Baltimore, Maryland, May 12, 2015
“They sure have let this place go to hell, haven’t they?”
Iggy said that. I’m sure that’s not his real name, or not his full name. Given ‘Iggy’, my guess would be Isaac or Ishmael, but I didn’t probe for better information. He was sitting one seat away from me in the cheap seats, close enough to chat, but not too intimate. Which was well, since Iggy stank. Not like a man who had showered that morning, then worked up a sweat before stopping at the track on the way home. No, he stank like a man who hasn’t worked in a month and hasn’t bathed in two.
“My pops started bringing me here when I was a kid, on the days I got to stay at his house. It seemed like high style back then, the gambling elite. But they haven’t put a dime back into the business since then.”
That was an exaggeration, but not an outrageous one. We were watching horse racing by simulcast at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, home of the Preakness Stakes, and everything in the place seemed to be old and dirty and badly maintained. No skin off my nose. You can leave your bankroll in a carpet joint just as easily as in a sawdust joint, and I lost my gamble a couple of years ago anyway. But I can’t walk past an open race track or sports book without stopping in to handicap the handicappers, and Iggy was a prime specimen of degenerate gamblitude.
“Fuckin’ kikes have let this whole neighborhood go to shit.”
I had no idea how to react to that. Iggy was Jewish, I (more…)