It was a 10-minute walk. By then Secretariat was standing in his stall, with blankets stacked up on his back, the back wrenched and his muscles tied up so badly that he couldn't move. Secretariat would not leave the barn for almost two weeks.
"That son of a gun ain't worth a quarter!" Laurin raved to one stablehand. Paul arrived shortly after Laurin's comment about him.
He would remember only bits and pieces of the ensuing tirade. "You better listen to me, young man!" Lucien told him. "You better pay attention when you're on those horses! Wake up!"
Turning away, Laurin said to him, "I want to see you in my office."
On the screened-in porch at the top of the staircase by the office, Feliciano stood and listened for five minutes as Laurin reproached and reproved him. Finally he said, "You come by in the morning and pick up your contract and your check."
"What could I do?" Paul pleaded. "He stopped when that other horse came by and I lost my balance."
It was no use. Feliciano was fired, and that was that.
Of course, Laurin had told him the same thing after Gold Bag had run away with him and the next day acted as if nothing had happened. But this time, Feliciano thought, he had raised such hell, seemed so angry, that he must be dead serious. Despondent and confused, Feliciano took that home with him. He believed that Laurin had given him a good chance to ride all but his best horses, had been generous and given him live mounts, not bums. Now that was finished, and with it a good chance to make it as a jockey.
The following morning Feliciano walked under the shed of Barn Five, coming early to pick up his contract. Lucien, arriving about seven, came into the shed telling his assistant trainer which exercise boy to put on what horse. He looked at Paul standing there waiting for his contract. "Put Paul on that one to gallop," Lucien said matter-of-factly.
And that was the last Feliciano heard of it.