SEASIDE PARK – SPRING FESTIVAL – THE FINALE.
“Here, the first dessert, let’s see what happens…” observes Blanco curiously.
The dessert is tasted by the first judge, who sinks his fork in to take off a tiny piece. A slow chew, a brief reflection, and then the juror writes his vote on a notepad.
The dessert is passed to the colleague sitting next to him, who repeats the same ritual, and then to the third.
“There, that’s it…” murmurs Blanco.
The cake arrives in front of Byjove, who grabs it with both hands, as if it were a sandwich, lifts it off the table and bites into it with the delicacy of a sow. The jaws work non-stop, the first bite is followed by a second, and then a third.
Half the cake is finished, the soldier places it back on the tray, wipes his forearm to clean his mouth, and then passes his judgment.
“Not bad, not bad at all…”
“Madre de Dios!” murmurs Blanco, bewildered.
Now it’s the president of the jury’s turn.
“May God protect us…” is Bell’s whisper.
Super Dan stares at the sweet, unmoving, pensively, as if examining a work of art.
“Maybe miracles still happen…” is the faint whisper of Blanco, whose hopes are dashed when President Kramp’s hands suddenly snap toward the cake, grasp it, and bring it to his mouth. Here the jaws move like a garbage disposal, and as if in a sleight of hand, the leftover cake half disappears in front of everyone.
“The devil you did…” mutters the First Lady nervously.
Then, with the same finesse as her seat neighbor, he runs her forearm over her mouth to wipe himself.
“Agreed, General, not bad at all. On to the next one!”
The First Lady’s eyes lower resignedly to the ground, Blanco’s rise to the heavens invoking divine intervention, Moore’s search around for the first aid trailer equipped for stomach pumping.
The contestants proudly present their creations and bring them to the stage, where the usual ritual takes place.
Three tiny tastings, a slow chewing and the judgment written on the notepad. Then it is the turn of the last two jurors.
The first half of the cake disappears thanks to the incessant movement of Byjove’s jaws and the second is swallowed in a few bites by Super Dan.
“A show of refinement and good taste, no doubt about it…” comments Wright under his breath.
“Noblesse oblige…” adds Moore.
“Just wait until you come down off that stage and I’ll fix you!” snarls the First Lady angrily. “What’s after this race?”
“The Spring Walk, milady,” Richardson replies embarrassed.
“Which your husband and the General are entered in. It’s been written into the record, too, hasn’t it?” adds Moore.
“Of course, it’s on the record,” Blanco confirms with a smile.
“And how long is this spring walk?” asks Gwendoline.
“Ten miles, milady,” replies the organizer.
A smile lights up the First Lady’s face. “Can’t they be stretched to a hundred?”
Meanwhile, on the stage, empty trays pile on top of each other, forming a small tower.
“Blanco,” Moore whispers, “does this look more like the Eiffel Tower or the tower of Pisa to you?”
From the stage the last gesture of elegance. “Hey, over there, Richardrink, couldn’t we have some white wine, to go with these desserts?” rants Byjove.
“Yes, and make sure it’s fresh, mind you!” adds Super Dan.
“So much for the spring walk, I’ll have you do, when you get off…to hard labor I send you!” snarls the First Lady. “Ms Brontenserious, are you ready?”
SWISH! is the answer…
The parade of sweets of all kinds, from cakes to pies, continues on stage, but no trace of any of them remains, except for a few crumbs…
“Well, ladies and gentlemen,” Richardson announces into the microphone after taking the stage, “the competition is over, now we wait for the jury to give their verdict. Who will be the top three finishers?”
“Judging by what’s left of the desserts, I’d say everyone,” Moore murmurs.
“Our jurors will now discuss to decide…” continues the organizer, turning to them, when they…
The President and the Secretary of defense are snoring in perfect sync, as in a concerto for two cellos by Antonio Vivaldi.
The other three judges, embarrassed, don’t know what to do, Richardson is speechless, the audience begins to laugh.
“My goodness, how embarrassing…” stammers Wright.
“I’ll give you a wake-up call, when you get down from there…” growls the First Lady.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,” Moore says with British phlegm, walking towards Richardson.
“May I?” he asks him, politely taking the microphone out of his hands.
“General!” shouts the Chief of Staff, “We are under siege, the country is in danger! They want to make an attempt on the President’s life!”
