Monday, July 27, 2009


The line was long and posted with many warnings and advertisements. I knew I shouldn't be here, but I just had to if I wanted to see the Last Event. I had my ticket in my hand and a large mobile phone in my pocket - surely I could get out of here alive. The floor was sticky from years of alcohol, blood and the last tears of those many losers who had too much of the former and too little of the latter. A chime went off and outside a huge window that covered the length of one wall horses sprung from their gates, cheered on by the swarm of desperates. I hate crowds for they depress me and make me cynical. The truth is that not everyone at the race-day was a desperate, there were nice people here, social people who simply wanted to go out and spend their money in a creative and entertaining way - they should not be punished for their sociality. But they will be.

The line moves along slightly and I look down at my ticket, my girlfriend and I won the last race, or came second or something, which meant that I had to line up and collect "winnings". In truth, we were far behind. The room was filled to almost bursting with people. It must have been a special day for racing or something as there was little room for moving about. Anyone who wanted to go to the toilet or to the bookie's booth had to try to shove their way though, leaving a wake of people like a knife dragged through dirty dish liquid. There were tables and chair's here that looked like they'd been stolen from train-station waiting areas or the very dingiest of beer gardens. A couple of sheets of butcher’s paper had been taped to the tables in an effort to give it a semblance of that restaurant look. Every now and then you'd see a whole table would rise and leave one guy who was designated table holder and make their way to the huge yellow-light buffet which held tubs of McCain’s chips, lasagna and basically everything else that can be cooked in a commercial oven and left under a heat lamp for five hours without losing it's golden glow. I hadn't yet been brave enough to assault the buffet yet. I’d have to wait until I got a bit drunker. My girlfriend is down there at the window sitting at the best table in the house that we'd reserved by arriving a full hour early. Her unknowing friends always commented on our luck.

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