The majestic athletics stadium was crammed to the rafters with people wanting to see the event of a lifetime. Many of them had been seated for hours, the long wait for the event itself heighten their tension as the start time drew nearer. Finally, the fanfare of trumpets echoed through the PA system. The deafening roar of the crowd was enough to raise the roof of the stadium. All eyes turned to the opening of doors that led to the trackside. Like an army of soldier ants on the march, the runners emerged from within the doors and strode onto the track. The cheering crowd welcomed them fanatically.
Tom Webber made his entrance, soaking up the atmosphere around him. He had waited a long time for this experience and it made him feel good, ready to prove his worth. The cheers of the crowd quickly changed to ridicule of laughter at the sight of some runners in a racing kit. Tom was one of them and it didn’t fazed him when the majority of the runners were stark naked. This is after all the ‘Virgin Quest’ race that everyone wanted to see.
The contestants were being individually announced to the crowd via the PA system and Tom stepped forward when his name was called. He received a mixed reception but it was what he had expected, to be one of the clothed runners. Always the minority in the race field whenever the Virgin Quest had materialised in the past with the fewest nominations among them. No sense of bravado from this group of runners in gaining potential sponsors.
‘Now give a warm welcome to one of the race favourites with many nominations,’ the excited tones of the MC roared through the PA system as Tom retreated back to the line up of competitors. ‘He’s known as BB, the Bollox Buster. I give you Ben Brown.’
The decibel levels rose wildly to breaking point from the whipped up frenzy as BB danced forward in a little jig. He constantly waved his hands downwards towards his genitals in performing his little preening dance, wanting all to see his well endowed manhood on the tanned toned up body. BB turned back towards his fellow athletes.
‘Hear that – size matters.’ He arrogantly derided his opponents before taking his place among them once more. A number of runners expressed uneasiness at his comments, a few to look down on their own manhood, questioning their beliefs.
‘What a bonehead.’ Tom’s attention was drawn away from BB and towards the dissenter. It was another clothed runner like himself but who was skinnier in outlook. ‘He has started with the mind games already.’
‘Vanity never wins.’ Tom answered the dissenter. ‘It is all about the inside of a person’s soul with love and respect as the key.’
‘You are damned right.’ The man responded to Tom’s insight. ‘Maybe we can work together on a strategy throughout our race.’ He asked and offered his hand forward. ‘I’m Stuart.’ Tom shook the man’s hand and introduced himself, pleased to have an ally who shared his principles.
The race MC concluded his introductions of the competitors and the runners were beckoned to the starting line as the crescendo of cheers built up in unison once more. The race starter looked along the line of runners and satisfied that all were in place, held upwards his gun. A bang echoed all around. The race had begun.
Tom had run only a few metres when the unthinkable happened. His shorts fell to his knees and he tumbled to the tarmac. Other runners bypassed him and he heard the crowd laughing. He quickly got up and pulled up his shorts as humiliation engulfed him. The laughter suddenly got subdued to silence as an angry woman walked towards him on the track.
‘I told you not to go chasing innocent minds.’ She screamed out at him and held out the elastic strings to his shorts. The woman had now reached him and she grabbed hold of his arm. Tom tried to fight clear of the woman’s interference and was rewarded by a hard slap to his head.
The crowd once again convulsed with laughter, amused by the woman’s antics. Tom could not believe that his own mother added to his humiliation. She started to drag him towards the trackside.
‘Why don’t you just back off Mother?’ He yelled and broke free of her clutches. ‘This is the race of a lifetime for me and no way, I’m backing out now.’ She was stunned at his retaliation towards her in public.
The section of the crowd nearest to Tom heard his comments and started to lend their support by chanting his name. The laughter was rapidly being diminished by a wave of voices around the stadium, urging him to run on, his name chanted louder.
‘Listen to the support Mother.’ He spoke and smiled broadly, appreciative of the chants for him.
Race officials were now on the scene with security guards in tow to apprehend the intruder. They politely asked Tom’s mother to leave the track but their ultimatum caused her to erupt like a newly blown volcano in further anger. Determined to have the final word, she snatched the race starter’s gun without hesitation and pointed it to Tom’s face. The crowd subdued their chants at the turn of events in the race.
‘Listen to your mother.’ She spoke with menace. ‘Not these disgusting perverts.’
Tom froze, staring into the barrel of a gun. Sweat drenched his brow as the trigger slowly fell back.
Listed in 'Publishers Weekly' USA- trade guide to the book industry 2015