Byjove’s eyes go wide, he leaps to his feet and grabs Super Dan, throwing him to the ground like a rug. A moment later he dives on top of him, like a wrestler, to protect him from any attacks.
A laugh spreads through the crowd, until it becomes a roar….
“Et voila! Problem solved. You have the microphone, Richardson…” Moore concludes his speech.
The security agents run on stage, to untangle that human tangle, struggling laboriously with two bellies and a toupee.
Finally the two judges are put back on their feet, Byjove, on alert for the dreaded bombing, and Super Dan with the toupee shifted over his eyes.
“Where are the bombers?” blurts the military man.
“Who turned out the lights?” asks the first citizen.
Byjove, with his trademark delicacy, grabs Super Dan’s toupee with one hand and slams it down on his head like an omelet.
“That’s it, my commander! Light on!”
A second burst of laughter shakes the crowd.
“Gentlemen, I’m sorry but you have to proclaim the top three finishers…” interjects the incoming Richardson.
“The top three in what?” asks the still ankylosed and sore Super Dan.
“And where are the bombers?” asks Byjove, his eyes still full of sleep.
“The pies!” is the cry that rises from the crowd, followed by another laugh.
“I recognize this voice. Moore…” mutters Super Dan.
“Ah, yes, the pies!” exclaims Byjove, with a big smile. “Very good indeed, and that little wine too, light, sparkling…”
“Um, sorry, but you should decide who the top three finishers are among those who participated in the cake contest…” reiterates the event organizer, visibly embarrassed.
“Ah, yes, of course, of course…” mutters Super Dan, trying to pull himself together. “General…”
“They were all delicious!”
“I agree, my general!”
Amidst the background laughter, the party host struggles to wrap up the competition. “I don’t doubt it, they were certainly all very good…”
“And I believe it! They didn’t leave a single crumb!” Moore reminds him, causing another wave of laughter.
“Yeah, there you go, that’s my point…” stammers an increasingly embarrassed Richardson, who realizes he has to take matters into his own hands. “Gentlemen of the jury,” he says addressing the first three jurors, “have you made a decision?”
“Of course…” the three respond in unison, handing Richardson a sheet of paper with the names of the three contestants.
The organizer takes the microphone and proceeds to award the prizes, trying to put an end to the competition, the embarrassment and the laughter of the crowd.
The chairman and vice-chairman of the jury come down from the stage….
“Here they are back with us, our jurors,” Moore wryly welcomes them. “I hope you are not too tired after such an ordeal. We’ve all seen how hard you’ve worked at it…”
“Well, that is, we wanted to go through each product with the utmost care to make sure that the winner was indeed the most deserving…” mumbles Byjove.
“That’s right….” Super Dan backs him up, embarrassed.
“And you wanted to overlook no detail, right?” smiling Moore insists.
“That never! After all the effort those poor guys had put into the kitchen…”
“That’s why you didn’t leave a single crumb, isn’t it?” the First Lady interjected sharply.
“Well, I…” stutters Super Dan.
“And there’s nothing like a good white wine to accompany a dessert, is there, General?” asks Moore with amusement.
“You could say that!” exclaims Byjove with flushed cheeks.
“Of course we can say that!” blurts out Gwendoline angrily. “The whole crowd witnessed the spectacle you offered!”
“Actually, the First Lady is right,” Moore interjects wryly, “the show you put on was certainly memorable…”
“Thank you, Moore, thank you…” responds a satisfied Byjove.
“Thank you, my foot!” explodes the First Lady. “You’re so drunk you can’t tell a joke from a compliment anymore! You’ve made fools of yourselves in front of everyone!”
Our two former jurors fall silent, embarrassed.
“But, honey, we had to taste those desserts to pass judgment…” Super Dan tries in vain to justify himself.
“Between tasting and gorging there is a big difference!” his wife interrupts him furiously.
“More or less ten kilos of sweets, I would say, at a guess…” comments the Chief of Staff.
“Honey, don’t be like that,” the first citizen tries to calm her down, “I was the president of the jury, it was my duty to taste those sweets…”
“Duty first! Hic!” interjects Byjove, stuffed with cakes and wine.
“Duty first?” asks the First Lady. “Really?”
“Always and always!” reiterates Byjove.
