Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky Derby’

BAYOU SAINT BASIL, Fla

It was called the greatest sporting day in decades.

Vic down by the Bayou, investigating the latest raccoon atrocity.

Vic down by the Bayou, investigating the latest raccoon atrocity.

Cocktail hour comes early on Derby Day. Across the bog that moistens my doorstep, on the opposite shore, is Odin’s Spit, a filthy stretch of black-dirt beach spilling forth from the shade of pine trees like a fold of abdominal flesh overcoming a waistband. On any common weekday, the pontoon boats and jet-skis start to lineup around 6pm as the local swamp-folk finish toiling at the outlet shopping mall kiosks and return to Bayou St Basil to unwind with a good many cocktail and country music crooning in bathing attire that hasn’t looked good on them in 27 years, nearly half of their life ago. This, however, isn’t any common weekday; this day in question is a Saturday. Derby Day, no less.

It wasn’t half passed 7am before the droning buzz of jet-skis woke me from my recuperative slumber. Fell asleep outside again, holding onto a glass formerly containing what was likely a flavorful elixir of botanicals bathed in rum or gin. Whatever may had spilled on my Van Halen reunion tour shirt would have evaporated in the night to the din of the screeching sister-fucking raccoons clawing after Manchurian flavored Styrofoam containers thieved from nearby refuse containers. By 9am, Odin’s Spit is aflame with sunburnt bog people, brunching on cheap cinnamon candied-whiskies and fellatio-by-proximity.

I wouldn’t say there is a Derby Day tradition here at St Bas Trailer Park. For a while, the ruling matriarch Queen Georgia (God rest her blaspheming soul), set a standard with flamboyant hats and mint-julip inspired cocktails, which were little more than Bacardi & Sprite with green food coloring. Nonetheless, you’d hear Queen Georgia’s smoky-throated catcalls to the pontoon boat captains, “I feel like such a slutty debutante and I am as stoned as Mary-fucking-Magdalene!” I shouldn’t speak poorly of Queen Georgia. I still feel guilty about the words overheard by her widower’d boyfriend who collected her remains while in his sandals, jean shorts and prison-tattooed sleeves… prison tattooed arms despite his never spending more than weekends in jail for illegal possession or soliciting a minor.

One of the feral kids came by with a tin can full of pennies and started speaking the clicks and hoots of the language of birds he and the other feral bastards speak to each other. I tossed a disposed corn cob at the child and despite the projectile’s lack of edible kernels, the feral bastard was content to gnaw on the rind with his eerie shark teeth and leave me to my freshly brewed coffee.

“Derby Day, Boss.” One of the Jamaicans from next door happened by. He wanted to bet on horseflesh, as did I; but I don’t piss in my backyard, as it were. He hung around to share a cigarette, which I didn’t want, and to chat. All was bombocloth and other fuckery I didn’t understand. I asked him if he ‘Rasta’ with all dem dreads and he just shine a smile, laugh and ebb like slack tide.

derby dayLONGWOOD, Fla

I took the county bus towards Casselberry – hopping on the metro three stops further east than I needed to, hopping off two stops earlier than necessary, all to disassociate myself from a regular travelling pattern – and then walked the rest of the way towards the Jai Lai arena. There’s a Cuban sandwich joint I go to when I need to spend money to get money. I used to do the majority of my gambling in the back room at The Copper Rocket, but since the Governor shut them down, I have been something of a gambling vagabond having brief, illicit, one-night affairs with various bookies of varying degrees of sketchy aftershave. Manulito is a cool fucking cat. He’s old enough to have ears like satellite dishes. They say the ears and the nose keep growing the older you get and this Manulito must have more tree rings than half the oaks in Seminole County. The white fluffy hair sprouting out of those elephantine ears is almost reminiscent of Spanish moss, completing the oak tree analogy.

