Elephant Blues

Elephant Blues

May 5, 2019

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The Real Life Ventures and Adventures of Trey and Batman

by Trey Nosrac

“I’ve got legal problems.”

My pal Batman and I were waiting to be served cheeseburgers at the Jailhouse Tavern and Grill in Sandusky.

He cocked his head slightly and asked, “Serious problems?”

Nodding, I said, “At the state level.”

“Do you need a lawyer?”

“Won’t help. It’s a very unique predicament.”

“Do tell.”

Our burgers arrived via a wordless server named Missy. We surveyed our plates, I pointed at the ketchup bottle, and then explained, “Yesterday, I was on the phone with my old pal, Rags Remington. Technically, Rag’s first name is Gregory, but he started to go bald in High School and began covering his dome with a festival of floppy hats and pirate scarves, so he became Rags.”

“Is Trey a nickname?”

“Nope, the real deal. I mean, yeah, I have plenty of nicknames that shall remain nameless. Anyway, during our chat, I began to channel Trump and bragged about a trotter that I have been following for months, a horse by the name of Skid Row Sam is racing Friday night and he is a mortal lock. Yeah, yeah, I know, I may have gotten over my skis, because Rags, who does not know much about the trotters and pacers, decided he wanted to get in on what I over-promised to be free money.”

He bit into his burger and said, “Not seeing legal problems yet.”

“Rags asked me to bet a hundred on the trotter for him. Now I figure when the gates fold and the race goes off, the odds on Skid Row Sam crossing the finish line first will be about 4-1. I also figure that should the horse not win; the odds on my seeing my hundred bucks are about 25-1.”

“So, tell him to bet it himself.”

“I did. I told him to bet it himself, open a wagering account on the Internet, and I would text him the link for the site I use. We hung up and about an hour later he texts me back to report that he can’t open an account.”

Batman says, “Well, Mister Rags must know somebody who can operate a cell phone or an iPad.”

I nodded, “I called him to offer tech support and asked him what the problem was. I told him that even for a klutz, opening a betting account for gambling on horse races is not exactly cracking a nuclear code. It should take about five minutes and a credit card. He said he was okay until he got to the money part. I said welcome to the club and that we should get tattoos.”

I continued, “He said he had problems linking to a bank account or a credit card. When I asked him what problems, he replied that he didn’t have a bank account. I told him to use a credit card. He said it wouldn’t work because he lives in North Carolina and it’s like a law or something that the money trail cannot lead back to North Carolina. He said I would have to bet on the horse in Ohio and just run him a tab.”

Batman began to nod, “Now I get it, you didn’t tell me where he lived.”

“I didn’t know it mattered. I did some research. For once, Rags was not wrong. North Carolina doesn’t allow wagering on horses on ADW sites. They have all sorts of goofy laws on the books. For example, in North Carolina, bingo games may not last more than five hours, elephants may not plow cotton fields, it is illegal to rollerblade on state highways, and you cannot collect reward money on yourself. However, you can get a DWI riding on a horse.”

He smiled, “Trey, this information is very educational.”

“Yeah, especially for us horse riders, but education does not solve my problem. The state of North Carolina has placed me in an awkward position, Rags wants to bet on a horse race. I don’t want to be his banker. However, failure to extend credit to a pal, even a pal who drunkenly stumbled into a spray of daffodils during the ceremony for my first marriage, just seems rude.”

“You truly are on the horns of a dilemma, my friend.”

“I mean, come on, quirky state laws made some sense to somebody or some voting constituency, I get that. And a DUI for drunken horse riders seems sensible and safe in any era, but things change. North Carolina needs some legal tweaking for gambling on horse racing.”

“So, how are you going to handle this touchy situation?”

I heaved a big sigh, “Tonight, due to social pressure, machismo and friendship, I will reluctantly wager a hundred on Skid Row Sam for my friend Rags. This means that the state of Ohio will get a sliver of the action, the racetrack will receive a few slivers, and my ADW outfit will get a sliver. North Carolina will get zippo. If Skid Row Sam does not win, I lose my money and now Rags money which is really my money.”

He shook his head, “Doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

I plead my case, “Sheesh, in 1920 North Carolina legislators felt they could keep gambling out of River City. That ship has sailed. People can bet on anything, anywhere. Rags once sold his motorcycle to finance a wager on an ACC football game. I’m not sure how he did it, or who he wagered with, but he had no problem wagering from his apartment in Asheville (he lost when the North Carolina Tar Heels fumbled in overtime). His wager may have been off the books but he was able to get some action on a football game. He can’t bet on a harness race is just goofy.”

He steepled his fingers and said, “It appears Trey is stuck in the middle?”

“Exactly, these arcane state laws have unintended consequences. This quirky legislation creates a situation where yours truly, a harness racing enthusiast who got a little overly enthusiastic, will be a bookie for my sketchy friend. Trey will be forced into the dark side.”

Batman folded his arms and leaned back in his chair and did a fantastic imitation of Yoda “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.”

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