straight and victory.
Clear over one, scraped over two and high over three.
I was on the edge of my seat and bouncing up and down in time with her galloping. Everyone was calling out and yelling “Nellie, Nellie, Nellie”
It all became a blur. I shut my eyes and when I opened them again the race was over. The silence was deafening. I knew instantly that my horse has lost. I had lost and so had everyone else.
As I was leaving I heard one of the others ask the bookie how much I’d gambled on Nellie the Nag. “Everything he had” he answered with a smile on his face. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and with my head bowed I started to wander home.
I walked out of the mall, by the church and past the pub. Across the park, through the gate and over the bridge. Round the bend, down the hill and along the road.
I knew I should have listened to that little voice. Thank goodness I only had two pounds on me when I threw caution to the wind and put it all on Nellie the Nag.
Please visit Roseys take on this prompt. It's HERE