The floating orb hovered over the painting above the hearth
“Wow, look Paul, it’s called ‘Magic Orb’ – I love a magic orb, I’ll bet on it” She exclaimed.
“You can’t”, her brother replied, “You’re too young to bet.”
“Oh, OK. Well, will you put it on for me, please? Here is a fiver, what are the odds?”
Paul entered the bookies and looked at the screen, and saw the generous odds. Holding the door open he shouted out at his sister, “It’s ten to one, are you sure you want to waste five quid on it?” “Yeah, stick it on for me.” Her mind was made up.
Ten minutes later the race had started but unfortunately she was too young even to enter the shop, so her brother propped the door open and relayed the state of the runners from within.
His face creased into a deep, delighted chuckle, “Ha, ha, it’s off to a shocker of a start.” He did enjoy her misfortune. Slowly, however, Magic Orb started gaining on the others. “It’s catching up. It’s passed one!” he cried.
Frustrated she stood outside illicitly drawing deeply on a cigarette and willing this chestnut brown horse on. “Where’s the race taking place?” she called into the smoky bookmaker’s office. “Aintree,” Paul replied, “In Liverpool.”
Slowly, slowly, she heard her brother’s tone change as the steed kept gaining on those in front, until finally it was second. Paul’s tone reached a crescendo as the final metres came and Magic Orb drew level with Egg Face, the leader and favourite.
“He’s going to do it!” Paul screamed finally. She stood outside and smiled. Fifty quid! Thinking of all Elvis memorabilia she could buy with that she smirked as a bubblingly excited Paul exited the shop.
Oddly he had the money in a envelope, she took it happily and the were giggling all the way home. On arriving Paul took a second envelope from his pocket and trapped it between the picture frame and the wall above the mantlepiece; where he put all his important letters and cash.
“What’s that?” she asked. Half sheepish, half bullish he replied “My winnings.” “What?” she stuttered as she tore open her envelope.
Five quid. “Yeah,” he said, “Your stake. You get the stake back when you win. I placed the bet, so legally the winnings are mine. It’s the law.”