If you get done with exams early, make your way out into Boston, but be careful if you make your way all the way out to Revere. The last stop on the Blue Line is Wonderland, a euphemistically named dogtrack.
On a particularly miserable Saturday evening, FM slogged through 45-degree temperatures and driven rain to the Wonderland Greyhound Park, a sprawling, Bukowskiesque complex that, like most of its patrons, has seen better days.
Inside, people of middle age drifting haggardly into dotage huddle around video kiosks with racing results beamed in from horse- and greyhound-tracks worldwide (or cable—one patron watched a Sandra Bullock movie). The tiled floor was littered with discarded ticket stubs, and the multi-story gambling lounge smelled like old cigarettes and old people.
Several salutary greetings and gestures went unreturned. Many patrons gambled, it seemed, with an intensity that precluded social contact. Conversation was scarce.
My photographer and I started to get dizzy. I got a headache, and she wanted a drink.
I put $5 on the line, lost a quick two bucks on No. 3 to place, then wagered another $3 on No. 8 to place. The odds were against No. 8 15-1 to win, but he crossed the line just ahead of third to place—I won! Then, after repeatedly trying to cash out on the automated machines, I was told by a prematurely aged track worker that I’d bought for the evening race. The 6:30 p.m. races were just the “matinee.” Fuck.
“I’ll cancel you out. Be more careful next time,” he grunted.
Yes, “next time.”
Wonderland Greyhound Park is located across a vast and, in the rainy season, flooded parking lot from the Wonderland T stop on the Blue Line. Admission is $2.
[Unrelated Editor’s Note: “Wonderland” is also the name of a 2003 movie about a murder connected to 1970s pornstar John Holmes]