Now when Mark the bartender bought off the bet for five hundred dollars, the others knew, no matter what, that I had won. Here’s how it worked.
After five innings the Cubs were down to the Cardinals, 11 runs to zip. That’s when I asked for ten to one odds on a hundred-dollar wager that the Cubs would come back, to at least, tie the game. Along with the bartender, three regulars quickly chorused, hell yeah. So, I was wagering four-hundred dollars to win four thousand dollars. A price of the entertainment only wager, best believe.
When the Cubs scored four runs, right off the bat, in the bottom of the sixth, I ordered a round and offered to let all buy off the bet for $750.00 each. Now that got a big laugh, and a thank you for the drinks. And it was all sippin’ whiskey good until the Cubs added three more in the seventh, making the score 11 to seven. But still the Cardinals way with two innings to play. Six outs. And of course the Cubs bat last.
But Mark had a feeling. It vibrated around him as he did his bartending things. Six hundred will end it Mark, I said. And admit to being shocked when he countered with, Make it five. Count it out, I said. And He did. And I didn’t offer any of the other three a chance to purchase back their bets. I just let them watch Mark peel bills from his roll. Now I’ve already won. I’m two hundred to the good, no matter what.
The Red Birds go one, two, three, top of the eighth. The Cubs first two batters reach to start the bottom of the frame. First and third, no outs. Then a sacrifice fly, making it 11 to eight with one out, but the next batter sits after a border line call strike three. A rent a player, fresh off the waiver wire is announced as a pitch hitter. It’s a lefty righty thing, so a pitching change allows time for a bit of auctioneering.
Only down by three, and the Cubs now getting deep into that sorry ass St.Louis bull-pen, I so summed up, with some TV sports color guy intonation. Hows ’bout you, Apfel drinker, I said to the cutie drinking shots. She demurred, but Samuel Adams set his pilsner glass down a wee bit hard and chimed $400 and you’ve got to take a check. The check is no problem, I said, but the amount is wrong. Seven hundred would be just right. At which point the crack of the bat snapped deep. And the crowd went wild, and it echoed a bit, Wrigley Field being but two blocks away. The inning ended 11 to 10, just one run for the needed tie and still another three outs to go.
The Goose Island guy pleaded poverty until Friday a week, but I knew he was good for the $500.00. And Samuel Adams couldn’t put his Hancock on the check for the same amount quickly enough.
But the sister drinking the shots ordered another and just smiled.Then sneered, and said, she hating giving odds. But they were in her favor, I reminded her. She winked when the Cubs lead-off batter whiffed to start the ninth. One down, two outs to go, and I’m one run behind. The pinch hitter, batting all of 180, say about a hundred points higher than his I.Q., tried and failed to lay down a bunt. Two outs, and chance dimming. Strike three. Damn. I folded a fresh Franklin and handed it to her.
Give that loser another Basil Hayden or whatever bitch piss he prefers, she told Mark the bartender, who giggled his way to the top shelve. Sure thing, Susan, he said.
Hey, I said, Let’s late dinner at the Mash Potato Club.
Now you’re talkin’, said Susan… you know I really like that place.