Odds-on Favourite

by Graeme


“No, no, no. And finally, NO!”

Tim nodded. “I’ll pick you up at eight-thirty, Tuesday morning.”

Ryan glared. “What part of ‛no’ don’t you understand? I’m not going to the races. I don’t believe in gambling, and I certainly don’t like horse races.”

Tim rolled his eyes. “Come on, this isn’t just a horse race; it’s the Melbourne Cup! The race that stops a nation, as well as being a public holiday. You didn’t have any plans for the day off, did you?”

“Well, no, but–”

“No buts. You, me, and Cody are going to Flemington and we’re going to have a great time. See you then!” Tim turned and walked down the street.

“Wait! You can’t do this to me.” Ryan raised his voice. “I’M NOT GOING.”

Tim glanced over his shoulder, grinned, and waved. “See you Tuesday!” he yelled back.

Once he was around the corner and out of sight, Tim pulled out his phone and rang Cody.

“Well, did he go for it?” Cody asked.

“You owe me five bucks.”

“Don’t tell me he agreed to go. I gave that odds of twenty to one.”

“Of course he didn’t agree to go, this is Ryan we’re talking about, but he didn’t tell me not to pick him up, either. Hire a tux for him — if he doesn’t show I’ll pay you back. I’m looking forward to his reaction when he learns what we’ll all be wearing.”

“Mad Panic at ten to one; Absolute Refusal at eight to one; Angry Denouncement, even money; and Rolling Eyes the odds-on favourite,” Cody said.

“Standard rules?” Tim asked.

“Of course. No betting on the odds-on favourite.”

“In that case put me down for a dollar on Angry Denouncement.”

“A dollar? You’re a bloody cheapskate.”

Tim grinned. “Nope. Just saving my money for the better bets on Tuesday.”

* * *

Ryan was waiting outside when Tim drove up in his jet black Monaro. Letting his expression say everything he wanted to say, Ryan got in the passenger side.

“G’day, Ryan. Ready for a great day out?” Tim asked, cheerfully ignoring the look on Ryan’s face.

Ryan grunted.

“Glad to hear it! We’ll just go to Cody’s place, get changed, and then head off to the train station.”

“Get changed?” Ryan asked, before he remembered his intent not to participate.

“Of course! This is a glamour event we’re going to, so we’ll all be wearing tuxedos.”

“But I don’t have a tux!” Ryan said, conceding to himself that the silent treatment wasn’t going to work.

“No problems, mate. Cody’s hired three. Just try to not let him throw up on yours, or you’ll be paying the dry cleaning costs.”

Ryan grunted. “I’m not going to enjoy myself, just so you’re aware.”

Tim laughed. “Ryan, we know you. Fun is not your middle name, but happily Cody and I will share our middle names with you for the day, so you don’t miss out. What do you want to be called: Daveneil or Neildave?”

Ryan couldn’t stop himself from grinning. “How about Ryan?”

Tim frowned. “An odd name, but you’re an odd person. Okay, Ryan Ryan Mackenzie it is.”

A few minutes later, they pulled up in front of the house where Cody lived. Tim led the way to the front door and pushed the button to announce their presence.

“It’s open!” Cody yelled from somewhere inside.

Tim opened the door and waved Ryan through. They entered the living room just as Cody entered from the other end, munching on a piece of toast.

Tim grinned. “Breakfast was ages ago. Did you forget to set the alarm clock?”

Cody shook his head. “Nope. It’s all set. I just didn’t turn it on. It’s a bloody public holiday, for God’s sake. Alarm clocks are against the law on days like today.”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “So is making people get out of bed early so they can be taken to a dumb horse race on their day off.”

Cody and Tim both made crosses with their index fingers. “Sacrilege!”

“By the way, Cody, how come your house mates aren’t around? I thought they were going to the Cup, too,” Tim said.

“Unlike me, they set their alarms. They left fifteen minutes ago. We’d better get a move on, too. I’ll go get the tuxes. You two should start getting changed now, or we’ll miss the train,” Cody said.

