EXT. RACE TRACK – DAY
The sun shines bright over the mostly empty stands of the race track. A few employees walk around, mostly out of boredom instead of dedication to their customers. The stands are almost entirely old men, enjoying the sparsely populated stands by spreading their belongings between at least three seats per man. The grass is the slight yellow of summer bermuda and the sweat of the fans is palpable.
One of these men sits as near as possible to the track. He is in his early sixties with a balding head, covered by a baseball cap, and a bushy gray mustache. In each of the seats next to him, he’s placed half the Sunday paper. He looks through the comics page, while occasionally glancing up at the dogs being led to the start line. He smiles widely to himself. This is PETER, and this is what he has done every Sunday for the last thirty three years.
It isn’t the best, but it is a routine.
And it’s about to be broken.
The metal steps of the racetrack clang with heavy, quick footsteps. Peter turns around, slightly befuddled. The expression on his face changes from content to an awkward, polite smile.
Well, nice to see ya!
The man before him is in his late twenties and sweating bullets. The sweat stains on his dress shirt are unfortunately prominent with its light blue color. The melting product in his hair is changing its usually coiffed style into an abstract shape. He leans down and places his hands on his thighs, panting. He looks up at Peter, his face blushed with embarrassment and eyes shot with nerves. This is JACOB.
I-the guy-the guy with the tickets. He said the race was starting soon so I-I ran.
Oh! Oh, yeah jus’ about. But Jacob, this ain’t exactly like a movie. Not gonna interrupt any trailers, heh heh.
The two men stare at each other for a beat. Jacob slowly moves into the stand, places a hand on one of the seats covered by newspaper, and waits. Peter has already gone back to his comics. Jacob watches him for longer than he should.
Peter chuckles at Marmaduke and turns the page.
Jacob coughs again.
Peter furrows his brow at Doonesbury.
Jacob taps his fingers on the seat.
Peter leans back in thought, realizes the joke, and lets out a hearty laugh.
May I move this?
Oh. Oh! Oh yeah. Oh yeah, sorry ‘bout that.
Jacob sits down frustrated and holds his head in his hands. He unbuttons his collar and looks over to Peter. Peter has put down his newspaper and instead, he is watching the dogs as a way of avoiding eye contact.
I’m really sorry. I should have just asked from the start, and now I seem like such a prick…
(always looking at the dogs)
Nah, nah, ya ain’t a prick, I was just focused on the comics.
Thanks. Sorry to show up out of the blue, too. The flight got delayed, and then, I, uh, think Amy and Doris wanted to talk alone for a bit and Doris told me I could see you here so…
Not a problem. Not a problem. How long’s that flight delayed for?
There’s some kind of bad storm around Lake Michigan…so maybe tomorrow? Maybe six hours? Maybe Wednesday?
Well, I’m sure the guest room’ll be fine for a little while longer?
Sure, definitely. I just need to be sure work understands. But hey, could use a bit more of a break, huh?
Jacob finally realizes that Peter has been watching the dogs the whole time they have been talking. His voice tapers off. After a moment of hesitation, he leaps into the fray of conversation.
So! Who’s your dog?
Oh, yeah. Uh, she’s the third one from the right. Mississippi Millie.
Peter points to a young, peppy dog with a green vest with a number 7. She bobs her head happily as she’s led to the starting gate.
Wow, she looks like a great racer, very…fast and…sleek?
Yeah, she’s a big ol sweetheart. I go to her kennel before the races? Give ‘er some treats and she’s just so happy. What a good girl.
Minnie! Good girl Minnie!
We’re tryna beat Red Hot Charlie. He won last time, that son of a bitch. But Minnie’s got grit.
(back to Minnie)
Minnie looks ahead at the race. Peter is a little crushed.
I didn’t know they still did dog races anymore. Looks like it’s a bit of a niche…
Don’t have greyhound racin’ in Indiana?
Well, um, I think it’s illegal.
Well, it can be pretty abusive. There’ve been some bad collisions, and dogs don’t get treated right, and it’s pretty nasty, I think.
God. Well, I, um, I don’t think it’s like that here.
I’m sure it’s not, but you asked, so I-
I mean, this is mostly just people who own kennel clubs and do it on the side.
Right, of course, I didn’t mean every place-
Minnie’s owner, Dave? Known him for a long time so he’s okay, but the others…I hadn’t really thought about that.
I’m sure they’re fine. You trust him, so they’re probably good folks, right?
Well-sure-but…oh god, they better be good. I-
Look! It’s starting!
Peter’s worried expression changes to excitement. He stands up and leans over the railing as the lure goes out and the dogs sprint out.
Go! Go! Go! Minnie, good girl! Good girl Minnie!
Minnie, already at the back of the pack, begins to slow down. She turns to Peter and begins to trot over in the direction of his voice, a smile plastered all over her face.
(holding back laughter)
No! No, Minnie, no no bad girl. Aw, damnit. Charlie won again.
Red Hot Charlie triumphantly sits at the finish line in his red vest. Peter, in a rare moment of anger, glares at the winning greyhound. Red Hot Charlie turns away. Peter throws his hat to the ground and jogs up the stairs in rage.
Jacob sits in shock. Bewildered, he picks up the paper and begins to follow Peter up the stairs. He turns and flips Red Hot Charlie off. His sympathetic rage quickly dies off and his face goes bright red. He starts going up the stairs again.
What was that for? Why…there are people watching. Jesus, Jacob.