The Diary of Bridgette M., Part 10

by Trey Nosrac

Series introduction is here.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

Part 8 is here.

Part 9 is here.


Tonight, at the NA meeting, Paul brought a cake with white frosting, two candles, and the word Bridge scrawled across the top in green icing. He set the cake on the table next to the coffee pot but did not make a speech or anything; he didn’t need to. Everyone got the picture. Through tears, I asked him if there was a limit of six letters at the bakery. Someone, I think it was Dennis, said he liked it; Bridge, like a bridge between two months, then two years, and then infinity and beyond. I heard laughter, a beautiful sound.

Paul slipped a note in my hand; Tomorrow morning. Pick you up at 9.


When I climbed into his pickup and shut the side door, he said, 10 short. I was confused until he tapped his belly and said his target was losing 30 pounds, but he only made 20. Then he added that he would make his goal between the Ozempic injections and barn work.

Are we going to your farm? He nodded. Horses? He said no, but there would be four in two months. We were silent on the six-mile drive. He slowed and turned into a blacktop drive between a white fence, which led to a picture postcard scene. It was a two-story, white farmhouse with a wraparound porch. To the right were three barns. Behind and between, I noticed a strip of a racetrack.

Paul stopped the truck halfway down the driveway, did not look at me, and said that what we do here is private. I can never participate in harness racing. My ban is a lifetime. I deserve it and could have gone to jail, but that is a long story for another time, another life. Today is about what we will do. His use of the word WE sounded good.

He explained that the plan was straightforward. Yearling sales are in two months. Yearlings are 1-year-old potential racehorses. Using my mother’s married name, I will purchase four filly trotters. The money is from the 20 acres we sold. We will train them, but we won’t race them. In early June, we will sell them using the internet and videos of their training. I asked him what my part was. He said this was also straightforward; when the yearlings arrive at the farm, I could switch my Burger King job for a job tending to the four horses.

Several questions popped into my brain. What if I relapse? How do I get here and home? Do I live here or at home? What happens in June when he sells the horses? Who is going to drive the horses? Am I ready for this responsibility after only four weeks of cleaning stalls? Paul seemed to read my mind and said he knew my mind was buzzing, but this is good buzzing, much better than hunting drugs.


Daily NA meetings are tricky. At first, I did not enjoy going, but then I was okay going. At some point, if you are lucky, the NA meetings are a blessing. We are never out of the woods. The failure rate is high, very high. When we relapse, the ordinary world eventually loses patience with us, but the NA group is always there and understands our failures. A guy once said in a meeting that we are all broken people, but for an hour or two in NA, there is enough unbrokenness to feel a little more together. He OD’d two weeks ago.

Regarding brokenness, let me tell you about Paul’s family. Of the six closest members of his family, the only one who did not carry a suitcase filled with problems is dead. His grandfather, the horseracing man, was a solid citizen who amassed a large dairy farm but branched out into other ventures. His 84-year-old grandmother is a television religious fanatic whom Paul said is screechy and preachy. His grandparents had two children, a boy named Richard, who died driving home drunk from a high school graduation party, and Paul’s mother, who got pregnant at 16. His unidentified father immediately skipped town. Paul’s mother stayed at home all her life because of mental difficulties. She also has weight issues and uses a wheelchair.


This morning, Paul repeated that his grandfather was his connection to the sport. His grandfather raced on the county fair circuit. Paul was a willing student. He said that the best days of his life were until he got out of his teens and into crystal meth. His grandfather had high hopes for his grandson and took it hard when Paul got kicked out of the game.

I asked what we would do for the next month or two until he bought the rest of the yearlings. He answered that we would have plenty to do since the barns and the track had been idle for about 10 years. I asked who the third person was; he just said it was a guy from town. Then he handed me a list.

I remember some of the list: overhaul tractor (sent to Ray Peterson), overhaul Kubota, refurbish graders, work on the track, barn #2 for horses, cut a window in the rear of each stall, build hinged window covers, new stall gates, rubber mats on walls of all stalls. Build two turnout paddocks in the infield, organize harnesses and equipment, and clean out Barn #1. Inspect the path to the rear of the property and into Jim C acreage, and order hay and straw.

There were other items on his list. Some made sense, but some of the items raised questions. I pointed to the “inspect path” item. He answered enthusiastically that he always believed horses got bored going in circles. There is a straight path from the barn into the neighbor’s property, and it’s over a half mile. I’ll ensure its smooth and safe so I can take the horses straight.

I thought going straight sounded pretty good.


Today was power washing day at the farm, a heavy-duty, gas-powered sprayer. We took everything in Barn #2 out into the climbing sun and spread it out. I mean everything: tools, equipment, jog carts, a refrigerator from the tack room. Paul blasted everything. Then he went inside the barn to hit the ceiling, walls, and floor, blasting off old paint, cobwebs, decades of dirt, and grime. He finished by blasting the outside of the barn. He turned off the motor and said that we would put them back together as things dried tomorrow.

When I told him that it was kinda fun, he nodded and said that fun was what he wanted. Last time with horses, he was chasing the dragon every day. Day after shitty day, scrape up the money, shoot, and snort. I know how that goes. Nothing matters except the next high, nothing. We get where stealing, dealing, and hustling are all that matters.

I added that he forgot to mention lying. One of the worst side effects of addiction is lying. Paul nodded again and said that his horse plan was simple this time. Get some babies close to racing and sell them. In horse racing, this is called pin hooking. We could be growing three-foot pine trees and re-selling them to the public when they are six-foot Christmas trees. The money doesn’t matter with these horses. It’s all covered. If the horses don’t sell for profit, so what? He said that when you take money from the equation, this little sport is fun and interesting, and the horses are special.