----------------------------------------outside looking in-----------------------
After a fitful night Becky and Jack awoke to the loud noise of a door slamming. It was the next door neighbors Tim Marshal and Kim Baker. Tim was
leaving the apartment and Kim was shouting something after he had slammed the door. Becky and Jack looked at each other and smiled. We never fight
like that do we babe Becky said, Jack smiled back and kissed her and whispering to her 'no babe we got each others backs.”
After breakfast Jack told Becky that he had to hit the ground running today to find some work and bring in some money. Becky smiled and said “be
careful babe” I will he said. Before he left Becky gave him some money for the bus and to get some lunch if he needed and enough to get another key
made. Jack took the money pocketed it and gave Becky another kiss before heading out the door.
Becky was alone now in the apartment. It was a dreary rainy October morning and the view outside the fire escape was an ally way through those
security bars. Not much to look at for her morning coffee and smoke. She finished her cigarette and then took her coffee and grabbed a load of clothes
and headed to the laundry room. Becky found the place empty with just one dryer going. She piled her clothes into one of the washing machines at the
back near the windows facing the courtyard.. Once her clothes were started Becky moved to the window and sat on the edge of the table provided for
folding clothes and sipped her coffee. The gentle rain was all over the leaves of the trees and bushes and the ducks were sitting next to the pond
waiting for the rain to stop. The fountain at the center of the pond shot a column of water about 30 feet into the air. There was a waterfall that was
built into one of the far courtyard walls. It provided a lovely tranquil view. Becky's moment of peaceful reflection soon ended.
Becky heard the door slam down the hall. She heard scuffled footsteps like someone walking in slippers or flip-flops towards the laundry room. Kim
Baker rounded the doorway to the laundry room a few moments later. Kim was an attractive lady but not in the morning. She had her hair in curlers, a
cigarette in her month and a big pile of clothes wrapped in a sheet slung over her shoulder. She gave Becky a weak smile and a nod of acknowledgment
as she unburdened herself of her clothes bundle and began loading a washing machine near the front door of the laundry room. When Kim had finished
loading the machine and started to put some quarters in to start the load, she realized that she was short by 50 cents to get the washer started. Kim
set down her cup of coffee and put her cigarette out in the near empty cup and went into her pockets to find a bill for the changer. She found a 5 and
straightened it out and tried to get the bill changer to accept the badly wrinkled bill. There was no getting that machine to accept the bill. Kim
looked over at Becky. Becky was sipping her coffee still looking out over the courtyard and admiring the calm peace of the place. Kim walked over to
the other side of the table and looked out at the courtyard.
This got Becky's attention and when she turned to look at her approach Kim stuck out her hand to shake and introduced herself. Hi I'm Kim, you must be
one of the people who moved in next door to us. Becky stuck out her hand to accept the handshake and said I'm Becky. Then Kim said hey Becky you don't
have a better straighter 5 than this one do you as she held up the badly wrinkled bill. Becky remembered giving all her small bills and most of her
change to Jack just moments ago. She apologized saying that she did not have any fives or ones for that matter. She checked her pockets and came up
with 50 cents in quarters and showed them to Kim. Kim said “hey that's how much I'm short. Becky smiled and handed her the change. Here you go no
problem she said. Then she thought about the cigarette Kim had just put out. You don't have another one of those do you? Kim checked her pack which
was stuck in the back pocket of her shorts. She came up with a cigarette and handed it to Becky and then offered her a light. The 2 ladies now both
smoked their cigarettes and looked out over the courtyard.
After a few moments of silence Becky opened the conversation up with “so how long have you been here at Edgewood Courts?” Kim thought about this
for a few seconds. She had to think hard. I guess about a year now give or take a few months. What a curious answer Becky thought. Becky then ask her
about the courtyard. Where was the entrance door to get into the courtyard she questioned. Kim looked over at Becky and thought of what to say
exactly. There is no entry door or gate to the courtyard that can be accessed from the outer ring of apartments. Becky thought that seemed strange.
Kim could see the puzzlement on Becky's face. You have to sign a lease and you have to be in one of those inner townhouses to have access to the
courtyard. It cost like 1500 to get in and they are real nice I hear but the rent is higher and you have to sign a lease and agree to all of these
rules. We checked into it after we noticed how mice the courtyard was.