“Well, I’m glad to hear that,” retorts Gwendoline, with newfound serenity. “So you will also fulfill your duty by tackling the next task ahead of you, right? Or are you going to back out?”
“Never!” exclaims Byjove. “Always forward!”
“Very well. Did you hear that, honey?” asks the First Lady with a smile.
“Yes, of course, dear, I heard…” replies Super Dan worriedly.
“My dear Richardson,” Gwendoline smilingly asks, “what’s next for us?”
“The walk of spring, my lady. Which your husband and the general are signed up for, am I right?”
“The spring walk, what a nice initiative…” stammers Super Dan. “And how long would this walk be?”
“Never long enough, considering what you’ve eaten…” his wife replies sourly.
“And it’s on the record,” Blanco confirms with a smile.
“And how long is this spring walk?” asks Gwendoline.
“Ten miles, milady…” replies the organizer.
“What?!” squints Super Dan.
“Mr. President,” interjects the wily Moore, “allow me to suggest that to work off what you’ve just eaten and drunk…”
“It would take the New York City Marathon!” drastically interjects the First Lady. “But running!”
“But darling…” barely manages to say the first citizen, just a moment before his consort’s gaze reaches Ms Brontenserious.
“Well, now that our irreplaceable First Lady has cleared the air,” Moore interjects with a grin, “all that’s left to figure out is one thing: General, did you bring the necessities for the spring walk?”
“Yes sir! Always ready for action! Tracksuits, t-shirts, socks, and walking shoes! For two!”
“For two?” asks Super Dan, now resigned.
“For two.” firmly reiterates his consort.
“Of course…” stammers the first citizen, pale with fear.
“Follow me, my commander!” exclaims Byjove enthusiastically. “Let’s go to the first aid caravan and change!”
After a few minutes.
“There they are, just in time!” exclaims Blanco pointing at them.
Our two runners return, dressed for the race.
“Here are our marchers!” sarcastically greets them Moore. “But look, what style, what elegance. Milady, your tastefulness once again has hit the mark!”
“Thank you, Moore…”
“Um, honey,” Super Dan cautiously tries to point out, “but are you really sure this attire is appropriate for marching?”
“Absolutely, dear. Besides, with the Chief of Staff’s valuable suggestions, I’m sure you’ll stand out from the crowd…”
“What?! Moore is behind this? I knew it…”
“You don’t have to thank me, Mr. President…” the mocking Brit interrupted him.
“Thank you?!” the first citizen is about to explode. “I…”
“Rather thank your better half, who has added those details that enhance your figure…” says Moore, thus silencing Super Dan. “For example, how about the shoes? But look at him, doesn’t he look like a Michelangelo sculpture?”
“Well, there,” stutters Bell, “with those purple shoes on his feet, with all that glittery rhinestones, he looks, there, he looks like…”
“A debauchee.” interjects Byjove dryly.
“General,” countered Moore wittily, “but what are you saying? It’s the latest London trend…”
“The famous London debauches…” continues Byjove.
“Have you heard? Even the general agrees with me!” blurts out Super Dan.
“Come on, don’t say that!” tries to bring some concord Blanco. “Let’s say that the President’s attire is…is…original. That’s it, yes, original…”
“And what does that red band on his forehead represent?” asks the usual Byjove bluntly.
“What, you don’t recognize it?” asks Moore in mock amazement. “General, I marvel at you. It’s the Rambo-style sash…”
“Well, if it has anything to do with Rambo, then…” mutters the military man. “Although I don’t even understand what color the tracksuit is…”
“But it’s a pastel yellow!” retorts the First Lady.
“As for the general, however, I had no doubts,” concludes the Chief of Staff. “Army green jumpsuit.”
“And you saw right!” exclaims Byjove proudly.
“Are you ready for the competition?” asks Richardson. “The other participants are already ready.”
“Glory awaits us!” exclaims Byjove, chest out. “Follow me my commander!”
The two competitors make their way to the starting line.
“Our President looks like something out of a Picasso painting…” murmurs Wright.
The speaker explains the friendly spirit of the event over the microphone and then gives the starting signal.
The participants set off enthusiastically, among smiles and fun.
Except for two…
Our two runners sprint like sprinters, with Byjove determined to win.
“Come on, my commander, we need to keep the pace up!”
People cheer, enjoy and encourage the marchers.
“The president looks like a lemon with a red ribbon on top,” Blanco observes under his breath.
