Sunday, July 23, 2006

Left Foot: Spring 2006

“Its competition time”! Said Elsie out loud and then thought all the rest, so as to avoid revealing her true feelings: She was finally going beat every single contestant and shower them with frustration. In her case, it was her left leg that slithered slightly and she could even wiggle her ankle so that it revolved on its axis. But was it enough?

Being an extramural event meant that the kids would not be told the exact date until the night before and then they would just have to rustle up some movement in those limbs over the course of a few hours. It seemed hopeless to most worthies because they felt that the insufficient time would not prove anything substantial. They needed weeks and weeks to practice and then having gained some requisite feeling in the thing, it would be essential to maintain it for the competition.

Everybody had rebuked the Ostrich for having wings that didn’t work – after all they were definitely not made for flying. Now it was the time for the greatest bipeds of them all to loose the will to continue, as they had developed two great clodhoppers that used to be a fantastic tool for mobility; now they just deserved amputation in cold design. Feet had become an obsolete tenure, by no means the giant cohorts they had remained back in the previous millenniums – just two useless appendages connected to the willing torso.

“Don’t be afraid to whup their arses with it”, was the stock phrase her mother used but that was until she discovered that Patsy, who had already won several trophies for her dexterous feet, had decided to make it a matter of personal pride: Her sinews were sponsored by a private company, which was allowed by the rules, so long as they didn’t fit completely artificial legs on the child. Elsie felt this course was unfair, though she never gave up hope to move further than her class mate without outside help or cause for bribery.

“The most emotive foot in the county”: Was the first placard that went up but it proved too sophisticated for the poor students; so they rustled up another legend, “Plunge in with both feet first”. It was barely more plausible than the first effort.

Elsie had placed reliance on her left foot at least doing something worthwhile; after all it was the only limb that was tractable enough to at least twitch at will. Each month she had taught it a new trick but her erratic progress meant a financial burden on her parents, at least from the steroids she pumped down the hollow tube right through to nowhere.

There had been an exchange in kind: “Place your bets”. Monies were place at the sides around the auditorium in anticipation before the first round: This was afterwards donated to the government as a tax on competitive sports but most knew this to be just a plea bargain against charges of immorality.

One year a boy was disqualified for spinning on his back, and Elsie was more than aware that the judges were not to be fooled by foul play.

Contestants were placed around the circumference belonging to several concentric circles, centring upon a single central beacon, which flashed on and off; this signalled the foundation for each move. Moreover, the children needed to make adequate preparation before they could even fidget within the region. Elsie wanted to so desperately scratch hers but that was strictly forbidden, so she just lay there wondering whether the beacon would favour her or not.
On the Beacon’s first flash, many were seen massaging electricity into their calves and using all kinds of swabs and salves to clear the lethargic ducts ready for the first move. After their legs had been pampered adequately enough there was a swift hum on the buzzer which meant it was time to start gathering momentum.

After a time, nothing seemed to happen around the hall and then a single stray limb got lifted way into the air like a branch waving in the wind: It turned out to be a single left foot. This was followed by a spontaneous round of applause and a flutter that could only mean more praise. The fluttering noise had discontinued by the time the foot finished off with a final little twirl.
The parents flew down quickly, wings akimbo, to congratulate Elsie for winning by such a comfortable sweep. For Patsy would need to learn all over again and recalibrate her rotten legs, except she conceded her own defeat in such a delightful manner: She clasped Elsie by her guiding paws, girded her loins fully into the air and carried her friendly face up high, in order for them both to make a round of honour around the stadium top, with their mouths wailing and wing tips flapping enthusiastically, honouring that victorious and rather courageous left foot.


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