Hi all. Continuing my 'Art plus story theme' This month we have yet another superb painting by the artist Theo Michael called 'The Sure Bet'. Along with it is my short story, my interpretation, my inspiration as I look at the painting. If you like this painting, go to Theo's website: www.artbytheomichael.com where you will find it plus many other master pieces. I hope you enjoy.
The Sure Bet
Mark Stanton is one of societies unfortunates. His disabilities, i.e. Heart disease and Lung disease from many years of smoking, has left him incapable of working for a living. He can’t do any physical work and academically he was stunted. And although he collected a small allowance from the state, it was never enough to give him the freedom he so desired.
Mark sat at his kitchen table with his cup of coffee and flicked through his newspaper. He eventually came to the sports pages and the horse racing section. A large headline caught his eye: ‘THE SURE BET’. It was a column written by a Donald Bevan and it was simply his pick of the day that in his opinion was a sure bet. Today’s horse was “RADISH” in the 2.30 at Gloucester. The odds were 2 to 1 in your favour. As far as Donald was concerned, you could do a lot worse than have a flutter on this horse.
Mark wasn’t a gambling man particularly, but this had caught his interest. “Hmm, could be a way to supplement my income”, he thought to himself. This is how gamblers are born! Mark dug deep into his pockets and fished out the princely sum of 9.25 Euros. This is all he had until his benefit arrived tomorrow. He finished his coffee and set off to his local betting shop with paper in hand. On arrival, the man at the counter helped him fill out a betting slip.
“So you want 4 Euros on RADISH to win?” he confirmed.
“Yes please,” answered Mark.
RADISH flew home giving Mark a profit of 8 Euros. He was elated!
Mark put all his trust in Donald Bevan’s ‘Sure Bets’ for a further four days and before he knew it he was 130 Euros ahead. On the fifth day Mark had decided that the whole lot was going on today’s ‘Sure Bet’ ‘HOLY SMOKE’. He had convinced himself that he would win. “After all I had nothing in the first place” he had thought. HOLY SMOKE romped home! Mark was now 500 Euros richer. That was it, a gambler was born!
Today Mark was going to Newmarket race course and he was taking his 500 Euros with him. He had never been to a race course before. He felt the atmosphere, the smells and the bustling of excited people. He stood and watched a couple of races with interest and was in awe of all around him. He got chatting to a young man that was standing by the side of him. He told him that it was his first time and that he didn’t know where to place a bet. The young man explained that he could go into the course building and bet at the counter or place a bet with one of the independent bookies around the track. Mark had come to specifically bet on Donald Bevan’s ‘Sure Bet’, the horse was called FEDORA, but he wasn’t running just yet. Mark was getting very excited at placing a bet so he asked the young man what he was betting on in this next race.
“BLUE PEARL” he answered positively. “Can’t lose!” he added.
So Mark put 250 Euros on BLUE PEARL.....it won!! Mark was now holding nearly a 1000 Euros and it was all going on FEDORA.
The young man asked Mark what he fancied in this next race, the one FEDORA was running in.
“FEDORA! It’s a sure bet” said Mark smiling.
“Yes I fancy that one too, but I’m going inside to place my bet they seem to be offering better odds” said the young man. “Want me to put yours on?” he asked Mark.
“Yeah sure, here all of it on the nose FEDORA to win” said Mark as he handed over the money.
The man disappeared into the crowd and into the building. Meanwhile the race had started and Mark watched with great anticipation and enthusiasm as FEDORA ran a full two lengths in front. The horses were approaching the finish line and as they did, a horse called DIAMOND GEEZER passed FEDORA and won by a head!
Mark was devastated! He propped himself up by leaning on the fence and held his head with both hands. He was experiencing for the first time what it felt like to lose. Suddenly he realised that the young man had not returned! “He has run off with my money”, thought Mark. A double dose of disappointment, he had lost either way. Mark slowly walked away from the track and into the crowd heading for the exit. He walked straight into the young man who was running towards him. Out of breath he stopped in front of Mark.
“Sorry mate, I couldn’t place our bets on time, too many people. Did he win, did he win?” asked the young man.
Mark grinned from ear to ear and sighed with relief.
“No he didn’t!”
“So much for your ‘sure bet’ then, said the young man almost mocking him.
“Looks like the only sure bet is that eventually you are certain to lose!”
Mark retrieved his money from the young man and went home cured!!
Until next month, stay well and be happy. xxx
Well you know I'm an Author, so you keep reading, and I will keep writing :)