“I’ve dropped 60 at Golden Gate Fields. Hitchhiking back to San Anselmo it begins lightly raining. A cowboy in a silver Dodge work van picks me up outside San Quentin. I’m thinking now I’m down to 30. He’d gone to the track once. He’d tapped out by the seventh. The guy that took him didn’t want to leave until after the ninth. He told this guy he’d wait out in the car. He went out and after the ninth his friend comes out, breaks a two by four off one of the parking barricades, and starts in on the car with it. He’d jumped out, got hit, had his arm and jaw broke. He’s laying on the ground, near unconsciousness, when the police arrive, arrest him, and book him for willful assault on private property before taking him to Emergency. The friend isn’t arrested, saying all I know is we both went broke but he left after the seventh and I just got out here; he musta gone crazy. At Bay Meadows, just before the end of the fall meet, leaning on the rail watching the horses being walked around in the saddling paddock before going out to post, the sixty-year-old man next to me, nicely dressed in a conservative gray suit and expensive-looking shoes, turns to me and quietly says I lost it all, his face choked-looking and sick. Hell, I tell him, it’s all right, you’ll make it back. No, he says, you don’t understand, I lost it all, all of it, everything. That’s what I’m thinking about while the cowboy tells me his story. Getting out in San Rafael, I start walking toward Fourth Street to hitch into San Anselmo. The only thing I can come up with to tell Carol is that I can’t trade off, well, whatever it is, right, you know what I’m talking about, for love and rent any longer. Or else not say anything, just get my gear and adios it. Maybe it’s just that easy. It probably is.”
“We were together three and a half years. I kept asking her to marry me. She said no, ask me some time when you’re serious! What the hell, I was serious! Then one day for no reason she decides she wants to live alone. Why? I ask her. It feels too close, she says. She thinks about me too much, she says, it takes up too much of her time. What the hell, you know! Women are weird, they don’t know what the fuck they want. It wasn’t another guy she said. I thought it was. So, anyway, I drove her down to Long Beach, her family and friends are there. So there I am in a strange town, eighty bucks in my pocket, no job, no place to live. I know I can’t stay there cause it’s her town, right, so I drive along the coast and end up here in the same fix, no job, no place to live, knowing no one, and even less money. Me and my dog slept in the van for a month, scuffling around trying to get up enough money for a place to rent. Then I met Fred here and started working steady. Man, you don’t know how to relate to chicks, you know, you’ve been out of circulation so long you don’t know what to say to them. So I start going out and it starts coming back. And then about six months later, man, I’m doing good, got a hot new lady, a place, a few bucks in my pocket, things are looking up and bang, there’s a knock on my door! Out of the blue! It’s her. She wants to come back. Well, I don’t know, I’m not missing her so much, you know, I’m not so sure I want her back, but I let her in. She gets knocked-up right away. We get married and now we’ve got a little son.
It’s weird, but it seems like when you want them they don’t want anything to do with you, they only want you when you don’t want them. And another thing I’ve noticed, if you really want to score just slip a wedding band on. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve been propositioned since we’ve gotten married. It never happened before. Right here at work, man. In this garage. Women are doing that to me all the time now.