The Animal Race
by Gordon Dioxide
There once lived a dog and there once lived a cat in the same town in the same street in the same year. The town was London, the street was Regent Street and the year was 1984.
The dog was called Fido and the cat was called Bradley.
They had an odd relationship. How can I put this? Well, they weren't exactly best of friends. In fact, they hated each other. Every day they would have an argument. Then they would fight. Then they would ignore each other. Then another argument would start up and it would keep going round in circles - argue, fight, ignore, argue, fight, ignore.
Most of the arguments were about who was best. Fido thought he was best and Bradley thought he was best.
One day, they decided to settle the argument once and for all and find out who really was the best.
So they decided to have a race. A race from one end of London to the other. From West London to East London. They would start at Paddington Station in the West and finish at Tower Bridge in the East.
The winner would be crowned "Animal King of Regent Street" and the loser would have to be his slave for ever.
The day of the race was Saturday July 7th, and they were both ready to go at 9 o'clock.
When the big station clock struck 9 they were off, with both trying desperately to beat the other to Tower Bridge.
But within five seconds, disaster struck. Fido wasn't looking where he was going and ran straight into a brick wall. Bradley wasn't having much luck either, as he was heading North instead of East.
Fido soon recovered, and, after a quick hospital detour to get a nose bandage, he was now galloping through Hyde Park. He hired a boat to take him across the lake, but the boat sank and he had to swim to safety. The Queen saw him and felt sorry for him with his soaking wet coat and sore nose. She took him in to Buckingham Palace to get him dry and give him something to eat. He got so cosy in the Palace that he forgot all about the race.
Meanwhile, Bradley had just arrived in Scotland. He'd gone 300 miles in the wrong direction. He stopped at a cafe to get a burger, but all they had was haggis. He asked the cafe owner, Jock MacDundee, if he was close to Tower Bridge, but couldn't understand the reply. So he carried on heading North, still hungry and with no idea where he was.
The next morning, a Buckingham Palace servant was serving Fido with a huge luxurious breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs and custard, when he suddenly remembered about the race. So he grabbed a slice of toast and ran out of the Palace.
He sprinted down Pall Mall and then sprinted back again because he'd forgotten to thank the Queen for looking after him. When he got back to the Palace, he again forgot to thank the Queen. After racing up and down Pall Mall three more times he eventually remembered to thank her, and she said that he was welcome to stay at the Palace at any time.
Meanwhile, Bradley was no longer in Scotland. He'd gone past Scotland and was now at the North Pole. He was running so fast that he didn't feel the cold. And he was running so fast that a polar bear that was chasing him couldn't catch up. But then he stopped for a rest and the polar bear could catch up. Bradley saw the polar bear just in time and started running again. But now he was running even faster. He was running faster than a speeding car, faster than a train, faster than a rocket and nearly as fast as a polar bear. But not quite. The polar bear caught up and grabbed the poor little cat. Bradley squealed and wriggled and squirmed in the polar bear's enormous paws. The polar bear was hungry. The polar bear was hungry for a big plate of cat.
Then Bradley had a good idea. An idea that was to save his life. Instead of letting the polar bear eat him, he decided to eat the polar bear. And he did. And he enjoyed every mouthful. It was the biggest meal he'd ever eaten, but it gave him the energy to carry on with the race.
He headed on through Canada, America, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, the South Pole, Africa, Spain, France and back to England. He'd gone all the way round the world and ended up back at Paddington Station, where he'd started the race.
Meanwhile, Fido was nearly at the finish line at Tower Bridge. He jumped on a red bus to take him the last half mile. He was excited. He knew he was going to win and he had a big smile on his face.
But then the bus turned left, instead of right towards the bridge. Then it turned left again, then right, then left, then straight on for a bit, then four more lefts and three more rights. When it eventually stopped, he jumped off to find himself back at Paddington Station. And there was Bradley, covered in icicles and eating a burger.
The two of them immediately started to argue about who had won the race. But of course neither of them had really won it, because they were both still at the starting line. The argument turned into a fight and then they started ignoring each other. Can you guess what happened next? Yes, another argument started, and then a fight and so on and so on for ever more.
Here are a few questions to see if you've been listening ...
1. What year was the race?
2. Where was the starting line?
3. Where was the finishing line?
4. What breakfast was the servant giving to Fido?
5. Why did Fido keep running up and down Pall Mall?
6. How did Bradley stop the polar bear from eating him?