Finished Line

Federal indictments. Drugging. Lowbrow culture. Hollywood Greyhound Track is for the dogs.

Roberto's perfecta picks are in the ballpark tonight. He may not be hot, but he's definitely warm. The problem is, he's got no cash reserves, always a few dollars from bust. Toward the end of the night, he decides on 1, 4, and 6 as the likely first-, second-, and third-place winners in the next race. He wants to bet a trifecta, but he's short a dollar. He frets enough minutes away that the race begins. Thirty seconds later, the one dog rushes across the finish line, followed by the four, then the six. Roberto, standing close to the giant-screen TV near the snack bar, smacks his program against his hand and crumples.

Larry is as cheerful as ever. "If he'd played 1, 4, 6 for two bucks, watch what he gets," he says, awaiting the trifecta payout to appear on the TV set. "He didn't play, so he's out."

"It paid $295," Maxine chirps.

Larry roars with laughter. "He had the numbers! But if you don't play, you don't get paid. Why didn't you call me? I would've given you a dollar."

Roberto mumbles.

"I would have given it to you. I've given it to you before."

"These are bad days," Roberto murmurs.

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