It was the main event: 400 meters—the race everyone came to see. In each lane was a runner, but the favorite stood in lane number three. He was a statue of a man, as chiseled as a man could be. And he towered over all competitors, standing at a skyscraping six-three. His legs went on for miles; they were chiseled machines. Some hundred lovers of nature began to take their leave. Lovers of nature? Why, yes indeed. They mistook the man’s legs, for those of Redwood trees.
The man looked to his left. . .then looked to his right; his face began to glisten with glee, when he said: “Who can beat me?”—he pointed towards the racers mockingly—”Will it be he? Will it be she?—No! It will never be! For I am the greatest! And the greatest—FOREVER, will be m”—he was cut off before he pronounced the final e, by a man much smaller than the champ in lane number three.
“I will beat you.” said the feeble fellow in lane number one. “I will leave you in the dust, at the sound of the gun.” He was a tiny man, no more than five-one, with a body no older than a young twenty-one. He wore high shorts that hugged his thighs, which were burnt-red from the sun. His voice was high-pitched and kind, making it easy to poke fun.
“You? You, beat me?” said the man in lane number three.
“I see you can hear,” said the youngin with a voice so dear, “now let’s see if those legs can match your cheer.”
The Starter (as they’re called) took aim with his gun. He held it up high, keeping it balanced with his thumb. He looked toward the racers, and they knew—everyone knew—the race would soon be run. “On your marks. . .set!” The fans were on the edge of their seat, and besides a few wired whispers, no one made a peep. . . .
BANG!——And they were off! Oh, my, they were off. Patter—patter—patter, tapped the runners rapid feet. The noise could be heard across the stadium, and even nearby streets. The crowd erupted. The runners breath, disrupted. This race would not be interrupted.
Around the first bend, all racers seemed destined to reach the end. But this race isn’t for the weak or weary, and some of the racers began to look dreary. The runner in lane number two, foolish and dumb, tripped over his unlaced shoes, and fell like a crumb. The runner in lane number four, lost his breath, and fell to the floor; he simply couldn’t take it anymore. The runners in lanes seven, six, and five, became distracted by girls in bikinis dancing the jive. The runner in lane number—wait! Where’s the runner in lane number eight? Aw, poor fella. He’s back at the start, puking from the seafood he recently ate.
The last bend was passed; it was the final stretch at last. Only two runners remained: the champ and the young lad. Neck-and-neck, they ran with all their might. Neither creating distance; the gap between them airtight—until, at the last possible moment, the crowd began to shriek. The man in lane number three tumbled; his ankles just too weak. It seemed they weren’t able to carry his great physique. “Please, help!” the man said as he lie on the track. He had his foot in both hands, while rolling around on his back.
The young competitor heard the champs cry, turned to face his him, with what looked to be a tear in his eye. “I,”—he paused and put his head down—”I can’t. And I won’t—you must think I’m the worst, but. . .” he began to turn toward the finish “. . .it’s time a nice guy finished first.”