Tim pulled off his shirt and kicked off his shoes. He paused when he noticed Ryan wasn’t moving. “Come on, mate! We’re all going in matching clothes, and we can’t do that if you don’t join in. Strip off or we’ll be late.”

Muttering under his breath, Ryan took his phone and wallet out of his pockets and removed his clothes. When Cody returned, Ryan and Tim were both down to their underwear.

“Okay, guys. Here’s the clothes. I’ll take your stuff and put it away so my housemates don’t get upset if they get back before us.” Cody dropped off one pile of clothes and took away Ryan’s and Tim’s discards.

Tim put the three bow ties to one side, picked up a jacket, and handed it to Ryan. “Here you go.”

Ryan looked at it. “What about the shirt?”

Tim shook his head. “No shirt. It’s forecast for almost thirty, so it’ll be too bloody hot if you wear a shirt.

“A tux without a shirt?” Ryan shrugged and put on the jacket. “As long as you two are the same. Now, where are the pants?”

“Hey, Ryan!” Cody said as he came back into the room. He was wearing just a pair of boxers. “Looking good! With you like that, we’ll be pulling lots of girls.”

Ryan put his hands on his hips. “Did you forget that I’m gay and don’t want to pull lots of girls?”

“Of course not, but that’s where Tim and I come in. Our job is to rescue you by taking the girls off your hands. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.”

“Very funny, now where are the pants?” Ryan glanced towards the pile of clothes that Cody had brought in, but before he moved, Tim attracted his attention.

“Ryan, over here!”

Ryan turned and found Tim taking a photo with his phone.

“Very funny, Tim.” Ryan moved the remaining jacket and then turned back to Cody. “Where’s the rest of the clothes?”

Cody looked innocent as he took the last tuxedo jacket and slipped it on. “It’s too hot for pants. Tim and I thought we’d go like this.”

“No, no, no and no! I’m not going out in public in my underwear!”

Cody and Tim exchanged grins before Cody turned to Ryan and tried to look confused. “But you look fine! While I hate to admit it, you’re the best looking one out of the three of us, and you’re a guaranteed chick magnet the way you are. Putting on pants would just ruin it.”

Ryan crossed his arms. “I’m not going, and there’s no way you can make me. Knowing you, you’ve probably hidden my clothes so you think I’ve got no choice, but I’ll stay here, instead, if I have to.”

Cody shrugged. “Shocked Innocence at twenty to one; Maybe and Probably both at even odds; Guilty As Charged, odds-on favourite.”

Ryan stared. “What are you going on about?”

“It’s Melbourne Cup Day, mate! Betting is the norm for the day, and I’m just providing the odds.”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “I’m not going out dressed like this.”

“Spoilsport,” Tim said without rancour. “Looks like plan B, Cody.”

“Sadly, I think you’re right, Tim-boy. I’ll be right back.”

While Cody disappeared, Ryan turned to Tim. “What’s plan B?”

“Board shorts. I told you it’s too bloody hot for pants.”

Ryan thought about it and then slowly nodded his head. “Okay, I can live with that.” He jabbed a finger in Tim’s direction. “But only if we’re all wearing them.”

Tim grinned. “We will. You didn’t really think that we’d let you wear board shorts while we went in our underwear, did you?”

Ryan grunted. “I have no idea what you two are going to do, and I’m not sure if I really want to know.”

“That’s an easy one,” Cody said as he entered with some floral boardies. “Having Fun, even money; Meeting New People, also even money; Kissing Strangers, three to one; Getting Laid, ten to one; Getting Plastered, odds-on favourite. The beers aren’t cheap at the race course, so I hope you’ve brought enough money.”

Tim frowned. “Why’s Getting Laid at ten to one? That’s longer odds that I want.”

Cody shrugged. “If it was just me, it would be odds-on favourite, but we’ve got you dragging the probabilities down. We’re going to need Ryan to pull some really desperate girls if you’re going to have a chance of getting laid.”

Tim glared. “You’re on. Ten bucks on Getting Laid.”

Ryan sighed as he pulled on the shorts. He could tell it was going to be a long day.

“Here’s your keys, Ryan. You left them in your jeans,” Cody said.