“But no, what are you saying?” murmurs Moore pointedly. “It’s the fashion…”
On the trail, meanwhile, our two heroes begin to puff like two coffee pots, while the elastic on Super Dan’s yellow pants begins to show signs of giving way.
The red headband tightens more and more, and slowly moves to the right side of his head along with the toupee.
“The hair!” squeals Naive spontaneously. “Mr. President, the hair!”
“General!” adds Moore with all the breath in his body, “The President’s hair!”
“What?! Who’s yelling??” snorts Super Dan irately, an instant before Byjove reaches over his head to straighten his headband and hairpiece.
“General…pant…pant…what the hell did you do?!”
“Hair straightened! Mission accomplished!”
“It’s this damn headband’s fault!” snorts Super Dan.
“You can’t take it off.” replies Byjove. “If he takes it off, the hair comes off too!”
“Damn Moore, always him…”
After a few minutes fatigue sets in, President Kramp’s pants give way more and more and the red band slips inexorably toward his eyes.Super Dan with one hand tries to hold up his pants, while with the other he is adjusting his hair, but invain, because after a while it starts to fall dangerously on his forehead again.
“Easy…pant…pant…I’ll take care of it!” exclaims Byjove, who, as delicate as a rhinoceros, stretches his arm towards the head of his partner, but this time wig ends up on Super Dan’s face, held tightly by the red band.
“What the heck are you doing! I can’t see a damn thing!”
The First Citizen swerves out of the way, goes onto the grass, heading for a large bramble bush.
“Where is he going?!” exclaims Blanco.
“The hair!” shrieks Moore. “Get the hair out of his face!”
“Mr. President!” thunders Byjove’s voice. “More to the left, more to the left! No, more to the right! Not that way, go back!”
“Forward, back! Hot-warm-cold!” shouts Moore.
“Super Dan, with one hand on his pants and the other on his head, goes straight into the brambles….
Promptly arrives Byjove, who grabs him by the arm and pulls him out of the bushes….
His sweatpants, snagged, rip right across a buttock….
“What was that noise?”
“Nothing, my commander,” Byjove reassures him. “Keep marching, whoever stops is lost!”
The big hole in his pants reveal the pink panties, chosen by his consort for the race.
In the audience someone starts to snicker….
“This damn sash!” complains Super Dan, trying to put the toupee back in place, while Byjove, who continues to march like a tank, drags him by the arm towards the course.
“General! General! Protect your commander, look at his buttocks!” shouts Moore with all the breath in his lungs.
“My buttocks?! Who shouted?” blurts Super Dan, partly still blinded by his hair, as Byjove takes a look at President Kramp’s all torn up.
“By a thousand bayonets!” exclaims the military man. “It’s true!”
“What’s true?!” snorts the first citizen.
“Your buttocks, Mr. President!”
“Your suit is ripped right on a buttock!”
“Mr. President!” cries Moore’s voice again. “Congratulations on your good taste, pink really suits you!”
“Moore!” growls Super Dan, marching in with one hand on his pants and one on his toupee.
“General, patch us up! Do something!” insists the Chief of Staff.
“Don’t worry, my commander, I have an idea!” exclaims Byjove. “Take off your tracksuit jacket and tie it around your hips!”
Super Dan, partly blinded by the toupee, tightened on his forehead and eyes by the band that moves lower and lower, follows Byjove’s advice, thus managing to cover his voluminous buttocks, but discovering something else…
A roar of laughter rises from the crowd, now everyone can see Super Dan’s t-shirt, white, with a pink teddy bear drawn on it.
“But what else is going on?” the first citizen asks. “Why are they laughing?”
“What a shame!” exclaims disappointed Byjove. “A pink teddy bear…”
“What?! Oh, yeah, the shirt…” mutters Super Dan, who had forgotten. “Moore!!! Always him!!!
In the crowd, meanwhile…
“Moore, thank you for your invaluable advice…”
“I preferred the bare ass…” mutters Byjove. “What a shame…”
“General, think about your ass, I’ll take care of mine!” blurts Super Dan.
“Milady,” Moore comments, “they don’t seem to be disposing of what they just ate…”
“You’re right, Moore. Come on, my teddy bear, don’t give up! Faster, go faster, teddy bear!”
