JC / Railbird

Eastern Gallop

Nearly 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Guardian begins running a series of short stories by East European writers. The first involves a trip to a racetrack, neatly tying together two of my great interests …

He had no idea about horse races and betting, but an old friend of his had spent a lot of time at the racetrack in the old East German days and up to the middle of the 90s, and told him a lot about it. And he thought he remembered that this old friend, who he hadn’t seen for almost ten years, had won a stack of money. And as he walked home now, past the bars and kebab places and the snack bar where he’d drunk two beers and a shot last night, he knew this was his last chance. Piet and Rolf and the horses.

Read the whole story here.


That was gross. Nothing like an uplifting, warm story to ease the modern soul.

Posted by Howbout a smile on June 17, 2009 @ 1:05 am

My apologies. Note to any future readers: This is not an inspirational or warm, fuzzy story. The protagonist is a lonely, elderly man marginalized in a society that has gone through a wrenching, difficult historical transition. There is an ill dog, and depictions of drunkenness and seedy betting scenes. The ending is ambiguous, most likely unhappy.

Posted by Jessica on June 17, 2009 @ 7:55 am