Man-killer Krupuk – Devo Rides (Part 18)

by Trey Nosrac

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17

He escorted Janice Fowler to the elevator of her condominium and then scurried back to my Prius like a prairie dog to his burrow. Safe in my passenger seat, the technology maven dropped his chin to his chest and groaned, “Well, that was awkward.”

I nodded and said, “Blind dates are not for the timid. When both parties are over 50, I believe the technical term is Carbon Dating.”

He winced, “It was uncomfortable.”

“Neither of you was exactly a sparkling conversationalist. I had to bite my tongue not to inject some witty repartee. You ride around with me day after day babbling like Niagara Falls about the future of humankind, harness racing, and, well, everything. One sniff of perfume and you get lockjaw.”

“She’s a friend of my sister, what did you think?”

I sighed, “She bobbed and weaved around her divorce, a tad heavy on the make-up, and she was dressed for the opera, not the Night Town Tavern to see Fatboy Slim and his Wandering Wastrels.”

“What do you think she thought of me?”

I laughed, “Probably that you are good enough to stomach since you have a bazillion dollars. You know, that’s one problem I never have, women out for my money.”

“Money never crossed my mind when I begin writing code, neither did creating content.”

“So the computer geek morphed into a producer/project developer.”

“Trey, we needed to fill the pipelines we created. I hate this part of the business. Sports will be a big part of the future, they are real-time and inexpensive to produce. Now that online sports gambling is on the table, we are exploring many options. Unfortunately, horse racing has hurdles that are hard to get over.”

He said, “People watch people. Can you name a single sport, except horse racing, where humans are not the draw?”

“Horses are awesome.”

“Our business is finding and developing eyeball magnets. We all think we know what motivates us, we think we are immune, all of us. We are not. Consumers answer bells and whistles we do not even know we hear.”

“And horse racing does not ring the bells?”

“Not many. Suppose a trotter emerges on the scene who is the greatest trotter that ever stepped onto a racetrack, breaks every record. The wagering uptake would not be as large as you might imagine. The window of time is small for a horse. Where does my company make money off that horse?”

I shook my head and said, “Making money is not my specialty.”

He replied with one of his examples, “Suppose you make a pitch asking my people to get behind your sport financially and use our tools. You show us horses racing.”

I lifted my index finger and added, “Horses that you can wager money on.”

He shrugged, “Now suppose you pitch us a race with eight obscure trotters with the following cast of drivers –

T-Rex Maxwell – a longtime villain with multiple infractions both on the racetrack and off. Profane, nasty and ruthless, he makes enemies and leaves rubble everywhere he goes. You cannot stop him from tweeting garbage and trash talk.

Young Tommy Terrific – he began driving harness horses on a dare while healing from surgery on his pitching arm. He remains torn between a career in baseball and racing.

Sultry Stormy LeBeau – she is very beautiful and a very, very poor driver. She should not drive a tricycle, let alone a trotter. However, she is the current flame of one of the wealthiest and most eccentric owners in the sport. Despite causing disgust and infuriation, he keeps entering her in races, depriving deserving drivers and dragging the sport into the gutter.

Doug, The Dude, Dickerson – a runner-up in a Big Lebowski lookalike contest, with long flowing hair. He speaks cryptically and every pre-race drug test he takes is a moment of excitement. Every drive is an adventure. He is wildly unpredictable, unaccountable and popular to his small, fervent fan base.

Karen, ManKiller, Krupski – a fervent Me-Too-er with a radical band of feminists that support her fiscally, emotionally and socially. Her motto is ‘No Longer Harnessed.’ Every racing victory is cause for celebration, another windowpane out of the glass ceiling. Her number of supporters grows with each drive.

And, Egbert The Engineer, he…”

“Okay, okay, I get it, I get it.”

He sighed, “This is an old story. A plane crash brings an audience, and a perfect flight lands without a sound. Social media is like steroids for this paradigm.”

“Well, horse racing ain’t going to cartoon city and I still say the horse has juice. People want the best – best drivers, best horses, best teams.”

Ne nodded, “To a point, in the world of content development we take people. Like the ones I just painted, we magnify them and attach storylines. Doug the Dude and Karen ManKiller have a secret tryst, T-Rex is under investigation, and Tommy voted for Trump. Whatever, you create narratives, narratives sell and in today’s world, push them, manipulate them and sell them.

“But this is sports.”

He fired questions, “CSPAN or a greasy headed provocateur? The sixth sequel of Mission Impossible or a documentary on waste management? Playing video games or reading pending legislation?”

“You sound a bit elitist.”

“We are all guilty. Sports are entertainment. Entertainment is not watching horses go around. Viewers flock to watch and wager on Tiger Woods, not a golf ball. People want drama; they crave conflict in sports, media, and politics. This is not good and it is not fair, but it is a reality.”

I paused for a moment, “I want to say you are full of it, that only saps fall for drama, both fake and real. But last week I proved your point.”


“Last week I watched a baseball game. I never watch baseball. If the PASPA thing was rolling, I would have bet on this game.”


“A feud I noticed on the Internet and FB. It wasn’t a big deal. Two MLB pitchers, college teammates who never got along, Trevor Bauer and Tyler Cahill were facing each other for the first time. A little trash talk on Twitter, one said the other would not make it to the majors. One accused the other of doctoring the ball. Both seem a little high strung, snarky, and spoiled.”

“But you watched the showdown.”

“Yep, they pitched to a draw and the damn game was a beauty.”

“You watched the people?”

I nodded, “Without the little hoopla, I never watch, which is pathetic.”

“Trey, you’re human.”

I sighed, “You can’t say that harness horse racing is not about horses or racing.”

“Those are frameworks and like your ballgame, they will support narratives. They can support a wager, but horses do not talk. People cannot rage at a horse. They can rage at a driver or a trainer. You need people to get people.”

“The stuff you are talking about will NEVER, EVER, EVER fly in my sport. For about 50 reasons, we will always be about the horses.”

Another nod of his head, “I know.”

We drove a mile, then he smiled and said, “But we do have some marketing strategies from the technology ecosystem that could put a more human face on the horse.”

“I hope they’re not as nutty as Mankiller Krupski.”

He chuckled, “No. These concepts more subtle, customers won’t even know we infected their minds and steered them to the track.”