Oh, but those two fiascoes were behind me now. Ever since Black Saturday, I had vowed never to make the same mistake again with the double-triple. I have four children in college, after all, and so dreamed blissfully of cashing a bet and stashing it away for next semester's tuition and books. At the airport, the last thing Beyer said to me was, "I've been hot at Laurel lately. Don't forget: Stay in touch."
The next day so much was popping at the magazine that I stayed the entire afternoon and drifted from office to office. I never called Beyer, figuring I would join him at Laurel in the middle of the week. I returned to Washington that night, and the next afternoon, as I was leafing through the Post, a 42-point headline, stretched across the top of page 9 of the sports section, sent me reeling back in horror. My two cats leaped into the air and raced upstairs as I bellowed, "Oh, god, nooooooo!"
The headline: POST'S BEYER HITS DOUBLE-TRIPLE, WINS $195,070.50 AT LAUREL.
I slumped in a chair. What unspeakable act had I committed to deserve this? A 5% share of that pot would have been worth $7,802.82. It was Black Monday. Between that and Black Saturday, I would have had $13,000 for the year. For the second time in six months, I was at the very gates of Valhalla, about to step inside, when the door slammed.
"It wasn't the money," Beyer said sadly when I finally got in touch with him. "You missed the experience! It was the greatest triumph of my gambling life, and you weren't there to share in it. You should have stayed in touch. Next time."
No, thank you. Sometimes when Mickey Mantle was in a slump, he would bunt to get out of it. Similarly, I started playing the lottery this week. At the drawing, I recognized a lot of my numbers. Now, if I can just find the tickets. I know I set them down here someplace.