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Note: This first page submission was marked “romance” and is presented as the author requested.
She was a hot chick in a red dress. I could smell the faint odor of last night’s sex on her, a combination of smoke, booze, and semen. I loved that smell, disgusting and sexy at the same time, all too familiar for guy like me. She looked a bit worried, but used to it. Makeup wasn’t quite perfect, but did she care? I certainly didn’t.
We had been sitting next to each other at the bar, awkwardly pretending not to notice one another. She seemed far away, distant, I tried not to stare. Me? I had just dropped two hundred dollars on a losing horse in the Kentucky Derby, leaving me with about twenty, my last twenty. Run for the Roses? Fat chance for this asshole! Another bourbon and a shot at the tragic blonde in the aforementioned red dress was all I had left, except for the stained and poorly fitting suit I was wearing. Armani himself would punch me in my drunken face if he saw the condition of this once beautiful and well tailored garb.
“Fuck it.” I thought to myself, as I lit my 27th cigarette of the day. Or was it my 26th? “Jesus, I’m getting to old for this shit.” I mumbled, dropping my forehead gently into my calloused and slightly arthritic hand. I could hear the words of my Grandfather: “Never bet the track,” he would say, “they’ll burn you every time.” I took a deep breathe, looked over at the hot chick sitting next to me, she was looking back.
“Hi, how are you doing tonight?” Her voice was sexy, a bit rough yet feminine. It sounded like years of needing coffee to get excited and how the hell did my life come to this?
“Lose money too?” I asked. “On what?” she replied. “The Derby.” “Oh I don’t really get into that kind of stuff,” she answered. “You know, betting and races?” “Smart,” I replied.
“Smarter than I am,” I thought to myself. I had watched the race earlier at a joint down the street. The betting patrons were gathered around the old TV at the end of the bar, screaming at their hopefuls, as if the horses could feel their urges and heed their demands. I sat quietly at the back of the room, shaking my head slowly as the horse I bet on lost it on the backstretch. He was close, we both were. Not close enough.
“How much did you lose?” She asked, bringing me back to the moment. “Too much to make it a topic of conversation,” I responded, shaking my head and looking down at my drink.
“Well, what should we talk about?” She replied, turning toward me slightly. Her left leg was draped over the right. She rested her left arm on the back of her barstool, twirling a chewed pink straw between the fingers of her right hand. The black polish on her fingernails looked old, chipped. We talked for a while, about what I can’t remember. She was nice, relaxed. I liked her easy going style. She laughed at the right times and moved with graceful ease when she gestured. Things seemed to be going fine until: “Oh great!” She said, “Time to go.”
“Not on my account I hope?” I said, trying not to sound desperate for her to stay. “No not you, you’re actually the one asshole who hasn’t, well, acted like an asshole towards me tonight.” “Now that’s my kind of compliment!” I thought to myself amused. “I guess that means we’re leaving together, yes?” “Yes,” she said. “Yeah, let’s get out of here.”