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


  1. Keith I adore this humourous piece here and think I am going to kiff it for the short story blog. :)

  2. That was so well written. I was there!

  3. I thought for sure he was going to leave and be called back to be told he actually won! Your ending was much better. great writing!
    I tagged u on my blog, of course NO Pressure buddy! xo

  4. I love this! Cleverly written, but the ending was quite unexpected which added to the enjoyment. I can quite believe it could have been a true story.

  5. I love this! Cleverly written, but the ending was quite unexpected which added to the enjoyment. I can quite believe it could have been a true story.

  6. Pretend it was two million!

  7. everything you had huh? love it :)

  8. damn! i wanted him to win!!!!!

  9. Ah yes the ups and dreadful downs of the gambling life. Good post Keith and different from everyone else's take on the prompt so far. Good on you.

  10. I read this one at a gallop to get to the ending. Great writing here!

  11. Some good writing there. But Rosey is better.


    I knew instantly

  12. I hate to tell you this Keith, but I am visiting Rosie first these days. :)

    As for the is all relative isn't it? In this day and age we are finding out what "betting it all" REALLY means.

    Loved it!


  13. Great story Keith I speeded my reading I was so curious what would happen. .

  14. didnt see the ending coming :)...I was sure he would loose, but not 2 pounds lol

  15. This was funny and exciting. I enjoyed the ending. And I didn't feel sorry for the people in the bar...trying to horn in on a good thing.

  16. this little ditty created a performance all its own... you made it possible for me to see the whole scene.. that was quite an accomplishment..

  17. Maybe the next one will be a sure win? You'll probably know in an instant. Again.

  18. I knew he was going to win - just knew it... Nicely written, as always!

  19. :)

    that was a fun read...


  20. (HI new one here from Sun. Scribblings)
    My heart was a poundin' all the way through...certainly glad you "were poor" that day! Now I'm smiling at your pluck and "luck."

  21. That's a great story, especially for one who lives in a horse racing state! (I've only been to one horse race. I lost $5.)



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