“Milady’s right!” cries the Briton. “Don’t talk, think of marching! Have some soul, teddy bears, you’re losing ground!”
“Teddy bears?!” mumbles Byjove.
“Moore!” roars Super Dan, still engaged in his struggle to keep his too-large pants on and straighten his toupee.
“Who yelled teddy bears?!” mutters Byjove. “Who dared?”
President Kramp, meanwhile, still blinded by his hair, goes off the path again, back onto the grass and bumps into a person, skidding and ending up belly down on the ice cream cart, which starts downhill with him on it.
Byjove takes off in pursuit like a football player, demolishing everyone he comes across with his shoulders.
“Make way! Save the President!”
The cart runs right into a two-hundred pounds woman, who ends up lying on top of Super Dan, also on the cart.
“Help! I can’t breathe!”
The first citizen is now crushed by the woman, the toupee in front of her face held tightly by the sash, and is in danger of respiratory failure.
“Stop the damn cart!” shrieks Byjove.
“The President! Save the President!” shouts Wright, engaged in the chase with the others.
“My husband! Help my husband!” comes the First Lady’s voice.
“The ice creams! Mr. President, don’t eat all the ice cream!” yells Moore.
The cart goes faster and faster, darting through shrubs, trees, and the frightened crowd, and points toward a small dried fruit stand.
Peanuts, almonds, and walnuts fly everywhere as Byjove continues his pursuit, running like a panzer and running over people, vendors, and bushes.
“Save the president! Stop the cart! Take that woman down!”
The cart returns to the race track and crosses the finish line, past which it ends its run on the gazebo set up for the final awards ceremony.
The men of the escort rush in, trying to find their President among pieces of wood, ice cream, a two-hundred pounds woman, and colorful streamers.
“There he is! It’s him!” exclaims an agent. “Ah, no, sorry, it’s the woman…”
“Well, the size is the same…” comments the voice of Moore, who has just arrived with the others.
“I see his hair!” exclaims Naive. “Yes, there’s the red headband too!”
“The pink teddy bear!” points to Moore. “Yes, It’s really him!”
The woman is rescued and carried away, while Super Dan is retrieved from the rubble: his pants ripped over his exposed buttocks, colorful stains of ice cream all over his body, and his toupee pressed to his face by the red sash, tightened around his head at nose level.
“Mr. President, how are you?” asks Blanco.
“Umpf!” mutters Super Dan, with the toupee in front of his mouth, as he is freed from the red sash and helped to his feet.
“Darling, how are you?” the First Lady asks worriedly.
“I’m all achy…” complains Super Dan.
“On the upside, I see your teddy bear has won once again…” interjects Moore sarcastically.
“Moore,” Super Dan grumbles, “just wait until I get this sash off my eyes…”
“And you’ll can see the finish line you just crossed first…” adds the Brit.
“That’s right, my commander!” exults Byjove, who has just come running. “Our leader has proved himself first once again!”
“First in everything, don’t forget that, General!” insists Moore. “First in speed, but also in agility!”
“Agility?!” puzzled Byjove asks.
“Of course! Our President wanted to amaze us by showing off his dexterity by using that ice cream cart as a surfboard! Priceless!”
“What?!” exclaims Super Dan in amazement.
“Absolutely!” snaps the military man to attention. “Our commander is a complete athlete!”
“And you, milady, have seen your husband triumph not only in speed and agility, but also in elegance…”
“Of course. And not only I, but the whole crowd has seen the refinement of his attire…”
“Yeah, the whole world saw what I looked like!” growls Super Dan in anger. “Moore, you’re…”
“Oh, Mr. President, you don’t have to thank me, the First Lady gets all the credit for the stylistic choice of her wardrobe…”
“Moore, don’t be modest,” Gwendoline replies. “Without her invaluable advice, I never would have known how to do…”
“I knew it!” blurts Super Dan. “See? Moore was involved!”
“Honey,” his wife affectionately chides him, “I don’t understand what you’re always complaining about…”
“Well, actually…” mumbles Byjove, looking puzzled at Super Dan.
“Actually what, general? Come on, say it!”
“General,” Moore interjects, “but look at him: the pastel yellow jumpsuit, the purple hiking shoes with glittering rhinestones, the white t-shirt with the pink teddy bear design. Isn’t he a champion of elegance?”
“I’m looking at him, I’m looking at him,” the military man mumbles embarrassed.
“And what does he look like to you?” insists the Brit.
“A debauched hippie…” replies Byjove with his usual frankness.
“There, did you hear that?” exclaims Super Dan.
“But darling,” his wife interjects, “what do you want the general to understand about high fashion?”
“The First Lady is right,” Moore argues her.”You know how these rough men are…”
“Certainly better dressed than I am!” replies Super Dan irritably.
“Thank you, Mr. President…” replies Byjove.
“I beg your pardon,” Blanco interjects, “I don’t want to spoil this fashion dissertation of yours, but shouldn’t we take our President to the first aid caravan?”
“That trailer has become his second home by now,” Moore comments, as Super Dan is escorted to get himself together.
“Good grief, General, we forgot something very important…” exclaims Moore, in simulated amazement.
“Oh yeah, and what?”
“But the winner’s medal! Our leader came first!”
“The medal! By a thousand bayonets, Moore, you are correct! Richardprize, run immediately to the first aid caravan and hand the first place medal to our President! Snap!”
Intimidated, the organizer makes his way to the trailer, muttering the usual phrase for the umpteenth time.
“Richardson, my name is Richardson…”
Later, here comes Super Dan back, accompanied by his wife and Austrian housekeeper.
“Welcome back, Mr. President!” exclaims Moore. “I almost didn’t recognize you without the yellow jumpsuit and that cute pink teddy bear on your chest…”
“Moore!” thunders Super Dan, immediately interrupted.
“And you, milady, on the other hand,” continues the Brit, “is unmistakable. Charming as ever…”
“Thank you Moore.”
“Well,” Blanco says, “now that the patches on our President have increased, may we know what more this day holds for us?”
“The Festival of the Tree, which is held at the beginning of every spring,” Richardson replies.
“And which our president and our general will be attending,” Moore interjects. “You think, their eagerness to try their hand at this contest was so great, they even demanded that their participation be put on record. Do you, General?”
“Yes sir! Always ready for action!”
“Good heavens!” comments Super Dan as he looks up, “What else is it about?”
“Mr. President,” the local organizer is about to explain, “it’s an ancient ceremony. From time immemorial in this area a tree is cut down, in the traditional way of course, with an axe, and then carried on the shoulder up the hill. Here, the same evening it will be burned…”
“Oh, yeah, now I remember…” barely makes it in time to exclaim Super Dan.
“…And each team will carry their own tree up the hill…” concludes Richardson.
“And guess who one of the participating teams is made up of?” asks Moore pointedly.
“Present!” replies Byjove proudly. “My commander, we will cut down the largest tree in the valley, show the world what we are made of!”
“Oh noooo…” murmurs Super Dan.
“The team that gets to the top of the hill first wins. Of course, I’d like to point out that for every tree planted, four will be planted, to safeguard the vegetation…”
“Mr. President, did you hear that?” continues Moore to tease him. “Aren’t you glad to make your contribution to the preservation of the environment?”
“Moore, sooner or later I…” mutters Super Dan stymied.
“I’m thankful for the chance to can do something for nature. Right honey?” interjects Gwendoline decisively.
“Well, if you’d like to follow me, we can set out towards the location chosen for the tree cutting.” proposes Richardson. “Before long, the other teams will be there…”
The group strolls across the grass, between chatter, smiles, and a few groans. Arriving at the site chosen for the race….
“Here we are! As you can see this area is full of trees…”
“You’re right, Richardson, we’re spoiled for choice…” observes Bell.
“And we’ll pick the biggest one!” exclaims Byjove enthusiastically.
“What! No, wait, wait…” stammers Super Dan.
“That was the President I was expecting!” interjects Moore insolently. “Never second to anyone!”
“That never!” replies Byjove, struck in his weak spot. “Always ahead, always first! My commander, we will cut down a centuries-old oak tree and carry it on our shoulders to the top of the hill!”
“What?!” blurts Super Dan, on the verge of a collapse.
“Um, General,” Richardson clarifies, “your enthusiasm is commendable, but I would point out that there are no ancient trees in this area of the park. They’re in another part of the park and they’re protected by law, they’re forbidden to be cut down…”
“Really?” asks Byjove frowning. “What a bummer. All right, let’s take a look at these plants…”
“Mr. President, did you hear that?” asks Moore with simulated displeasure. “No old trees. You’ll have to make do with these twigs…”
“There it is!” echoes the military man’s voice. “That’s it!”
“That?!” exclaims Super Dan, in a panic. “You call that a twig?”
“My commander,” Byjove encourages him smiling, “Nothing is ever too much for two old oaks like us! Look at it, it’s little more than a little Christmas tree…” mutters Byjove, impatient to get started.
“A Christmas tree?!” jumps President Kramp. “But if it’s as tall as a four-story building!”
“Oh, the usual exaggeration!” interjects Blanco. “Mr. President, at most it will be three stories…”
“Yes, but that’s three stories that will end up on my shoulders!” exclaims Super Dan.
“Strong and sturdy shoulders, am I right, General?” interjects Moore again.
“Strong and sturdy as a rock! Richardtree, where are the axes? When do we start?”
“If you will follow me, you may choose your tools and put on the proper overalls. The competition is about to begin. And by the way, Richardson, my name is Richardson…”
A few minutes later, our two heroes, wearing sturdy overalls, are standing near their own tree, as are the other teams…
“General, why are the other teams made up of three men and ours just the two of us?” asks Super Dan worriedly.
“And who else could be on the team? Moore, that British gentleman? Or maybe Bell, that mollusk? Or Wright? No, my commander, the truth is that the two of us are the only two men worthy of the name, capable of handling this race. Aren’t you proud of that?”
“Sure, right…” replies Super Dan, increasingly distressed.
The speaker explains the course of the race on the microphone and then gives the start signal. Our two lumberjacks start hitting the tree with their axes.
“They’ve started!” exclaims Naive. “Come on, Mr. President!”
“Look at General Byjove, look at the way he wields the axe,” comments Wright.
“Fortunately, seeing how the President handles it…” murmurs Blanco.
“Louder, my commander, louder!” shrieks Byjove.
“Pant…I’m trying to do…pant…what I can…”
“More, more!” the military man, who looks like a professional lumberjack, urges him.
“My goodness, but look at the general,” Bell observes in amazement, “he looks like he wants to cut down the tree all by himself…”
“Mr. President!” shouts Moore from the crowd. “Elbow grease! Look at the general!”
“Moore…” growls Super Dan through gritted teeth.
The general’s axe seems to be moved by a pneumatic piston, as he is puffing away like a steaming coffee pot.
The audience, shouting, cheering the logging crews, clapping.
“That’s it, General, keep it up!”
“Mr. President!” echoes Moore’s voice. “Hold your axe better! Keep your back straight! Bend your legs! Hold your hair steady!”
“Moore!” is the only grunt that comes out of the first citizen’s panting mouth.
The tree is finally about to fall, mostly because of Byjove.
“They did it!” claps Naive excitedly.
The ground shakes, the tree falls to the ground, along with those of three other teams.
“Hurry, my commander!” rants Byjove. “We must beat the others to the punch! Lift the tree off the ground and rest it on your shoulder!”
“What! Are you crazy?”
“Look at me!” screeches Byjove, as he lifts the trunk off one end and rests it on his shoulder, as if nothing was.
“That man will never cease to amaze me…” murmurs Blanco, dumbfounded.
“He’s a true force of nature,” agrees Wright. “But what is the President doing, why is he standing still?”
“Mr. President, do something, the world is watching!” echoes Moore’s vibrant voice in the park.
Stung in his pride, Byjove throws the tree to the ground, walks over to Super Dan, lifts the trunk off one end, and rests it on the first citizen’s shoulder.
“Did you hear that? The world is watching us! Now I’m going to lift the other end and we’re going to start climbing to the top of the hill!”
Super Dan’s knees buckle under the weight of the trunk, his legs begin to shake.
“It’s not the world that’s watching us, I know who it is, that damned…” barely manages to stammer out Super Dan.
“Go, now you have to climb to the top of the hill!” their government colleagues encourage them.
The two begin to climb up the hill, Super Dan in front and Byjove behind, bearing most of the weight, and pushing their teammate along.
“Come on, my commander, one foot at a time! For the glory of the country!” snorts Byjove, trying to encourage Super Dan, who strides forward skidding like a drunk.
His pants begin to drop, his toupee moves more and more towards his eyes, his legs bend more and more.
From the crowd comes a shout: “The bunting, keep the bunting! And watch your hair, it’s getting disheveled!”
