The Big Race
By: Samuel Lin
Bob scrutinized the course, memorizing every curve and turn, every hill and hole. He needed to win the big race and the big trophy. Bob had spent 100 gruesome hours practicing in his backyard, running around his property in 5-minute laps. He had eaten a special diet of cockroaches, which tasted like cardboard, but Bob knew it would help him get stronger and faster. If he did not win, all this practice was for nothing.
“Ready to lose, Bob? Everyone knows the biggest bird wins the race. I’ve won this race for the past five years straight,” boasted Joe, his racing rival. Joe was a beast of a chicken, the largest and heaviest of all the chickens in the race. He was a brownish rooster with an iridescent black tail.
“Wait and see,” Bob said and walked away.
Bob warmed up by stretching and jogging, finding a tiny strip of space in the horde of chickens. Bob was a buff and brawny rooster whose stature and puffed out chest seemed to radiate confidence. He had long beautiful white feathers and a brown body, with an eye-catching red wattle under his chin. The loudspeakers which were next to him blared music that shook the ground and the trees.
“Five minutes until the big race. Runners, please line up out the starting gate and prepare to start,” a commanding voice blared out the loudspeakers. The music and the chattering had been silent during the announcement. Once the announcement was over, chickens immediately stampeded toward the starting line.
During five interminable minutes, Bob’s heart jackhammered and felt as if it would thump out of his heart. He lined up at the starting line, bracing his body for the gunshot signal of the race.
At the start of the race, Bob quickly accelerated, passing the slower chickens who were already huffing and puffing. After five minutes of fast-paced running, it was just Bob and Joe up top, with everyone else far behind.
Suddenly, at a turn, Bob turned left while Joe turned right. Hey! Joe’s going the wrong way, Bob thought. Hey! Bob’s going the wrong way, Joe thought. Bob quickly looked behind him and thought he saw an arrow pointing towards his path. Meanwhile, Joe looked back at Bob, as if to say You’re running the wrong way!
Bob told himself, I need to focus on keeping a consistent pace and remember to breathe properly. I cannot let Joe distract me by going the wrong way. Soon, after hard running, Bob arrived at the finish line.
“13 minutes, 20 seconds,” the clock read as Bob crossed the finish line. No one had ever run the Big Race in less than 14 minutes: Bob broke the world record. Bob’s beak dropped in disbelief as he crossed the finish line.
Soon, a swarm of chickens came waddling over, congratulating him, offering him a cup of water or a bag of worms. Bob sat down, delirious with exhaustion. He chugged down a bottle of water and rested his legs.
Three minutes later, Joe ran panting through the finish line. “Hey! Bob cheated! He took a shortcut!”
Bob looked confused. “I thought I was going the right way. I think you just got lost and took the long way.”
The crowd seemed to agree with Bob. “Bob’s right. I know Bob would never lie. I think Joe’s just jealous,” said a crowd member. The crowd murmured in agreement.
Suddenly, Bob realized he was wrong. In the blink of an eye, his pride vanished, and he was flooded with a wave of shame, his cheeks turning red. His heart, in disappointment, sank into his stomach. Bob’s legs started shaking with fear that he lied. He quickly jogged over the map and almost collapsed when realized that he run the wrong path and took a shortcut accidentally.
He knew it would be easier to not say anything, to remain victorious. However, Bob’s heart told him it was not right to lie so he needed to make it up, no matter the cost to his reputation.
“I’m sorry, but I did in fact take a shortcut. I am deeply sorry.” Bob said. The crowd went silent.
Though Bob knew the crowd would boo, and he would lose his reputation, admitting he was wrong was the right thing to do.