Doc Kelly showed up. I had Manulito place a call and sure enough, the dude showed… the nerve. Manulito pressed a couple breakfast sandwiches as Doc and I sat down to pretend to read Spanish newspapers and sip café con leche as if we weren’t already both over-caffeinated. Doc was getting over the flu, as was I, both of us independently suffering this last week. We hadn’t seen each other in two weeks, which made me think Doc was kissing on my girl again. Not that she was my girl and maybe he even tipped her better, but nevertheless, I have been drinking more NyQuil than beer this week and I blamed Doc for these ills one way or another.

Boxing Floyd Manny

A Place (To Place Bets)

There is a thing called “the Gambler’s Fallacy” which is the belief that after so many strokes of a certain type of luck, that luck must turn. For example, if you flip a coin and it lands “heads” three times in a row, you might think the next flip has to be “tails” because chance would suggest so… and that would be false. Fallacy. The flip you make is still a 50% chance of “tails” regardless of whichever shit occurred prior.

Similarly, you could keep betting that a crooked sport is eventually going to go straight-arrow and this too would be fallacy. This Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather fight has generated such an ungodly amount of money it should be seen in the same lens as a MARVEL: AVENGERS movie. There are too many parties involved, the stakes are too high; you must make one with the promise of another, regardless of how it cheapens the event. Even if there is moral outrage in the streets of the world on Sunday over the scripted nature of this fight, it has to be fixed and those who fix it will become all the more profitable regardless of the shame cast upon them. So dig this: in December, when this ‘greatest fight of the fucking millennium’ was announced, there were 24:1 odds of a draw. Those odds are currently 10:1 for the stalemate. I don’t think Floyd or Manny will take a fall, but I do believe they will be in on the ruse and fight for a stalemate, which would insist on a sequel. For all the money they may be worth, they would be worth a lot more if they could fight this match again.

Politics, Boxing and Horseflesh will never be fair game as long as the power and control are in the hands of the financiers.

I put a few paychecks on a Pacquiao/Mayweather draw and I spilt my pizza delivery tip jar in the direction of American Pharaoh to win the Kentucky Derby. I put a Bitcoin down on the San Antonio Spurs plus 2 in Game 7, for the sake of nostalgia if nothing else. Nothing I can’t lose.

Doc Kelly asked if I could clean myself up by the afternoon. Did I have a smoking jacket and a pair of slacks? He finagled our names onto the invite list for a Derby Day/Fight-Night gala with the Lake Osceola Yacht and Leisure Club and I needed to present myself as a decent Florida gentleman. I stopped by the backdoor of the Bosniak-run dry-cleaners and bought someone’s tuxedo off the meat rack for $20 and my favorite pair of flip-flops. All I need now are the cufflinks.

The Good Money’s on Floyd/Manny Draw…. Shake it and roll! Yahtzee!

THE OUTCOME: vic breaks even

Mayweather vs Pacquiao: Vic bet on the draw and Floyd Mayweather won convincingly.

Kentucky Derby: Vic bet on American Pharaoh and American Pharaoh won!

NBA: Vic bet Spurs +2 and the Clippers won by 2 – it’s a push.

Vic and Doc at the Derby party...

Vic and Doc at the Derby party…

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I’ve always known where to find my mum.

The NeverMum would say it’s because there is a straight line between her heart and mine, which is an interesting theory that makes geometrical sense, however, the Earth’s crust and molten lava would certainly interfere with that maternal bond. No, I knew where to find my mum because she was always home. Wherever she was, it was always home. When I returned from off-the-grid living in a free-love Oregonian hippy commune, Mumsy handed me a beer, fed and deloused me. When I returned from off-the-grid living as a barefoot vagabond in Australia, Mumsy handed me a beer, fed and deloused me. When I returned from college with the jezebel du jour, Mumsy handed me a beer, fed me and deloused Jez. Wherever I wandered, no matter how far, Mum was always waiting for me at home… until the granddaughters arrived.

