“I’m putting my bet down on Horse 7,” Jill said. The bookie looked at her with contempt, and the man behind her dropped his Diet Coke in the surprise. Several others behind her in line audibly gasped.
“Horse 7? Are you nuts?” the Diet Coke-less man asked, though from his tone it was more like an exclamation.
“I don’t think I’m entirely unreasonable, do I?” Jill asked. “I can’t remember if I do.”
“You obviously don’t remember enough to know not to bet on Horse 7,” he said. “Come on with me, so you can buy me a new Diet Coke. You’re obviously loaded if you are going to blow your money on stuff like this.”
She went with him and bought him his new Diet Coke.
“What should I call you?” Jill asked. They were walking towards the stands to sit down and watch the race, though the copious crowds made it difficult to navigate the concessions area.
“Call me Diet Coke,” he said. “That’s all I’m good for, so it should probably be my name.”
“If you say so,” Jill said. “My name is Jill.”
“Ah, Jill? As in, Jack and?”
“Absolutely not,” she said with disgust. She picked up the pace of her walking, and separated from Diet Coke. He could no longer see her within the crowd of people.
Jill drank from her own Diet Coke, which she bought later, after leaving the man named Diet Coke for his prior comment. She had not seen him since, and she was glad, for she wanted to be able to watch the race in peace, and see if Horse 7 would win.
The horses were being pulled out at the moment, and it seemed like the race was about to begin. She wasn’t sure if that was a bad thing or a good thing, because sometimes she felt that the anticipation of an event was greater than the event itself, though it depended on both the event in question and the amount of anticipation of said event.
“I really want to know what you were so angered by,” Diet Coke said. Not the drink, but the man, who had found her and sat down next to her. “I don’t believe I said anything incredibly offensive, did I?”
Jill turned her head away from him. “It’s common knowledge that one simply does not joke about… that poem about the children going up the hill. Breaking one’s crown is NOT a laughing matter.”
“No, no…” Diet Coke said. “It’s not at all a laughing matter. It’s a beautiful ballad, though, Jill. Superb. I feel the emotions, the ‘feels’ as the kids say it, every time I hear about you coming and tumbling after. Please understand.”
Taking a sip of her drink, Jill sneered. “You only want me to hear this because you want this Diet Coke to be you.”
“It’s true that I feel a certain passion for you, but… it’s because you bet on Horse 7. It’s an incredibly bold move. No other woman would ever have done something like that. I’m intoxicated by you.”
“Yes, by mee, and by your Diet Coke as well. Now let us watch the race.”
“Please don’t watch the race. You don’t want to see Horse 7. Watch me instead.”
“No,” Jill said, staring him directly in the eyes.
And at this, the horse race began. In the first instant that the gates opened, Horse 7 obliterated itself, separating its atoms and letting each of them warp at lightspeed towards the goal. Each particle that its atoms collided with disintegrated and exploded into a blinding light; all onlookers were killed instantly. Horse 7 reassembled itself at the finish line, and then Jill and Diet Coke diverted their gazes to the horse.
Jill stood up, brushed her skirt, and went to collect her winnings, with Diet Coke following her.