“I won’t need them, so I thought I’d leave them here and pick them up when we get back.”

Tim shook his head. “Not smart. If Cody and I get lucky, you’ll have to make your own way home and you’ll need your keys for that.”

Ryan sighed and put the keys in a pocket. “Sounds like I’m in for a great time,” he said, loading his words with as much sarcasm as he could. Tim and Cody grinned.

“I’ll just get the gum boots and we’ll be off,” Cody said.

“Gum boots?” Ryan asked, trying to work out what the two crazy guys had planned.

“Of course. The forecast is possible late thunderstorms, so we have to go prepared,” Tim said.

Ryan stared. “Tux jacket, bow tie, no shirt, board shorts and gum boots. That’s what we’re wearing?”

“Yep! The Melbourne Cup is a classy event, and we have to dress the part.”

* * *

To his surprise, Ryan was beginning to enjoy himself. They received a lot of odd glances on the train trip, but when two guys dressed as nuns boarded, and then three girls in togas, he knew he wasn’t really out of place. Most people who got off at Flemington were dressed casually or formally, but there were enough oddballs that the three of them didn’t attract any frowns of disapproval, and received several admiring glances, though only from girls.

Cody looked around. “First things first. The bar. I’ll get the first round. Long Queues is the odds-on favourite, so we’d better start early. You guys find a good spot where everyone can see us. We’ll need it if Tim’s going to have a chance of scoring.”

Tim flipped a finger at his friend. “Get the drinks, bastard. We’re dying of thirst here.”

“Can’t allow that to happen. This early, none of the girls are drunk enough to give you mouth-to-mouth if you faint. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Ryan followed Tim until they found a vantage point near the stand.

“We can’t see much of the track from here,” Ryan said as he stretched up on tiptoes.

“We’re not here to see the track. We’re here to have fun. Haven’t you worked that out?” Tim said while scanning the crowd. “We just need somewhere near lots of girls, so you can start showing off those muscles of yours.”

“I’m just a slab of meat on display, is that it?” Ryan asked, beginning to get annoyed.

Tim seemed surprised. “But you’re so good at it! What’s your problem?”

Ryan spluttered for a moment, until Tim laughed and draped an arm over his shoulders. “Relax, mate! Don’t worry about it; we’ll make sure you won’t need to have sex with more than three girls.”

“This is all a game to you, isn’t it? Well, newsflash, Tim — I’m not having fun!” Ryan felt a tinge of guilt at the exaggeration, but he thought he was justified in making a point.

Tim crossed his arms, stared at Ryan, and shook his head. “I can see you’re going to be hard work, so I think I’ll go help Cody get the beers. We’ll need them to fortify ourselves until you start to calm down. The queues are probably already long, so please don’t wander off.”

“Where the bloody hell would I go? You’ve set me up, you and Cody, because you bloody well know there’s no way I’d be able to go home by myself, dressed like this!”

Tim grinned. “I always knew you were bright as well as good looking. If any girls try to hit on you, see if you can keep them around until we get back. Otherwise, try to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.”

Ryan was still grumbling to himself five minutes later.

“Nice outfit! I wish I’d thought of it.”

Ryan’s first reaction was to snap back, but then he caught sight of the speaker. A dark haired guy around his own age was grinning while staring appreciatively. The stranger was dressed in tight-fitting jeans and a T-shirt, with a light denim vest and boots. He had a pleasant face with a bright smile that instantly cooled Ryan’s temper.

“You’re not wearing a bad outfit yourself,” Ryan said, giving the guy a faint smile.

The young man glanced at his clothes before looking back at Ryan. “It’s more suited for a country fair than the Cup, but I like it. Your outfit, however, is a work of art. A perfect blend of casual, formal, and the ridiculous.” He stuck out a hand. “I’m Greg, by the way.”

“Ryan, and thanks. But the outfit wasn’t my idea. Two of my friends picked it out and I just got to wear it.” Ryan couldn’t help notice that Greg was slow to let go after shaking hands. He told himself not to read too much into it.

Greg looked around. “Where are they?”

“Off getting beers. They said they’d be awhile.”

