the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur
plonq

The one I didn't enter.

The story I entered in this year's Iron Pen competition as MnFm is q bit of a departure from my usual work. I don't expect it to perform well, but I really can't say too much about it here until it officially loses.

I actually had an idea for a shorter, sillier one first.

Which I've written here so that the idea does not go to waste.

-------
The Big Race

It seemed for the moment that they were at an impasse. The young moose stood with a wheel clutched in his beefy hands, holding it close to his chest while its three aluminium spokes sparkled in the sunlight. The young fox, on the other hand, was sitting in the now-hobbled go-cart with his arms crossed over his chest, a glower on his little pointy face as his eyes darted between the wheel and the big, sad moose eyes of his friend.

"Well this just great," said the fox sourly. "We not even make the start line, let alone the finish line."

"I can fix," said the moose defensively. "Wheel can be put back on!"

"Wheel shouldn't fall off! What if we was on hill? What about other wheels; they gonna fall off too?"

The wheel in question was the rear-left wheel of a wood-framed go-cart that bore the visible hallmarks of a vehicle lovingly built by two inexperienced young friends over the course of the spring in preparation for the big mid-summer race.

The self-same go-cart now sat astride three lanes where the moose had been pushing it to the start line while the fox steered. In addition to blocking three lanes, the go-cart was also sitting with its rear-left axle on the ground, it's front-right wheel in the air, and an angry young fox stubbornly sitting with little orange arms crossed and green eyes burning into his friend.

"It just cotter pin," said the moose. He waggled the selfsame pin that he had pinched between the index finger and thumb of the hand he had poked between the spokes of the wheel he was holding. The moose had been patient until now, but he was clearly starting to lose patience with the fox. "I fix wheel. You get out and hold cart!"

"Not gonna," retorted the fox. "This cart garbage. What we thinking?"

One of the racing officials who had been watching the exchange with some bemusement finally stepped forward to intervene.

"I'm afraid you two going to have to come to agreement and either fix cart, or move cart, or fix and move cart," the badger counted off options on his stubby fingers as he said then. "Or move and then fix cart. Can't leave it there. It blocking lanes between other racers and finish line."

"Agh! Fine!" scowled the fox. He uncrossed his arms and scampered out of the awkwardly-sitting cart. With the help of the badger, he managed to hold the corner of the cart up and keep it from rolling away while the moose rocked and shoved the wheel back over the tapered end of the axle. Once he had the wheel back in place, he pushed the cotter pin back through the hole and bent its ends around with a small multi-tool he pulled from his pocket.

The fox and badger lowered the corner of the cart back to the ground, and the badger held it from rolling away until the fox could climb back in and pull a brake lever. This time the wheel stayed attached while the moose pushed, and the fox steered the cart up against the starting block.

"OK, I think we good," said the moose, nodding to the racing official. He gave the wheel a kick to ensure it remained tight, then climbed up into the seat beside the fox. While the last two racers wheeled their carts into place, the fox and moose donned their racing goggles and started their pre-race check.

"Left brake lever works," said the moose. He gave it a solid tug and felt it grip.

"Steering wheel ain't fall off yet," said the fox glumly.

"Right brake lever works," said the moose, pointedly ignoring the fox's pessimistic report.

"Boys and girls, on your marks!" called the master of the race.

"We gonna die," said the fox matter-of-factly.

"We gonna win!" countered the moose. "Practically already at finish line."

"Die," said the fox plaintively.

"Win!"

"Go!" shouted the master of the race. The badger and his counterpart on the other end of the start line pulled their ropes to remove the start blocks and the carts began to roll.
Tags: iron pen, story
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