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The theme for this homework was a race, or a chase. So I wrote a very silly story. But for some reason, the words just would not come. Writing this one was like pulling teeth. I'm reasonably pleased with the final result. But it really didn't want to get written...

A Day At The Races

The retirement village was buzzing with excitement. Today was race day, and the grand prize was a chocolate cake for the winner of each event! Hilda Cartwright was particularly thrilled about it all. "I'm going to enter the sack race with that gorgeous Trevor Jones," she confided to her friend Enid. "He's so handsome, and I'm sure that lots of romantic opportunities will present themselves when we are both tied up together in a sack!" She giggled a coquettish giggle. It had probably sounded quite sexy sixty years ago. Even now it still had a lot going for it. Hilda was a very sensuous woman. "And as an added bonus, we're bound to win," she said archly. "We've been getting a lot of practice in, if you know what I mean." She winked at Enid who stared uncomprehendingly back.

"I'm quite looking forward to the egg and spoon race," said Enid, "but I'm worried about dropping my egg. Is it cheating to fasten my egg to the spoon with blu-tack?"

"Of course not," declared Hilda. "You've got to compensate for your Parkinson's somehow."

"Good," said Enid, reassured. "That's what I'll do then."

Hilda and Enid were sitting in the retirement home's café drinking tea and nibbling on bran muffins. The hum of conversation soared and glided around them. Arthur Baxter manoeuvred his wheelchair up to their table. "Hello, ladies," he said, reaching out for a bran muffin. Hilda gave him a sharp rap over the knuckles with her teaspoon. "Get your own," she said sharply, and Arthur quickly withdrew his hand.

Enid asked, "Are you looking forward to the races?"

Arthur pushed his wheelchair back from the table and gestured at his lap. His empty left trouser leg was folded up and pinned neatly to his waistband. Arthur patted his heavily muscled right leg and said, "Jerry and I have devised a cunning plan. We're going in for the three legged race. He's got two good legs and I've got one magnificent leg, so between us we have the regulation number of three. But he won't be handicapped by having my left leg lashed to him, so we'll both be able to run quite freely." He winked and rubbed the side of his nose with his finger. "We'll leave the rest of the field standing," he said with deep satisfaction. "Nothing can possibly go wrong."

"Well," said Hilda, "it looks like each of us has our own race all sewn up. So we won't have to share out any of the chocolate cake because we'll have one each. Though I suspect we might end up feeling very sick after we've gorged ourselves."

"Worth it, though," said Arthur, and the others nodded in agreement.

An announcement came over the tannoy. "Attention everybody – the races are about to begin."

* * * *

That evening, after the races were over, they returned to the café to discuss the complete absence of chocolate cake in their lives. They ordered tea and biscuits. Enid had a streak of mud on her forehead which the others hadn't told her about yet. Hilda had a self satisfied expression on her face and Arthur looked annoyed.

"I wasn't the only person to slip in the mud," said Enid. "More than half the entrants in the egg and spoon race fell over and failed to reach the finish line. That mud was very slippery. At least I got up after my tumble and carried on to complete the race, which is more than most people managed to do. I really can't think why they disqualified me."

"Because," said Arthur, "when the other people fell over the eggs tumbled out of their spoons. Yours didn't. You must admit that's a bit suspicious."

"Hilda told me it would be OK," said Enid, casting a reproachful glance at her friend who took a delicate sip of tea and pretended not to hear. "But at least I didn't make a spectacle of myself like she did."

Arthur snorted with amusement. "I counted fifteen people taking videos of Hilda and Trevor writhing around in their sack," he said. "I imagine it will soon become an internet sensation. There really wasn't a lot left to the imagination."

Hilda looked smug. "And when we were done, we got up again and finished the race," she said.

"You finished last," said Enid.

"But we got a huge round of applause," said Hilda. "I feel really sorry for you though, Arthur," she continued. "Who would ever have thought that we'd have a genuine three-legged man living in our retirement home?"

"He didn't really have three legs," said Arthur. "He had just spent years and years playing Jake the Peg in pantomimes. He was so good at it that he wiped the field with us. But at least Jerry and I came second. That's something to be proud of."

"It didn't win you a chocolate cake though," said Enid.

"No," said Arthur. "But the café here sells chocolate cake. How about I buy us some as a consolation prize?"

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