The NeverSister lives along the foothills of Denver, estranged from your narrator by two time zones and a mile of elevation. This is where my NeverNieces reside, and thus, the NeverMum. On holidays, I find a sea-level laundry mat payphone to drop umpteen dimes and dial the NeverSister in her Under Mountains, Colorado, home. Easter was when I spoke to her last. “Things are well, Brother.” She said before mocking her post-modern benign troubles. “Typical first world problems – we ran out of Chardonnay and had to switch to Sauvignon Blanc.” It was then my sister confided in me her fear for our dear old mum, “She’s gone rogue, Brother! Mom wants to be the Queen of Cannabis in Cougar Town!”

cougar town“Cougar Town”, according to Courtney Cox, is Gulfhaven, Fla, a fictional sitcom setting based on the city of Sarasota. The NeverMum resides, more or less, in Sarasota amongst the remnants of the baby-boomed generation. While she spends as much time as possible with her Coloradan legacy, I knew NeverMum would be returning home to Sarasota for her annual Kentucky Derby Gala. So began my subversive machinations to infiltrate the social ranks of NeverMum’s equestrian merrymakers and confront my dubious fetus-bearer on her dastardly scheme to legalize weed in her home state of Florida.

The journey from Bayou Saint Basil in Northeast Central Florida along Interstate 4 westward and eventually down along interstate 75 was no easy feat – not when the showers of April refused to bow-out to calendric insistence. Indeed, the heavens wept well into May with thunder rolling along the orange-groved hills like Zeus-driven flatulence. My path was hazarded with swaying 18-wheelers and overzealous youth who drove as if their iPhone was bankrupt of power and the closest charger was in Tampa. Fortunately, the driving skills honed during my formative pizza delivery years aided me and kept the freeway from running neon yellow with my vitamin-enhanced piss.

I arrived in Cougar Town.

From what I’ve learned watching Richard Gere cinema, the rich play polo and cast pearls before Julia Roberts. There are polo fields east of Sarasota and where there is polo fields there are polo clubs. The NeverMum’s Kentucky Derby Gala was at once such club. NeverMum’s social network included the neatest elitists: the gentile good ole boy landowners, the nouveau riche of the merchant class, the bankrupt nobility of some Old World dynasty and, of course, Russian Oligarchs with noses of popped blood vessels and guts of distended opulence. Many of these figures donated handsomely to Vic Neverman’s Get-Rich-Quick-By-Funding-My-Amazon-Gold-Mining-Venture scheme in 2013. When those investments brought back no return, these investors were told I had perished of some malicious malady contracted in an Iquitos brothel and my remains resided in the intestinal tracts of various wild dogs. This was a vicious rumor, of course, and one spread by my own agents of disinformation to blur the fact that my search for gold came up empty (unless you are referring to devious, soul-devouring, golden-haired harpies posing at Peace Corps volunteers only to lull you into a peaceful slumber when they extract your beating heart and replace it with the broken shards of disillusionment; if this is the gold you are referring to, well then, I hit the jungle jackpot). The Sarasota elitists thought me dead and buried in feral canine shit. If Victor Ulysses Neverman suddenly returned from the dead to occupy one of these polo clubs during the Kentucky Derby, all disinformation would be for naught and I, your humble navigator of this rambling story, would be chased to the ends of the earth by the collection agency of bounty-hunting mercenaries under the employ of the good ole boys, merchants, nobles and Russo oil barons. This is why I did not arrive, at this given gala, as Vic Neverman. I arrived disguised. I arrived as the Turk, Ibrahim.

An aside: grumble, groan (fucking Peace Corps chicks…), sigh, whimper.

My guise as Ibrahim is a simple one: I detach my beard, leaving just the mustache, and I smoke French Gauloises unfiltered cigarettes. Well, except that I actually never smoke them, I just speak as if I need to smoke them. When some philanthropist offers up their particular brand of tobacco, I thank them and then comment, “By the will of Allah, I only smoke cigarettes after having killed a good man or having lain with a bad woman. This is no such time.” It tends to work; I haven’t had to smoke a single Gauloise.

