Shirley sat high up in the grandstand, pressing herself against the back wall, invisible in the shadows.
She watched the lone man far below, as he slowly lugged his heavy black rubbish bag along the concrete, where only hours before fortunes had been won and lost. Systematically picking up discarded race tickets with his clawed extension stick, he didn’t look up, believing he was alone.
Today, only after the last race had been run, the punters joys and sorrows drifted away, and the horses put to bed, he came as he did every race day. More reliable than any bet, slower than any horse, and less sociable than a saddle, his pride ensured perfection in what others would regard as the lowliest task.
No-one was there to cheer him on. No roar would shake the grandstand for his finishing. His prize would be the cold beer waiting in his fridge, and the pay cheque that the head-injury specialists said he’d never earn.
Shirley watched him silently; her special man-boy, proudly independent… the days real winner.