clones

he told me, I had loaned this guy
200.
then he vanished.
I heard he went to Europe.
I figured not to worry about
it:   the money was
gone.

no use losing your god damned
sleep, I said.

anyhow, he continued, I was in
the clubhouse the other night
at the harness meet.
I was in a betting line and I
saw this guy two lines
over.

and he looked like the guy you
loaned the 2 centuries to? I
asked.

right, he answered, Mike.  he
looked like Mike.
only Mike was always well-
dressed and polished.
this guy was in old clothes.
he had a dirty beard and was
red-eyed like some
cheap wino.

I gotta cut down on my
drinking, I said.

anyhow, it so happened we
both finished our bets at
about the same time.
I walked off.

no use losing your sleep,
I said.

then, he continued, I felt
a pull at my elbow.
“Marty,” he said and handed
me the 200.

a most stunning occurence, I said.

yeah, said Marty, I thanked him
then went out to watch the
race.

sure, I said.

well, he continued, I won that
race.
and as the night went on I won
a few more.
it was a good night for
me.

when you’re hot, I said, you’re
hot.

anyhow, he went on, just before
the last race this guy came up
to me and he said, “hey, Marty,
I’ve hit the wall.   lend me a
fifty.”

yeah?   I asked.

yeah, he said, now listen to
this good.   first we had this
guy who looked like Mike only
he looked more like a cheap
wino, right?

right, I said.

o.k., he said, now this guy
looked like the guy who looked
like Mike only he didn’t quite
look like the guy who looked like
Mike, it was more like he was
pretending to look like the guy
who looked like Mike.

everybody seems to get to look
alike after 8 or 9 races, I
said.

right, said Marty, so I told
him, “I don’t know you.”
I placed a 50 buck win bet on
the 4 horse, then
took the escalator down
to the parking lot.

no use losing your god damned
sleep, I said.

I didn’t, he said, I went home,
drank a pint of    Cutty Sark
and slept ’til noon.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1982
Source
Original manuscript