On a lunch break at the racetrack, three young groundskeepers talking about their sandwiches leads to talking about sex.

Follow Dennis, Paulie, Mark as Dennis tries to tell Paulie how lucky he really is.


Just Ask Her

Bob Gillen

Dennis took a healthy bite of his sandwich. Roast beast on rye slathered with yellow mustard.

“What’ve you got today, Paulie?”

“Veal parmesan hero.” Paulie held it up for Dennis and Mark to see.

“Looks good, Paulie. You’re lucky,” Mark said.


Mark waved his sandwich at them. “Bologna on white bread with brown mustard.”

“Didn’t you have that yesterday?”

“Every day. It’s my go-to lunch.”

The three young men, groundskeepers hired for the summer, had just finished walking the track at New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack with buckets, picking up loose stones and pebbles unearthed by the tractor running ahead of them. Clearing the way for the first race of the season that afternoon. They sat on upturned crates in the summer sun. 

“Man, I’d be fine if we didn’t have to walk the track again,” Paulie said.

Dennis, the oldest of the three at twenty-one, a senior at St. John’s University, said, “Brace yourself. We’ll do it at least one more time.”

Paulie, the youngest, a high school senior, took an enormous bite of his hero. “I gotta tell you guys. Man, did I get lucky last night.”

“Oh,” Dennis said.

Mark, aged between the other two, said, “Again?”

“Yeah, I drove her to a spot in Brooklyn, right off the Belt Parkway near the water. Quiet, dark.”

Dennis pointed his sandwich at Paulie. “You’re going to tell us about this, right? Whether we want to hear it or not.”

Paulie took another bite. “Sure. Why not?”

Mark munched on his bologna sandwich. 

Paulie continued. “I got her blouse off right away. Then her braw.”

“Her braw?” Dennis asked.

“Yeah, you know…” Paulie gestured towards his own chest.

“Anyway, her boobs were like water balloons.”

Dennis and Mark both nodded.

“She opened my pants. Man, I almost blew her head off when I came.”

Another enormous bite of his hero.

Mark said, “Cool.”

“Yeah, I really lucked out. I might see her again in a couple of days for another BJ.”

Dennis wiped sweat from his brow, said. “Paulie, no offense, but you’re an asshole.”

“What, you calling me an asshole?”

“Yup. You get lucky and you can’t even pronounce her underwear properly. It’s brah, not braw.”

“Okay, whatever.”

“Do you know how lucky you really are? I don’t think so.”

“What’re you saying?”

“It’s all about you. The luck. Is anyone else in your life lucky?”

Paulie shook his head in frustration.

“Look at your lunch. Every day you got a hero. Veal, chicken, eggplant, meatballs…always a great sandwich.”

“Yeah, my mom is a great cook.”

“You ever tell her that? Ever buy her flowers?”

“Mother’s Day, her birthday.”

“That’s it? A great lunch every day and you thank her two times in a whole year?”

“Yeah, so…”

“And the girl you were with. The one who did your BJ.  You do the same for her?”


“You pleasure her?”

Paulie shook his head. “I don’t get it.”

“Yeah, I know. That’s my point.”

Dutch, the supervisor for the track’s infield, drove up in a golf cart loaded with tools. “Lunch break is over, you three. We got flower beds to hoe. Let’s go.”

Dennis stood, grabbed a hoe from the cart.

Paulie whispered to Dennis. “What’re you saying? How do you do it?”

Dennis shook his head. “I don’t talk about my sex life. You figure it out. Ask her.”

“Ask her?”

“Yeah, just ask her.”