no man is an island, especially around Hollywood Park

well, I use valet parking at the track, it’s only
2 bucks more than preferred
and I’m usually late, hungover, and
I   leave the machine there, right at entrance:
one only needs a planned and reasonable
to continue to pass through the

the valets see me every day so they know I’m a
regular, some kind of   special
but I’ve held my communication to a
minimal and polite
my only reference to their
genuine alacrity
and humanity
being the daily buck tip
I slip to the man who tools up
old IHRS 291,
which is about the time
they are putting them in the gate
for the last
and there’s nobody about except me
and the valets.

now, of late, the fellows
have been asking
in a curious manner
about those strange cigarettes upon the
and I inform each of them that
they are
erala dinesh beedies
from India
rolled and made from
betal leaf.

one afternoon
after having myself an excellent
$425 day
the valet who brought the car
nodded toward the
dash, asked, “hey,   mind if I try
one of those?”

“not at all,” I said, “and here, give some
to your buddies…”
and I handed him a

then I stalled, fastening my
seat belt, putting on my driving
glasses, adjusting the side mirror, turning
on the radio.
and when I looked over before
there were the 8 or 9   valets
sitting on the long yellow
bench, each puffing on   a
erala dinesh beedie.
“get high, fuckers!” I yelled
and as a group
they all waved

and I cut right
up the exit lane
thinking, there are things more
important than beating the
horses, really,
but not much more

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript