Pokey and the Slorg Day Festival
Dara tossed back the blanket and stretched her arms and legs. She quickly pulled the covers back up and snuggled her pillow. It's just too cool this morning to get out of a warm bed, she thought to herself.
After a few more warm moments, Dara decided she really should get up. The big day was going to be here soon, they needed to get started training and practicing, especially since they had never done this before.
"Wake up, Pokey, time for breakfast." Dara picked up the small tank Pokey was sleeping in and carried it to the kitchen. Pokey blinked his large eyes and licked his lips in anticipation of food.
"We have to get started with training and practice for the race and the obstacle course, Pokey," Dara said as she gave Pokey some organic broccoli tops for his breakfast.
Dara rushed through her own breakfast of chokato omelette, twirly fruit juice and faerie toast. She was so excited, the very first Slorg Day Festival was coming to Neopia Central. It was going to be so much fun.
After clearing all the dishes and doing a quick clean-up, she said, "Time to go, Pokey; the others will be waiting at the park."
Dara picked up her slorg backpack and peeked inside to make sure she had everything, including lunch for Pokey and herself, bottles of drinking water, her homemade race track and items to make the obstacle course. Putting the backpack over her shoulder and grabbing Pokey's travel tank, they headed out the door.
Dara placed everything in her wagon. Then she reached into the tank. "Come on, Pokey, ride on my shoulder so I can talk to you on the way to the park." The red slorg gladly climbed onto Dara's hand. She gently placed him on her shoulder and started pulling the wagon down the walkway.
"The park is just two blocks away, Pokey, so we can chat. I have something I want to tell you." The little red slorg perked up and leaned closer ready to listen.
"We will be doing a lot of training and practice of activities you've never really done before. I want you to remember one thing: It doesn't matter if you win or lose. The most important thing is to do your very best and to just try new things. What means the most to me is that we both have fun doing something together."
"Morning, Dara," the Lenny said as they got close to the shop front where he was sweeping the walk. "Where are you two headed this fine morning?"
"Good morning Mr. Dell. We are going to the park to meet friends and practice slorg races and stuff."
"Ah, I see, practicing for the big Slorg Day Festival. Good luck and have fun."
"Thank you, Mr. Dell. We'll see you later."
As Dara got closer to the park she could see a blue Shoyru and a ghost Techo chatting and laughing. Dara called out, "Mornin' Albe and Trey!" They both turned and waved as they walked toward her.
Meri, the pink Kyrii ran up to them. "Hi, everyone. I thought I was going to be late. Looks like I made it just in time."
"Yes, everyone is here. Let's go sit at that table and talk about all the things I learned about the Slorg Day Festival before we begin training."
Dara explained that the slorg race track is circular with a diameter of thirty inches. There is a seven inch diameter circle in the center. Only ten slorgs can race at one time per track. There will be several tracks set up and running at one time - depending, of course, on how many slorgs are entered into the races.
Preferably, the slorgs will be different colors so it will be easier to tell which slorg belongs to which owner.
"How long does the race usually take?" asked Meri.
"The amount of time it takes a slorg to reach the edge of the track can vary and is dependent on the individual slorgs. Each race is allowed one hour to be completed. Which means some slorgs will not finish and will be given zero times. The same is true with the obstacle course," answered Dara.
Dara went on to explain that the obstacle course is rectangular. It is ten inches wide and twelve inches long. There will be three obstacles the slorgs must travel over to reach the end of the course. Only five slorgs will compete on each obstacle course. The obstacles will be chosen by the festival sponsors. Participants will not know what the obstacles are until the day of the festival.
"I brought some items that have been used at other festivals, according to the articles I have read," Dara said. "The slorg with the fastest time at the end of the day in each event will be given a gold ribbon for first place. There will also be second and third place ribbons. The slorg with the fastest combined times from both the race and the obstacle course will win a gold trophy. There will also be trophies for second and third place. There will also be prizes of neopoints. All that information is listed on the forms I have for all of you."
Opening her backpack, Dara took out several items. A triangle made from folded cardboard that was two inches high by two inches wide at the base. A rectangular piece of purple spotted cheese ten inches wide, two inches across and two inches tall and finally a bag filled with autumn colored dry leaves.
Dara took out a piece of cardboard the correct size for the obstacle course marked off in inches. She set this on the table and positioned the triangle one inch from the start line, then placed the cheese two inches from the triangle. Two inches away from the cheese Dara spread a two-inch wide band of dry leaves, leaving one inch to the finish line.
Next, Dara took out a folded piece of plastic made from an old table cover and cut into a thirty inch diameter circle. She had measured and drawn a perfect seven inch diameter circle in the center. Dara spread this onto the table also.
"Don't forget about the beauty contest. I am hopeful Pokey can win," Dara said. "There will also be trophies and neopoints for the winners. "Will you all be entering also?"
"Yes, we will be entering. I think my beautiful pink Dottie has a chance to win also," said Meri.
"I will enter too. I wonder how many spotted slorgs will be there," said Albe.
"Yep, can't win if you don't try," agreed Trey. "Slimer may be just an ordinary green slorg, but he is good looking to me. Besides, it all sounds like fun."
"The beauty contest is about good overall coloring, shininess of skin, with no marks or scars that don't belong, and how well the slorg takes direction to sit up straight and crawl in a circle when asked."
"I have the registration forms we need to neomail in with the entry fees of fifty neopoints for each event. That will be a total of one hundred and fifty neopoints if you want to enter all 3 events. I also have a copy of the day's schedule of events for everyone," Dara said as she handed out the papers.
"Let's start training. We can break for lunch soon," Dara said. All of the friends agreed. The neopets decided to work in teams of two on each course, switching courses after lunch.
During lunch, Dara told Pokey he must try very hard to move in a straight line as that would be the fastest way to win. Also, do not get distracted by the cheese on the obstacle course, it is meant to slow you down, After all, slorgs love to eat and cheese is hard to resist. Do not let the other slorgs take your attention either, you must forget they are there and concentrate on the goal line. Pokey listened intently. He wanted to make Dara proud of him.
The four friends spent the rest of the afternoon teaching their pet slorgs to crawl in a straight line. They all seemed pleased with the progress they made.
Dara and Pokey were so tired they had a light dinner and went to bed. In the morning they went to the park to train again. On the way Dara neomailed her registration and entry forms with her one hundred and fifty neopoints.
After four days of training for the two races and practicing for the beauty contest, Dara and Pokey felt ready. The special name tags, contestant number card and bracelets for each event for the festival arrived with the assignments for which race course and obstacle course they would be using. There was also a map of the layout of the event areas and the sponsor stalls that would be open for business.
Just two more days and the festival will be here. They could not go to the park because the festival was being set up, and race areas and sponsor stalls were being built.
Dara worked with Pokey on sitting still and straight, crawling in a circle when asked to and smiling for the beauty contest. They were getting very excited.
The day before the festival Dara read some slorg stories to Pokey while they cuddled together in her favorite chair, they had a restful day. She gave Pokey a bath with slorg wash, it always made his red skin shine and look perfect.
"Get some sleep, Pokey, tomorrow will be here soon. We will be getting up early for the festival."
They were both so excited it was hard to get to sleep.
Morning seemed to come quickly. Dara got up and fixed breakfast. After they ate, she packed the wagon, placed Pokey on her shoulder and headed for the park.
"Remember, Pokey, just do your best and have fun. I am very proud of you no matter what. You are my best friend."
They were finally at the park. Dara looked around the park and was amazed by all the stalls with various slorg themed items for sale. There were Usuki slorg playsets, slorg shaped foods, slorg school supplies and clothing with slorgs pictured on them. There were stalls with slorg plushies of all colors and sizes and slorg toys. There was a stall filled with books about slorg care and books of slorg stories. There was a stall with slorg grooming supplies and also beautiful habitats for slorgs to live in. There was also a place to get slorg face painting and slorg temporary tattoos.
"Pokey, I have never seen so many slorg items in one place! This is so exciting! We will be going shopping after all the events are finished."
Pokey was entered in the beauty contest, scheduled to begin at nine a.m. Dara took Pokey to the registration table where they signed in. She was directed to the beauty contest staging area and given her table assignment.
Dara set Pokey into the clear ten inch square tank the contest provided and sat in her chair watching the judges walking up and down the lines of tables. They were writing in notebooks and sometimes talking quietly to each other. This took over forty minutes. There were at least one hundred entrants in the contest.
After the judges finished looking at all the contestants, they sat at a table a few feet away and discussed their notes. Finally, one judge stood and announced, "The following contestant numbers will come to the front table, all remaining contestants are not finalists and are dismissed. Thank you all for coming and competing today."
Twenty numbers were called out. Pokey's number was called as was Dottie, Meri's pet. They moved to the front table, placing their number card in front of the tanks. The judges walked slowly in front of each slorg. They were taking notes and asking the slorgs to crawl in a circle so they could see how well each one moved. Finally the judges went back to their table and huddled together comparing notes once more.
The lead judge stood and announced, "The third place winner is number twelve, Pokey the red slorg. The second place winner is number forty one, Dottie, the pink slorg. The first place winner is number thirty eight, Amy, the faerie slorg. Congratulations to all. Thank you for entering. We hope to see you all again next year."
The trophies and neopoint prizes were handed out. Everyone praised the winners. Dara and Meri hugged each other, they were very happy with their trophies. Dara received a bronze trophy and three hundred neopoints. Meri received a silver trophiy and six hundred neopoints. They both congratulated the first place winner, Amy and her owner, who won the gold trophy and one thousand neopoints.
The next event for Pokey was the obstacle course. Dara took Pokey to the assigned course. The obstacles were nearly identical to the ones Dara had used. Instead of purple spotted cheese, warty blue cheese was used. The leaves used were golden ivy leaves.
The judges told the five owners to place the slorgs at the start line and the race was started. Pokey's time for the race was twenty two minutes and forty seconds to reach the end of the track. Dara was very happy with that time. Only one other slorg had been faster. Dara knew that the winners would not be chosen until all racers were finished.
Dara took Pokey to the last race area. Ten owners placed their pets in the center circle. The owners were yelling instructions to their slorgs. Dara trusted Pokey to do what she had trained him to do. Pokey looked at Dara and then started crawling in a perfect straight line. Other slorgs were going in circles and some were crawling over each other or just sitting still.
Pokey made it to the edge first in a time of just fifteen minutes. Dara was so excited. She told Pokey how proud she was of him and that he had done everything very well.
They had about two hours left before all races would be complete and the winners chosen. Dara decided they should have some lunch and then go shopping.
Dara bought some sugared slorgs, a red plushie slorg and some grooming items and snacks for Pokey. She purchased several books. She wanted to buy a habitat for Pokey. The one she liked was six hundred neopoints and she did not have that much with her. Maybe when the winners are chosen she could go to the bank and get the neopoints to buy the habitat before the festival closed. Pokey worked so hard for her that she decided he deserved the fancy living space.
Finally, an announcement was made that the winners of the races had been determined. Dara and Pokey ran to the judges stand.
The announcer asked that all winners please stay after the announcements, as neopoint prizes along with trophies will be given out at the end and pictures would be taken.
"The third place winner in the obstacle course is number twelve, Pokey the red slorg."
Dara yelped with excitement and stepped forward to receive the third place ribbon.
"The second place winner of the obstacle course is number thirty, Geo the green slorg."
His owner also stepped forward to accept the second place ribbon.
"The first place winner of the obstacle course is number twenty four, Slow Moe the spotted slorg."
Albe jumped up and yelled out " I knew he could do it!" Albe ran to the front and accepted the first place ribbon.
All three winners were asked to stay and have a picture taken.
The announcement for the race winners started. Albe and Dara were very hopeful. They knew that their pets had done very well.
"The third place winner of the races is number eighteen, Speedy the starry slorg."
The owner stepped forward.
"The second place winner of the races is number twenty four, Slow Moe, the spotted slorg."
Albe ran to the front, jumping with excitement.
"The first place race winner is number twelve, Pokey the red slorg."
Dara almost tripped getting to the judges stand, she was very excited.
"The overall winners of the two races will receive trophies. The third place trophy goes to number eighteen, Speedy. The second place trophy goes to number twelve, Pokey. The overall winner and first place trophy goes to Slow Moe, with the fastest combined times."
Albe received a gold trophy and one thousand neopoints.
Dara received a silver trophy and six hundred neopoints.
The third place winner received a bronze trophy and three hundred neopoints.
The four friends all hugged and decided they would continue to train the slorgs all year to be ready for next year's festival.
Dara was so happy to have won the neopoints she needed to buy the fancy habitat for Pokey. When she looked at Pokey, she saw he was sound asleep in his travel tank. She thought it would be a wonderful surprise for him to wake up in the new living space. She ran to buy the special habitat.
Dara placed the trophies, ribbons and the items she purchased into her wagon, along with her backpack. She carried Pokey and started for home.
"How did the festival go?" asked Mr. Dell the Lenny.
"It was a lot of fun. Pokey won several prizes," Dara answered. "We are both very tired, but it was a wonderful day and more fun than I could have imagined!"
"Well, good for you both. I am glad you enjoyed it. It looks like Pokey is worn out. Better go on and put him to bed. Goodnight ,Dara."
"Goodnight, Mr. Dell."
Dara carried Pokey's tank into the bedroom. She unpacked the wagon and her backpack. She assembled the new habitat for Pokey. He was going to be very surprised. Dara quietly placed the new habitat on the dresser and took Pokey out of travel tank. She very gently placed him among the leaves and grass at the bottom of the habitat. She whispered, "Good night, Pokey, sleep well."
Dara climbed into her bed and quickly fell asleep, dreaming of all the fun they had at the festival.