The rules are pretty strict to stay in those townhouses. No smoking, no drinking, no unwed couples, a curfew for kids at 8PM and adults have to be out
of the courtyard by 10PM. Becky thought about this and said, wow I had no idea. We had seen that there was a form to download and we just didn't
bother since we did not want to sign a lease and agree to follow a bunch of rules without even seeing the place. The 2 ladies sat quietly for a
moment. Becky finished her cigarette and put it out and looked out the window one more time. Kim then added. We are kind of on the outside looking in
in this place. Becky nodded her head in agreement and said “I guess so”. It sure is nice in that courtyard though.
---------------------------------Checking out the Edgewood-----------------
Becky waved at Kim and said see you in a few. She headed back to her apartment to check and make sure no one had gotten in there while she was in the
laundry. The door was slightly ajar again. This time she felt sure it was that darn cat and so she approached the door very quietly. This time when
she got to the door she opened it with caution and there was that cat over by the couch. The cat spotted Becky and did not figure she could get out of
that door with Becky standing there. She hissed and turned to the fire escape and took a running leap and hit the door to the patio and practically
walked up it and clamored out the upper window. Up and out she went and over the security gate and onto the street below. Becky ran over to the window
to see where the cat went. It was on the street near the alleyway staring back up at her. The cat then turned and ran away into a nearby storm drain.
Becky thought this is the weirdest cat. How was it getting in the front door she wondered? Becky still felt a bit shaken from the intrusion of this
crazy cat. She needed to walk it off she thought. She grabbed her wallet off the dresser checked for some bills and found a 20 and pulled it out. She
put her wallet back this time under her mattress since she could not lock her front door until Jack had returned with a spare key.
She put on some of her walking shoes and ran a comb through her hair checked her face and then headed out the door of her apartment. She would check
out the rest of this place she thought. Once she was familiar with the place it would not seem so strange to her she reasoned. Becky started down the
hall. She passed by the laundry room and it was empty. She passed by the game room and there was Kim, sitting on a motocross simulator game and still
smoking a cigarette. Becky stopped and stuck her head in the game room and ask Kim where she got the change for the game? Kim said that the general
store was open now and Nick the shopkeeper gave her change for the wrinkled 5 spot. Kim smiled to her and waved off and headed to the general store.
As she passed by the gym there was one guy in there on the curl machine. He was a big guy she thought. He was facing away from her looking in the
mirror on the back wall. Her stare caught his eye and he kind of smiled wryly. Becky blushed a bit and backed out the doorway and continued down the
hallway to the general store.
Nick the shopkeeper was near the register by the front of the store. Mr Lord was there next to him talking with him. They both stopped their
conversation and looked up at Becky as she entered the store. Nick spoke up first. Good morning Miss Herse. Welcome to the Edgwood Courts general
store. Becky nodded and said thanks. Mr. Lord spoke up. Morning Becky are you settling in OK, is the apartment alright for you?
Its fine Mr. Lord, I am wondering though about this black cat that keeps getting into my apartment. Mr Lord smiled and looked over to Nicholas who
smiled back. Then Mr. Lord told her the story. You are talking about Sabrina. She used to live there. We have run her off a few time but somehow she
keeps getting back in. She has never bitten or scratched anyone so animal control does not have her in a very high priority I guess. Keep your door
locked and she will not bother you.. Is there anything else. No Mr. Lord we are enjoying the new apartment and we really love the price. Michael
smiled at her and nodded towards Nicholas and then bid his goodby for now. I will let Nicholas take care of you I have other matters to attend to.
Becky picked up some sandwich meat, a loaf of bread, and some chips. When she was ready to check out she saw that the shopkeeper has a name tag that
read Nicholas. She said I am told that you go by Nick. Nicholas smiled and said yes I am often called that. Becky ask for bills for the change
machine for her dryer load and Nicholas handed her several nice straight bills in her change. She headed back to her apartment. This time when she got
to her door the door was still closed. I guess that cat is not coming back for a while she thought to herself.
Becky unloaded her shopping bag and put away her groceries and headed to change her clothes to the dryer. She entered the laundry room just as Kim was
finishing folding her clothes. She went over to the change machine, put in a couple of bills and got her change for the dryer load. She then noticed
the price on the dryers. $2 for a dryer load she said aloud. Kim looked up from her clothes folding and smiled and said that will get them almost dry
if you don't have jeans or towels in the load.
Becky shook her head, loaded the coins into the dryers money slots and started up her dryer full of clothes. Once the clothes were started she walked
over to the window and lit up a cigarette. She offered one to Kim who waved her off and said “I'm good thanks.” Kim picked up her bundle of
laundry still in that sheet and headed back to her apartment.