Greg nodded. “Yeah, the queues can be pretty bad. The best time is during the races, because most people are watching the track, but when you need a drink…”

Ryan laughed. “You need a drink. What about you? Here with friends?”

Greg shrugged. “I was supposed to catch up with a mate from work, but finding anyone in this crowd is more difficult than I thought. Would you mind if I hung around here with you until he shows up?”

“Not at all! What do you do for a living?”

“Male prostitute.” Greg kept a straight face for almost three seconds before grinning. “Accountant, actually, though I believe hookers make more money.”

Ryan laughed. “I wouldn’t know, and I’ve never been tempted to find out how much they charge.”

“Same here. What about you? What do you do for a crust?”

“I’m a builder.”

Greg nodded. “Lots of outdoors work, then, which is where you got the tan and probably the muscle tone, too.”

Ryan smiled but didn’t respond. He kept getting signals from Greg, but he knew the odds were that the guy was straight.

“I wish I had muscle tone like that, but it’s too hard with a desk job. I’d have a better chance to work out properly if I really was a male prostitute. What do you think? Should I change jobs?” Greg raised an eyebrow and grinned.

Ryan grinned back. “I think you’d do well if you did. You wouldn’t need to work out first; you look fine as is.”

“Thanks for the compliment. Changing topics, who do you fancy for the Cup?”

Ryan shrugged. “No idea. I don’t even know who’s running.”

Greg appeared shocked. “You haven’t studied the form?”

“I hadn’t intended to be here, but my friends had other ideas. I’ve never been to Flemington before, or placed a bet on the Cup.”

Before Greg could respond, Ryan’s phone beeped. He pulled it from the tuxedo’s inside pocket and read the text message. “Great! Just fucking great!”

“What is it?” Greg asked.

“My two mates have found some girls and they’ve told me they won’t be back. I’m on my own for the day.” Ryan kicked at a stone on the ground. “I might as well head home.”

“Well, my mate seems to have disappeared, too. How about the two of us hang out for the day? I’ll show you the ropes and we’ll see which one of us can avoid losing the most money.”

Ryan laughed. “Deal!”

* * *

Cody nodded as Tim put his phone away and picked up his drinks. “Smart move.”

Tim looked at Cody. “What do you think?” Each guy was carrying two plastic cups filled with beer.

Cody considered the two guys for a moment. “Ryan Gets Lucky, odds-on favourite; Weekend for Two at two to one; Long Term Relationship at ten to one; Loverboy Screws Up, twenty to one.”

“Fifty bucks on the sentimental favourite, Long Term Relationship.”

Cody spluttered. “Fifty? We’ve got a limit of ten bucks, remember. Should I put you down for ten?”

Tim shook his head. “Nah, I think I’ll pass. Some things we shouldn’t bet on.”

“Bite your tongue! We bet on everything on Cup Day.” Cody smiled. “But I think I agree with you on this one. We’ll both cheer on the sentimental favourite, even if we don’t have any money on it.”

Tim and Cody watched from a distance as Greg put an arm across Ryan’s shoulders and steered him towards the bookies.

“What do you think he’ll do when he finds out it was a setup, and that I sent that picture of him in the jacket and underpants to my workmate Greg so he knew who to make the move on?” Tim asked.

“Screaming and Yelling, two to one; Accusations of Manipulative Bastards, four to one; Shrugging It Off, ten to one; Not Impressed, even money; Getting The Finger, odds-on favourite.”

Tim went with his gut. “Ten bucks on Manipulative Bastards, but he’ll be smiling when he says it.”

Done! Now let’s finish our beers and go find us some girls.”

Copyright Notice — Copyright © November 2009 by Graeme.

The author copyrights this story and retains all rights. This work may not be duplicated in any form — physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise — without the author's expressed permission. All applicable copyright laws apply.

Disclaimer: All individuals depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental.

I would like to thank Ray, C James, and also everyone from The Mail Crew for the advice they have given me on this story.

I would also like to thank Rain from The Mail Crew for editing this story for me. I can thoroughly recommend their website to all teenagers who are gay, lesbian, bi or not sure.