The King of King’s Road (4)

(continued from The King of King’s Road (3))

The coins began to accumulate as people stopped to watch the homeless man and his Rubik’s cube. By the early afternoon, the coffee can was half-filled with mostly 1p, 2p, 5p, and 10p coins. The homeless man got up from his spot, gathered his belongings and began to push his heavily-laden shopping cart along The King’s Road. He passed several trendy restaurants, coffee shops, food markets and grocery stores without stopping to buy something to eat or drink. Finally, he stopped outside a William Hill betting shop and paused.

The homeless man hesitated and gazed through the door of the betting shop for a few minutes before opening it, lifting his shopping cart over the threshhold and pushing it inside. He picked up a discarded Racing Post and pencil from the floor and began to turn the pages until he reached the day’s listings for Newmarket. He studied the entries for the 4:40pm Three Chimneys Handicap, spending about 20 minutes analyzing the statistics for each horse and scribbling notes next to each name. Finally, he took a betting form and filled in his selections, betting three horses each way in a Trifecta. He then went to the counter and spilled out his coins, counting out ten pounds and keeping the few coins that remained. He gave the coins and the betting form to the man behind the counter, who returned a copy of his bet as a receipt.

The homeless man then stood in the betting shop and watched some of the races that were being broadcast on the closed circuit televisions until finally it was time for the Three Chimneys Handicap at Newmarket. He watched intently for close to a minute as two of his horses battled back and forth for the lead and finally finished first and second. Unfortunately, his third choice finished out of the money and spoiled his Trifecta. The winning Trifecta paid over one thousand pounds, but the homeless man collected nothing. Instead, he took out his Rubik’s cube and began solving the puzzle over and over again for almost an hour. Finally, he left the betting shop and began to push his shopping cart back along The King’s Road to his protected spot next to the fire house.        To be continued… 

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