I arrived at the Lakewood Ranch Polo Club to find a pair of thick-necked bouncers distracted with popping each-other’s blackheads and a hostess in a skirt that screamed against her thighs who barred my entry into the revelry beyond. Her hair was dyed with the most lavish bleach and her chest had been enhanced by the wonders of science. Her beady black eyes blinked as heavy eyelashes whipped across the empty space between us.

“I am the Turk, Ibrahim.” I announced in my Russian accent (I only have three accents: Irish, Russian and Sean Connery). I hooked a thumb over my shoulder, “I left my Grand Vizier in the car and the Harem at the Ritz Carleton. I am here for the running of the horses.”

“Well, of course, oh sure, right this way Mister Turk.” She turned and led me to the Gala as her buttocks screamed against that skirt.

NeverMum and Vic with their 2012 Kentucky Derby winnings

NeverMum and Vic with their 2012 Kentucky Derby winnings

Once I was within the bawdy confines of the “Horse People” (as Hunter S Thompson called them), I was immediately recognized by a woman whose hat resembled an albino donkey being tickled by a clown. “You’re Vic Neverman!” Oh no, no-no, of course not. I am the Turk! I insisted, but alas, it was too late. My name seeped through the clamor and I was identified across room by my own mother. My disguise was foiled. I had been outted. Mum approached.

“Vicky!” She exclaimed with a genuine intensity reserved for mothers embracing their only sons. “If Wicked Strong wins the derby, I will be able to retire!”

“Are you not already retired, Mum?”

“Well, yes, but if Wicked Strong wins, I will be rich enough to pay for someone to do the volunteer work I currently do.”

“And what of these rumors of you becoming the Cannabis Queen of Cougar Town?”

“Oh Vicky, will you drink this for me? It is a $50 mint julep and it tastes like a cat pissed over potpourri.”

“Anything for you mother.” I sipped the sacrilegious cocktail. “Good God, why do they hate bourbon so much to do this unto it? But, Mumsy, whatever are you doing with the weed dealing?

“Oh Honey, it would be all legitimate. I have my own lobbyists pushing legislature through Tallahassee to legalize medicinal marijuana and recreational use for senior citizens in Florida.” NeverMum explained. “My cohorts and I have already bought up a fleet of limousines to serve as our delivery service. Once prohibition is lifted, we will distribute ganja amongst the infirm and elderly of Sarasota County. The future is green, Vicky.”

“You realize, Mum, the enemies you will make with the Mexican cartels? Let alone the implications of lifting prohibition on cannabis. In conspiracy circles, it is widely known that marijuana is being distributed to dull the senses of the general public, just like rations of gin were distributed to the masses in Orwell’s dystopian 1984 society. You see, once the Arab Spring occurred, Washington’s Puppet-Masters became worried about upheaval here, domestically. Then they saw how disorganized the Occupy Movement was and decided it would be a good idea to get everyone likewise stoned. Homeland Security calls their plan to legalize marijuana ‘Operation Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’. They are systemically neutering dissent in America, Mums.”

My mother would say, ‘Why are you always playing alone?’ And I would say, ‘I’m not playin’, Ma. I’m fuckin’ serious!

– George Carlin

As I ranted a tirade against my mother, agent of the shadow government agenda she might as well have been, her husband approached. Tomax, it is known, is a man who made his fortune selling apocalypse insurance to the gullible (will you be ready when the world ends?) He was a wizened old native who had learned the cutthroat ways of the Northeastern invaders to the South Florida mangroves.

Tomax and Xamot were Corsican Twins and Commanders of Cobra's Crimson Guard

Tomax and Xamot were Corsican Twins and Commanders of Cobra’s Crimson Guard

“Victor, good to see you.” The NeverStep-Dad hugged me. “Let me mention your mother’s legislation is just medicinal marijuana or for senior citizens, nothing recreational for kids under the age of 65. Besides, drug dealing is the American Way. Did you know that Heroin was nearly going extinct around the turn of the millennium? The poppy was outlawed by the Taliban and the crop was non-existent. At least, that is, until the USA invaded Afghanistan. Now heroin is as easy to access as ever, courtesy of Uncle Sam!”

I growled at Tomax, who I assumed had a Corsican twin-brother Maxot, “The CIA has been the biggest drug cartel for the last fifty years with all of their revenue going straight to the Black Budget!”

“But Honey!” Sweetly NeverMum objected, putting a hand on my chest, “Legalizing marijuana takes money away from the Mexican and CIA cartels and puts funds into the American infrastructure with tax dollars. Isn’t that what you would want?” By you Mum was referring to me as a pinko Keynesian.

“They will get us one way or another.” I lamented with a defeated shake of my oversized head. “If it isn’t illegal drug, it is prescription. The American citizenry is literally pissing out enough antibiotics to show up in the water supply and the fish we eat. It is like Monsanto and their Round-Up, just as you cannot kill a weed unless you have the new generation of weed-killer, the next generation of Americans will be infertile if they do not have the next generation of Big Pharma fertilizer.” It was then that I realized the NeverMum and Tomax were smiling at pictures of my NeverNieces that appeared on their iPhone.

NeverMum introduced me to the ‘Horse People’ hordes as Ibrahim, the Turk. Each of them saw through my disguise, but out of allegiance to dear old mum, they went along with the charade regardless of how much of their cash I sunk into the Amazon muck. I bet the wad of cash from my left boot on horse #10 Wildcat Red because the name reminded me of an old girlfriend. I hedged my bets by placing a small amount on the favorite California Chrome. When California Chrome won the derby, I broke even.

As the festivities simmered into a flaccid wick, those I had been indebted to ebbed into the tide of twilight and I would be escorted into the night by the NeverMum and that Tomax fellow. Favor returned with favor, I would spend the night as their guest. It was a simple arrangement: for their participation in the folly of my pseudonym “the Turk”, I spent three hours lecturing them on the history, characters, plots and family lineages of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice to better prepare them for Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode. In the end, I left Cougar Town unscathed and officially still deceased and they watched the next episode of GoT slightly more knowledgeable than the next boomed baby generated over a half century ago.

As for the lifting of prohibition in Florida… time shall tell.

Who were these people? It was pageantry, sure: societal pomp and circumstance. The pomp being a celebratory environ in a hoity (which is Latin for “hot shit” I do believe) toity (which is Greek for ticklish) lounge of a Gulf of Mexican Ritz Carleton. The circumstance being my presence, a strange clash of the unfurled (that is I) placed in proximity to the neatly pressed (which was they). Oh, if only my mother could have seen me in such drab and pale apparel prior to Memorial Day! A misfit miscreant indeed, was I, Vic Neverman. Amidst this upper echelon of society, I must have appeared as a chimpanzee outfitted for an afternoon at the county fair. I bore a fearsome –daresay menacing – beard, which was only countered by the friendly display of sockless loafers upon my heathen hooves. My attire was unworthy of such confines, but its lackluster undid centuries of antagonism against the bearded prejudice wrought by the less hairy upon the harried ever since the Turkish corsair menace Barbarosa raced his horses atop the heads of Christians buried in the sand (and he even hemp-dyed his beard red). Yes, while my beard may have been frightening, I dare you find me a jihadist that goes sans socks. I may have looked as a Yeti occupying Wall Street, but the socklessness surely minimized the perception of threat to the fair hatted ladies slurping their minted juleps.

But alas, I ramble. And it was mother who did see me now. It was she, the NeverMum, who brought me to the lofty confines of the rich and/or indebted (observation: the wealthiest are often those in greatest debt). Perhaps the greatest circumstance beside such pomp was the random presence of I along these Gulf shores where I had joined a kayaky* expedition along the mangrove cays in search of the elusive suburban legend “Skunk Ape” with SASI (Skunk-Ape Society of Investigators). My ventures to west Florida put me in proximity to the NeverMum and by extension, her high society cohorts.

