Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 176,434,869 Issue: 339 | 18th day of Eating, Y10
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Just a Morning Jog

by visorak_commander


Thanks for proofreading, Suzuka!

It was a warm, sunny morning in northwest Mystery Island. The whistles and songs of Fleepers and Ponkas filled the air and the trees swayed gently to the pleasant breeze blowing by Mr. Simmons' house.

     The squat Brown Yurble smiled and stretched his arms before pulling his covers back and sliding himself out of bed. Walking over to the window, he saw that the sun was already peeking out over the horizon: another beautiful morning! He then turned and headed away to his kitchen for a light breakfast of Azzle Salad.

     Ever since his retirement, life had just been like that: he had moved to a gorgeous bungalow right on the edge of a sprawling, tropical jungle, no other real civilization for miles. Windows spanning entire walls, flowing curtains separating rooms, hand-polished hardwood flooring. But more than just prime real estate, it was the place that Simmons had decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life.

     He opened the lid to his cubic cooler box and pulled out some pre-cut slices of his chosen fruit from a bag hanging on the side. Closing it again, he strode over to his counter, pulled a bowl out of a cabinet to drop them in and, while proceeding to get himself a glass of crystal water, began planning out the hours to follow: I'll go out and search for that Tootum again before it moves away from this area, first, and finish up carving the legs for my future desk when I get back. I'll read a bit and get to writing that letter to dear Dr. Smith later in the evening, I suppose.

     He paused, a wide grin reaching his lips. And before all of that, of course, my jog!

     Mr. Simmons was certainly an avid jogger; every morning after he ate, he went for a long, refreshing jog through the jungle to invigorate him for the rest of the day. Ever since he had discovered the joy of taking a slice out of his day to jog, he hardly had enough activities to do afterward to dim his energy; truly, it was the high point of life for him.

     Taking an extra bit of time to enjoy the tasty crispness and slight juiciness of his morning treat, he soon swallowed down the rest of his water with no particular rush and placed it in his crate of dirty dishes. He'd wash them out in the nearby stream the next day, when it would be completely full. And finally, with another full-body stretch, he walked outside, closed his door and darted right out into the jungle with a delighted smile.

     He was hardly very fast, but gulping down the crisp air he didn't have time to care; who had any time, indeed, to worry about such things when amazing sights were past every tree and bush?

     Jogging past a coconut tree, he turned his head and cheerfully waved at the top of a small bluff away from his path; instantly, a spear came whizzing down from it and forcefully struck the tree behind him. Simmons didn't seem to notice.

     "Good morning, Mr. Runga!"

     Someone clad in a huge, white tribal mask suddenly showed himself at the top of the bluff, waving his arms and gesturing wildly. He shouted something loud, foreign and quite imposing, but despite his speed, Simmons was already out of hearing range. He might have stopped to stay and chat for a spell, but Mr. Runga seemed to have a bit of an anti-social personality. It was a pity.

     Soon the Yurble's mind drifted to other things. Suddenly he noticed the ground beneath him steadily becoming soggier and mushier as he went forward, the grass quickly disappearing. Not minding the mud building up on his feet, as he preferred to jog barefoot, he let out a pleasant chuckle; he was approaching the swamp. Rather than a dark and dingy one, he had always found it quite charming.

     He felt something brush his foot. Glancing down as he continued forward, he saw a small Crocalu was snapping and biting at him; he smiled and wiggled his fingers in a baby wave at it.

     But as he looked forward again, three more had found their way ahead of him. Even with their tiny size, he was a very poor jumper; he'd have to go around them. They had hardly arranged themselves cleverly, though, and he darted right through the gap between the first and the other three, just fast enough to keep ahead of them no matter how much they chased him.

     Passing them easily, he waved back at them in a farewell and kept on jogging. The poor fellows always wanted to play with him like that, but they had never managed to catch him. Someday, Simmons was sure, they would get a bit smarter and find a way to corner him; then they would be so proud of themselves, he happily thought.

     Soon he was out of the swamp and felt grass sweeping under his feet again. Up ahead, he saw a gap in the trees, like a huge plain in between two gigantic layers of jungle. Simmons knew that it wasn't a plain, but it was certainly his favorite part of his morning jogs!

     And then it came into view: a gaping canyon right in the middle of the jungle, a ferocious river rushing through the floor of it. He took a deep breath, just to feel the fresh air again, and kept on jogging right up to the rope bridge placed across the chasm. It was a very old bridge, of course; rickety and decayed, but Simmons had never lost faith in it. And the view from the middle of it... breathtaking!

     So he started across it. Already it began wobbling menacingly, but the Yurble didn't care. As he jogged farther on it, gazing all around in unspeakable delight, one of the boards suddenly broke in half right below his foot. With a surprised gasp, he lurched forward before quickly catching and balancing himself. Still going onward, he chuckled to himself and made a mental note to be more careful.

     As he neared the end of the bridge, suddenly one of the supporting ropes on the other end of the canyon snapped; the bridge wobbled again and the increased movement made the opposite rope quickly follow suit. As Simmons safely jogged onto solid ground again, the first side of the bridge collapsed and flew right into the other side of the canyon wall with a huge cracking sound.

     He sighed at the ordeal; it was a shame that he couldn't use the bridge anymore. Fortunately, there was another one a ways off that he could use to get back on.

     A little later, he had jogged back through the jungle using a different path than the first; arriving at his bungalow, he finally stopped jogging and turned around to face the jungle behind him. Short of breath at that point, he had a huge smile and a happy heart. If I do this for the rest of my old life, he thought, no one shall ever say that I died too young!

The End

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