Becky looked out the window over at the courtyard. The sun was out now and the rain had cleared. There were children out there now playing and
laughing on the playground with their mothers close by watching and either chatting with friends, working on their laptops or wireless devices, or
just watching the kids play. Becky felt something she had not felt before. She felt a kind of loneliness she had not felt before. She rather felt a
bit of envy for these happy people. She also noticed that there were no ashtrays in the courtyard. Just a trash bin with a bag caddy for animal waste
handling out near the edge of the courtyard's grassy area. There were tables and umbrellas and swings and slides and the ducks were now in the pond
swimming around. It was such a peaceful place she thought.
She decided to help make herself feel less lonely by sending Jack a text message. She sent, LUVU MISSU. A few moments later she received a text in
reply. LUVU2 Babe. She smiled and thought about Jack for a moment.
Jack was at the track picking up some quick money by taking notes on the horses condition for big Jim. Big Jim Clancy was about 60 years old. He was
in a wheelchair now and could not go down to the track or the stables and check out the horses. He had taught Jack what he needed to know about the
horses and Jack was down there taking notes before the first race. Silver Slipper was picked to win. He checked out Silver Slipper and watched the
horse move around during the trainers warmup. The horse showed the tell that Big Jim had taught him to look out for. The horse smelled of DMSO and was
walking kind of tight. The horse had been run pretty hard in his last race and had placed first. Now Jack went on to the second horse in the lineup.
Caesars Ghost which was a beautiful white mare was just sparkling that morning. She was perky and full of energy. She was working intently with her
trainer. She was in fine form that morning Jack thought to himself. Then it was onto the next horse. This one another mare called Queen Bee. She was a
lovely gold colored horse with a black tail and black mane, with black boots. She was fighting mad about something. She was in good form and walking
fine but she seemed distracted or upset about something.
Jack got his report back to Big Jim. Jim looked it over and talked to Jack about his evaluation. Jim gave Jack a stack of bills and told him how to
bet this race. Jack then got over and stood in the line at the ticket window. This is one of the things that Big Jim paid him to do. Not only did his
condition not allow him to get down to the stables anymore he also could not stand to be in line in a wheelchair. He had Jack for that and the young
man was showing promise. He would make $100 just for doing the evaluation of the horses and standing in the ticket line and bringing the tickets back
to Big Jim. It was a good deal for both of them. If they won Big Jim would pay Jack 10% of the winnings. Some days this amounted to a lot. Some days
not much at all.
Jim had picked Caesars Ghost to win, then Queen Bee in second, and finally Silver Slipper for third. He was going for the trifecta. He had Jack put
down $1000 and the payout was 30 to 1 for the trifecta. The race started and the horses ran their race and sure enough Jim hit the trifecta just as he
had hoped. Jack was exuberant. This would clear him with Benny he thought with some left over. Big Jim handed Jack the winning ticket and positioned
himself by the exit door to wait on him. He knew that Jack kid pretty well but there was just no sense tempting fate that the kid might bolt with his
winnings. Jack went to the teller and cached in the wining ticket. The teller just kind of smiled and handed him his winnings. That Big Jim has got a
system don't he he said to Jack. Jack just smiled and said the man is a genius.
Jack made his way to the spot near the exit door where Big Jim would be waiting. It did not offend Jack at all that Jim was cautious in this way.
$30,000 was a lot of money to trust even a family member with not to mention some kid who you have only known for a few years. He smiled and Jim
smiled as he handed him the money. Jim counted out his winnings and then subtracted out of the stack the $3000 for Jack. Handing the smaller stack
over to his young apprentice he said “walk me to the van Jack”. Of course Jack always walked him out after they had a win at the track. The Big
fella carried a gun hidden on him but would rather not have to pull it. Having Jack there just made the situation more secure. When they got to Big
Jim's van and were waiting for the lift gate to come down Jim looked up to his young apprentice and said, you know Jack the secret to hitting the
trifecta is not just about picking the winners in the right order. It is also knowing to walk away with your winnings and not pushing your luck or
bringing undue attention to your winning streak. Jack looked down at his mentor and nodded his head in agreement. I got you boss. Know when to say
Jack hurried home from the track with his winnings burning a hole in his pocket. He could hardly wait to tell Becky about their luck. As Big Jim drove
away and saw Jack getting on the bus he wondered to himself if this kid had what it takes to win in the long game. The game of life can be cruel to
edit on 11-10-2011 by wayouttheredude because: dyslexic