*“kayaky” having the essence of kayak, along with being canoe-ish and paddle board-esque

Here I was, in the Ritz Carlton, amongst my mother and her people. NeverMum, you see, is quite the philanthropist. Ever since the rumors Old Man Neverman having been D.B. Cooper arose, the NeverMum has tried to repay society through charitability, which has brought out a flock of vultures, jackals, carrion eaters of any order. Such is the nature of having disposable income – it attracts the snakest-of-oil salesmen from “not-for-profit” organizations. And for my money, the stratospherically rich who fund these agencies are really only preoccupied with population control and how to keep the masses off of their loot. Take, for instance, Ted Turner’s rant on over-population and how we will all be eating each other by 2040 (“too many people are using too much stuff”). There used to be a popular topic, Eugenics, before the Nazis were associated with it. Eugenics involved gene manipulation, which formerly had to be done via Nazish “weed-out” methodology, but can now be achieved through creative procreation engineering. And, of course, sterilizing the rest of the populace which is where all of the goddamn corn-syrup comes into play. This is what the ultra-rich speak of in their circles, though I’d be damned if I could get anyone to comment on it this day.
Here’s Ted…

Lo! We are here to celebrate the horses, or at least discuss them. It was my trusted ally who told me, “horse racing is NASCAR for the rich.” I can only disagree with Bo Lynn on one point, that being I cannot watch two straight minutes of NASCAR.

I find myself here amongst Kentucky Derby enthusiasts as the nationally broadcast pre-race is shown on the widescreen televisions. Fortunately, I, Vic Neverman, haven belly-crawled more subterranean miles in Kentucky caves than the typical tourist to the state will ever walk topside, am equipped with a profound knowledge of Bourbon. And so, I, your bearded narrator, stood proudly astride, like the salami betwixt and between the high-bred of this un-kosher deli sandwich, drinking Basil Hayden (neat) and speaking profoundly upon the virtues of such an elixir.

All the while, and there was much while to be had, I did not forget what Hunter said of these horse people. H.S. Thompson once wrote, “ I went to one Derby party where two teenage girls were deliberately set on fire and tortured by drunken rich people, who then hurled their bodies off a cliff above the Ohio River & laughed about it later… Things like that happen every year when the Derby comes to town. People ‘go out to the track,’ as they like to say in Louisville, and simply disappear into thin air… Omerta is the code of the South, especially after weird crimes are committed by rich people… Horse people have very short attention spans for anything involving humans.” Yes, I had to be on guard.

Of course, there was the hypothetical gambling that occurred. All the IRS needs to know is Vic Neverman only gambles with where to bury the rainy day loot (in case of end-of-world emergency) and how much information to insert into the blog (how many of you readers are Them and how much do I want You to know about what I know about You?). Hypothetically, however, I may have participated in the traditional horse gambling that accompanies these races like plague fleas on a rat. Hypothetically, I may have put a vast sum of my disposable pocket cash on horse 19 while hypothetically making a hedge bet on the odds-on favorite. As the odds-on favorite, “Bodemeister”, bolted to the lead on this day I hooted at my shrewd hypothetical investment until at the very last leg a phantom horse swooped in like a harpy after cheesecake and beat the favorite. Fortunately, this phantom horse was #19, “I’ll Have Another.” I, hypothetically Vic Neverman, had won.

Waving all the cash that was hypothetically mine had a strange alchemical effect on myself and those within the lavish lounge. My sudden rise in testosterone thickened my beard, billowed my chest and increased the volume and immodesty of my bourbon-infused rants. Likewise, the fair hatted ladies who had once scoffed me, now looked my way and found me almost… charming, in a near-drowned-rat-clutching-to-Titantic-flotsam kind-of-way. What rationalization must have taken place beneath their feathered peacock caps? Oh, he is a winner, he has cash, he must be one of us!

But I was not one of them. I was Vic Neverman. And as soon as I paid my weekend bar bill, my hypothetical winnings were spent and I was no different than before. Unscathed and ever-bearded.

NeverMum and Vic, waving around the Washingtons hypothetically won