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Damon Runyon

“Son, no matter how far you travel, or how smart you get, always remember this: someday, somewhere, a guy is going to come to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is never broken, and this guy is going to bet you that the jack of spades will jump out of this deck and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not bet this man, for as sure as you do you are going to get an ear full of cider.”

Damon Runyon

Kentucky Derby is on in a few days. I can hear the squeaking of wooden boards on the deck of the paddle steamer somewhere, the pump and wheel rhythmically splashing into the quiet river as the early evening sun begins to set. There is no such thing as a completely decisive analysis for pricing of money outcomes, otherwise there would be bookies, and no bets, and only one opinion held by all participants. Different, often opposing opinions make a market, and the bookmaker stands in the middle taking from either end. And he always wins, except for that mysterious one time only… When he sees the squeaking shiny new leather boots of the guy with that fateful deck of cards with seal unbroken. And then, the book begins to ask bigger sit-money. And he fears something. And the birds. The birds… Fly around… wheeeoooheee, wheeehooo, wheeehoooeee. Listen to the birds, they’ll help you. Because there’s bits of paper fluttering away in the light breeze. The breeze is SO-O-O light. But the papers flutter away all the same, and just too quick for the grasping desperate hand to catch. The birds know how to flutter away. But they know too how to flutter right back. The bits of paper, though, do not have any brain at all, and they just flutter, flutter, in the breeze. Meanwhile someone’s shining one silver dollar. And juicing some apples. ‘Cause that is all it’s gonna take.

Calvin J. Bear

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