A professional taker of bets, especially on the horse races. "My partner is making a nice clean buck (involving no risk or pangs of conscience) shaking down (extorting from) bookies."

- american underworld dictionary - 1950


When I was younger, we lived in a dry county and had to depend on the bootleggers for adult refreshments. It always seemed odd to me that we could drive to the bootlegger's house in broad daylight and buy illegal liquor; in a neighborhood with every Tom Who's Dick is Harry knowing exactly what was going on.

It's the same way with bookies nowadays. I eat lunch at this nice restaurant every once in a while. I always eat at the bar 'cause they know me there and know what I like. Many afternoons, there will be a few guys there (always the same) waiting on the bookie to arrive. He'll sit down, light up a cigarette, order a bourbon, and pull out his sheet along with a wad of money. And he'll proceed to either collect or pay (usually collect, of course) from these gambling addicts.

I've been at the driving range hitting golf balls with a bookie next to me whose cell phone is ringing every 2 minutes, and he's got his sheet giving odds and taking bets.

I hear it's a pretty good job, and you obviously can't get caught. I don't remember ever reading the news about a bookie getting arrested around here. I don't remember any bootleggers going out of business back then, either.

I'm thinking about a change of careers. Any of you kids need some hootch? How 'bout them Lakers?

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