Selections for a caucus race.
|C. The Caucus-race and a Long Tale
2. "The Dodo" – A caucus race has been suggested, where everyone has to run around in circles with no clear winner. Create a blog entry (or static item) where you are in such a race with ten other participants. Who are these fine folks and why would you put them in this meaningless race?
Euripides, the Phoenician tailor, looked up from his work and addressed the crowd. “Why don’t we have a caucus race?” he asked. The author looked at him in surprise.
“What’s a caucus race?”
“Hard to explain,” returned Euripides. “Mostly, it has to be started before you find out. But it’s better than standing around and doing nothing.”
The author pondered on this a moment. A thought struck him (but not very hard) and he began, “Just a moment. What are you doing here? I’m sure you were in the last thing I wrote. Yes, the one about Socrates. You’re the Phoenician tailor. What gives you the right to wander into this tale?”
The tailor shrugged. “Plenty of reasons. Firstly, it was said by the powers that be that these stories can be connected. I’m one of those connections. And you didn’t have enough words to describe me in the last one so now is your chance to tell everyone what I look like. And then there’s the matter of madness. This is all supposed to be a little mad so it can truly be a wonderland. Think of my presence as being just one of those mad things. And, finally, you’re going to have to invent ten, well, nine, interesting characters and I save you the hard work of imagining one of them at least. I already exist.”
The author seemed convinced, for he scratched his chin and looked hard at the tailor before beginning, “Euripides was a sunburnt little man wearing a fez…”
“You told them that in the last one,” interrupted the tailor. “Get on with it or we’ll not have time for the race.”
The author began again. “He was wearing a baggy pair of trousers with a rather worn white shirt and a dark waistcoat. His sleeves were rolled up and his hand held a pair of scissors. A tape measure trailed from his pocket.”
“That’s enough,” said Euripides. “We need to get on with the rest of the introductions.”
“And you’d better do me,” interjected a large dodo, pushing his way though the gathered onlookers. “I’m in the title and so I have to be here.”
“Good point,” agreed the author. “Pity you’re extinct but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.”
“You already have me,” said a man carrying a yellow helmet with blue and green stripes. “Ayrton Senna’s the name and, if it’s a race, I’m there.”
“We’d be honoured,” said the author. The tailor nodded his acceptance.
A small black and white cat appeared from amongst the forest of legs supporting the crowd. She spoke in a high, quiet voice. “I’m prepared to be included. I’m Pookie and they know all about me already.”
The author bent down and stroked her cheeks. “Of course, Pookie. It wouldn’t be the same without you.”
He straightened and considered the remaining candidates. A young girl caught his eye. She was standing to one side, clearly shy and not wanting to appear in the spotlight.
“Oh, we can’t do without Alice,” he said. “This whole thing is thanks to her. Is that okay, Alice?”
She smiled and nodded.
“Right, how many is that?” asked the author.
The tailor, who had been counting, answered. “That’s six. Counting thee and me, of course. Four more to find.”
A huge, muddy figure pushed forward. “You needs a troll,” it said. “You writ a lotta troll stories an’ we even 'ave one o’ them folder thingies in yer portwhatsit.”
The author considered. “Hmm, I suppose you’re right. Alright, troll, what’s your name?”
The troll puffed out his chest proudly. “I is Grundlebletch von Hoogenspit,” he announced.
“You’re in, Grundle,” said the author.
“In that case, I should be in as well.” This came from a small, shaven-headed figure in a saffron robe. Everyone turned to look, not having noticed him before. “My name is Amilcar and I’m a hermit. A fully qualified one, in fact. I, too, have a folder of my own.”
The author raised a thumb in agreement. “That’s true, Amilcar. Join us.”
Amilcar crossed over to disappear amongst the accepted ones. Now the tailor piped up again. “We need two more. Any ideas, anyone?”
There followed a great deal of head shaking and observing the ground intently. Eventually, the author spoke. “I think we should have an imaginary animal. Lewis Carroll was always throwing them into things he wrote so it’s a good precedent.”
Euripides turned to him. “So get inventing then. You’re the author.”
“Well, that’s the thing,” replied the author. “We only have two creatures left from which to choose and one of them doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen before. Maybe it's the one we need.”
The strange creature stepped forward. “Ready to serve, if required,” it said.
“And what are you?” asked the author.
“I am a veldskoen. My name’s Melvin.”
“You’ll do then, Melvin.” The author considered the final unselected specimen. It was a gecko, although half of the onlookers were thinking “lizard.” The author beckoned to it and it stepped forward.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“I, er, don’t have one. Small oversight of my parents. Think they were too busy catching flies at the time. I s’pose you could just call me Gecko.”
“That’ll do then,” said the author. “And that’s exactly ten. Pity we didn’t just count how many we were in the beginning. Still, it’s been fun, I think. How do we go about this race, Euripides?”
At which point, we can leave the tailor and the rest to organise their unusual race. The proceedings and results have been written of by greater minds than mine and I think we all know what transpired with the first caucus race. Our task is complete and I can see about getting this into bitem form and throwing it at the project.
Adieu until we meet again.
Word Count: 976