“Moore…” is the gasp that comes out of the first citizen’s mouth, as sweat now wets his entire face.
Byjove, meanwhile continues to climb, one step after another, pushing his teammate forward.
“Forward! Higher and higher! The world is watching us!” thunders the military man’s voice.
“Yes, but seeing how the President is looking, maybe the world had better turn away!” is the answering cry that comes from the audience.
“Damn…pant…British…” mumbles Super Dan.
“What did you say, my commander? Save your breath, think about going up!” blurts Byjove, advancing like a caterpillar.
“I…can’t…pant…take it anymore…” stutters Super Dan, with his back bent, his pants pulled down over his buttocks and his toupee now in front of his eyes.
“My commander, they are overtaking us! Accelerate! One step at a time! One-two! One-two! Forward march!”
“Pant…pant…forward…where?” gasps Super Dan.
“The pants!” echoes Moore’s voice. “Mr. President, keep your pants on! And your hair, get your hair out of your eyes!”
“Moore…” stammers Super Dan, at risk of collapse, as behind him Byjove spurs him on.
“My commander, Moore is right! Pull up your pants, they’re down to butt level!”
“You think…pant…about your…pant…buttocks…” mutters Super Dan, overwrought with fatigue.
“Cover your ass, my commander!” rants Byjove. “Remember they’re presidential butts!”
“I said…pant…pant…think about your…pant…butts…” is the last thing Super Dan manages to gasp out, before he slips and falls to the ground. The log falls heavily, overwhelming the first citizen and the unbelieving general.
“Good grief! They fell!” exclaims Naive in fright.
The security men immediately spring into action, rushing to the rescue of the two unfortunate men, who begin to roll down the valley along with the log.
“Runway!!!” is the cry of an anonymous bystander in the audience.
The two amateur loggers descend with the force of an avalanche, felling and dragging bushes and shrubs with them.
Some of the contestants throw their own logs to the ground and run away, making their way to safety.
“Geronimo!!!” is Byjove’s last cry.
The human and vegetable mass, consisting of the two unfortunate lumberjacks, their trunk and all the uprooted bushes, comes down at full speed, bouncing like a huge balloon.
“It’s heading for those trees!” shrieks Blanco, moments before the avalanche crashes into the plants….
A cloud of dust, twigs, leaves and pieces of wood spreads all around as the security officers try to untangle themselves among that tangle of vegetation and bellies.
“There they are!” shouts one agent.
Slowly they are released and pulled out….
“Madre de Dios!” exclaims Blanco. “They look like they’ve come back from beyond the grave!”
The two unfortunates, covered in dust, leaves and twigs, are pulled out of the pile of vegetation created during the descent.
The indestructible Byjove and poor Super Dan, with his toupee over his eyes, his pants halfway down.
“Honey, how are you feeling?” his wife asks anxiously.
“How?” stammers the husband.
“Mr. President, how many is this?” asks Wright, showing three fingers.
“What?!” continues to mumble Super Dan.
“We’d better take him to the first aid caravan.” proposes Blanco.
“No, this time it’ll be better to take him to the hospital for a complete checkup. An ambulance, please.” retorts the First Lady. “Ms Brontenserious…”
“Mr. President,” Byjove interjects, “before you go, I have some bad news for you…”
“Another one?” mutters Bell. “Why, isn’t everything that’s happened enough?”
“Mr. President: we didn’t win the race…” concludes Byjove sadly.
“And you couldn’t even pull up the President’s pants…” adds Moore quietly.
“No, not even those…” admits the military man, his pride hurt.
“I’m concerned about President Kramp’s condition…” states Richardson, immediately reassured.
“But no, our President is an old rock, isn’t he, General?”
“Absolutely! Don’t worry, he’ll get back in shape in no time!”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Richardson continues, “the Spring Festival concludes here. Now all that remains is the evening barbecue, which will close the event. But after all that’s happened, I’d understand if you didn’t feel like staying…”
“Never!” blurts out the unflappable Byjove. “Barbecue? Did I hear that word? Richardmeat, lead the way, fire at the grills! Troop: forward, march!”
“Richardson, my name is Richardson…” the local organizer replies resignedly as he leads the group toward the evening barbecue.
This concludes President Kramp’s participation in the spring festival.
See you next episode! Ending theme!