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Are you a gambling man?” Vera asks me. She hands on an envelope to a bartender in the Meatpacking District as she sips on a whiskey and ginger ale. The envelope contains money for one of its own customers. Vera’s a bookie and a runner, and also to be clear, Vera’s not her real name. She is a small-time bookie, or a bookmaker, one who takes stakes and leaves commission them off. She books football tickets and collects them from pubs, theater stagehands, workers at job sites, and sometimes building supers. Printed on the tickets which are the size of a grocery receipt are spreads for college football and NFL games. At the same time, she is a”runner,” another slang term to describe somebody who delivers spread or cash numbers to some boss. Typically bookies are men, not women, and it is as though she’s on the pursuit for new blood, searching for young gamblers to enlist. The paper world of soccer betting has sunk in the surface of the wildly popular, embattled daily dream sites like FanDuel or DraftKings. “Business is down due to FanDuel, DraftKings,” Vera says. “Guy bet $32 and won 2 million. That’s a load of shit. I want to meet him.” There is a nostalgic sense to circling the numbers of a football spread. The tickets have what seem like traces of rust on the edges. The faculty season has ended, and she didn’t do so bad this year, Vera states. What is left, though, are swimming pool bets for the Super Bowl. Vera started running numbers back when she was fourteen years old at a snack bar where she was employed as a waitress. The chef called in on a phone in the hallway and she would deliver his bets to bookies for horse races. It leant an allure of young defiance. The same was true when she bartended from the’80s. “Jimmy said in the start,’I’m going to use you. Just so you know,”’ she says, remembering a deceased boss. “`You go into the pub, bullshit together with the boys. You can talk soccer with a guy, you are able to pull them , and then they are yours. ”’ Jimmy died of a brain hemorrhage. Her next boss died of brain cancer. Vera says she overcome breast cancer herself, even though she smokes. She underwent radioactive treatment and refused chemo. Dead bosses left behind clients to run and she would oversee them. Other runners despised her in the beginning. They could not understand why she’d have more clientele . “And they’d say,’who the fuck is the donkey, coming over here carrying my occupation? ”’ she says just like the men are throwing their dead weight about. Sometimes the other runners tricked her, for instance a runner we will call”Tommy” maintained winnings he was supposed to hand off to her . “Tommy liked to put coke up his noseand play cards, and he liked the women in Atlantic City. He would go and provide Sam $7,000 and fuck off using another $3,000. He tells the boss,’Go tell the wide.’ And I says, ‘Fuck you. It is like I am just a fucking wide to you. I really don’t count. ”’ It is of course forbidden to get a runner to devote winnings or cash meant for clients on private vices. But fellow runners and gambling policemen trust her. She speaks bad about them, their figures, winnings, or names. She whines if she does not make commission. She says she could”keep her mouth shut” which is why she is a runner for almost 25 years. When she pays customers, she exchanges in person, never secretly leaving envelopes of money behind toilets or beneath sinks in tavern bathrooms. Through the years, however, she has lost up to $25,000 from men not paying their losses. “There’s a great deal of losers out there,” she explained,”just brazen.” For the soccer tickets, she capital her very own”bank” that is self-generated, almost informally, by establishing her value on the achievement of the college season’s first couple of weeks of bets in the autumn. “I ain’t giving you no figures,” Vera says and beverages from her black stripes. Ice cubes turn the whiskey into a lighter tan. She reaches her cigarettes and zips her coat. She questions the current alterations in the spread with this weekend’s Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos and squints at her beverage and pays the bartender. Her movements lumber, as her thoughts do. The favorability of the Panthers has changed from three to four-and-a-half to five quickly from the past week. She wants the Panthers to win six or seven in order for her bet to be a success, and forecasts Cam Newton will lead them to a double-digit win over Peyton Manning. Outside, she lights a cigarette before moving to a new bar. Someone she did not need to see had sat down in the initial one. She says there is a guy there who tends to frighten her. She proceeds further north. At the second pub, a poster tacked to the wall past the counter shows a 100-square Super Bowl grid or”boxes.” “Have you been running any Super Bowls?” Vera asks. To win a Super Bowl box, in the end of each quarter, the last digit of either of the groups’ scores will need to match the amount of your selected box in the grid. The bartender hands Vera the grid. The pub lights brighten. Vera traces her finger across its own outline, explaining that if the score is Broncos, 24, and Panthers, 27, by the next quarter, that is row 4 and column . Prize money varies each quarter, along with the pool only works properly if bar patrons buy out all the squares. Vera recalls a pool in 1990, the Giants-Buffalo Super Bowl XXV. Buffalo lost 19 to 20 after missing a field goal from 47 yards. All the Bills knelt and prayed for that area goal. “Cops from the 20th Precinct won. It had been 0 9,” she says, describing the box numbers that matched 0 and 9. But her deceased boss squandered the $50,000 pool within the course of this year, spending it on lease, gas and cigarettes. Bettors had paid payments throughout the entire year for $500 boxes. Nobody got paid. There was a”contract on his own life.” The bartender stows a white envelope of cash before pouring an apricot-honey mix for Jell-O shots. Vera rolls up a napkin and twists it in a beer which seems flat to provide it foam. “For the first bookie I worked , my title was’Ice,’ long until Ice-T,” she says, holding out her hand, rubbing where the ring with her codename would fit. “He got me a ring, which I dropped. Twenty-one diamonds, created’ICE. ”’ The bookie told her he had it inscribed ICE since she had been”a cold-hearted bitch.” Read more: parkviewpantherfootball.com