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Thompson’s lost plimsole

Part Seven

Still stuck in the Outback

The three day setback had allowed Gerald’s arch-rival, Chinese hopping champion, Wai Tulong, to gain a substantial lead. This inscrutable oriental had managed somehow to hitch a ride on the back of a semi-tame Kangaroo, and whilst this may in most right thinking people’s minds be considered as cheating, to Wai, this was surely just a matter of definitions. This was a hopping competition and the Kangaroo was in fact hopping. Unfortunately this was also the mating season and after two days of continuous hopping and one sniff of lady Kangaroo scent, our Eastern Grey macropodid took a left turn and headed deep into the bush carrying Wai with him. It was ten years before Wai was rescued and brought back to civilisation and although his hopping career was now at an end, he went on to write of his experiences in the Australian hinterland. He became known as Wai of the outback and his books, Wai of the Kangaroo, Doing it the Kangaroo Wai, I just Wallaby your friend and Kangaroo stir fry, became instant hits, which all goes to show that cheating can sometime  prove to be the more lucrative option.

For Gerald However, there were still another 1532 miles to hop backwards and this was the dry season. Deadly snakes, venomous spiders, lizards and flies all formed part of Gerald’s diet as he manfully battled on towards the finishing line. Boiling hot days, freezing cold nights and a blistered foot unused to taking this punishment due to his regular hopping leg being out of action, were all taking a toll on Gerald’s mental state. For two weeks he believed himself to be the reincarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte, for ten days he imagined himself to be General Gordon of Khartoum and then sporadically as his own twin sister. However, being an only child and having dedicated all of his free time to hopping, Gerald had spent very little time in the company of ladies, and this caused him even greater anxiety when trying to decide on a voice for his imaginary twin. His choices were his grandmother, his mother, his nanny and Ethel Sludge, the gardener’s daughter. Ethel spoke with a high pitched voice and a lisp, and as a small child, had followed Gerald around the family estate lisping the words “Pleath, Gewald, will you mawwy me when we’re older?” The only way that Gerald could stop her constant pestering was to agree to her entreaties. Of course, to Ethel, this was as good as an engagement and was a vaguely remembered promise that would come back to haunt Gerald in the future.

As Gerald started to feel fresh grass beneath his feet and to hear the sounds and smell the scents of civilisation, and as those crowds lining the street of the many small towns and neighbourhoods that Gerald was passing through increased as did the uncleared piles of horse shit, and the shouts of “Oy!, look where you’re going ya flamin drongo!” then Gerald knew that the end of the race was in sight. Obviously not in his sight because he was still looking in the direction of where he had come from.  As Gerald neared the finishing line it seemed as if the whole population of Brisbane had turned out to welcome him.

On ascending the rostrum to receive his prize, he was greeted with the news that all of the other competitors had disappeared from the planned route and were assumed to be either dead or missing. It had also been noted that several of the race direction signs had been removed or turned in another direction. Rumors of an oriental male clinging to the back of a Kangaroo in the vicinity of those signs were, at the time, dismissed as being too fantastical to contemplate. The Governor General of  Queensland presented Gerald with the Freedom of the City, a two for one ticket to enjoy the carnal delights of the Saucy Cat Hotel and Bar, and the prize that had eluded Gerald on the previous three seasons. Tears welled in Gerald’s eyes as he held aloft the size nine gold plated running shoe.  A trophy that would eventually take pride of place in a specially made cabinet in the hallowed halls of Hookemin Hall.

As Gerald’s eyes cleared, he looked around at the excited faces surrounding him, newspaper reporters begging for an exclusive interview, the Governor requesting his presence for dinner, civic dignitaries showering him with flowers and gifts, and amidst all of this hubbub, a soft, high pitched voice… “I’m tho pwoud of you Gewald, I’ve told effwy one that you are my fianthé and eferwything is arranged for our mawwige, the City hath paid for effwy thing, Ooh I do luff you Gewwy wewwy”.   Gerald clasped the golden plimsole to his breast, looked down into the rotund and beaming face of Ethel Sludge and wept…

 To be continued…


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

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