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Shag Drag

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  • Craig

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:24 AM

My name is Teddy Lavonne. Since 1977 I have been a champion carpet racer. For years I have travelled the globe in search of the finest lobbies to demonstrate my skills. So far, Iíd have to say with confidence that no other hotels have held a candle to what Japan offers. I donít know if itís the pile being kind to my engines or just sheer luck that makes the journey to the finish line a lonely one. All I know is if thereís a tournament in Japan with my name plastered on the posters, just hope I havenít changed my cooling fluid. Iíve often been criticised in carpet racing specialist magazines when it comes to my arrogance but frankly, itís hard to remain modest when victory swings from your belt like a monkey in a car tyre. Donít get me started on car tyres either. When I first started racing at the age of eight, Iíd already constructed my own course from a book of doormat samples and whatever the mechanic down the street couldnít legally set fire to. I could weave in and out of those tyres like a left-hand thread. I think racingís in my blood, but only because my blood is in the race.

I write a column every two weeks for Hallway Quarterly, which is a great magazine for the sportís coverage. I talk about my technique, tips and also answer a few letters. The most common question I get asked is about my rig. Iíve seen videos on YouTube where so many kids have tried imitating me and my style. Despite the warnings not to try it at home, I still see it. I canít say I approve as what I do is dangerous, but I will admit I feel a little sting of pride every single time I witness a kid with that glint I have. Well, the rig I use is the one they chase. I never list off the materials and parts because thatís probably as dangerous as giving away a nitro glycerine recipe in a Christmas cracker. My set-up has changed over the years but Iíve pretty much stuck with the Keizar-Volvec KV9T9-B model. Rather than the stock two cooling tubes you get, me and a buddy got a little nuts on Demerol and ended up installing four more, as well as an extractor fan to keep the air in the cockpit nice and cool. As you know, these carts are tiny, so you have to make do with whatever comfort available.

So why are you here? Well, itís another one of my magazine bits. Iím here to tell you about my career low-point. It happened just ten weeks ago at the end of the season. As youíve read, I havenít raced since. Journalists will say itís my broken shoulder blade thatís stopping me from coming back to work, but itís more like a broken heart. It started at Christmas, actually. Just after weíd got the kids up and opened gifts, I received a call from my agent. He said something that made the room flip on its axis. Basically, my career had grown stale and empty. Kids had found a great new underground scene of racers who would compete in the most bizarre, cramped and dangerous places. In order to move on and attract this fresh audience, I needed to do what they were doing, else run the risk of racing in what would essentially be an empty hallway. Despite my passion for the racing circuit, I was reluctant. I could well have done this in my 20s, but I had a family to consider now. However, the sport had always been dangerous and my wife knew that. In fact, it was how I met her. Iím good at what I do, so I was confident nothing was going to go wrong. I think he was more elated than I was when I agreed to it.

The race was scheduled for two days before the championship race at the end of the season. I donít see why they didnít hold it on the same day; it wasnít as if any professionals were going to show up. Sure enough, as I began to attach my coupling and steering cables, the competitors arrived in waves. I hadnít had a chance to see the venue, but there were easily double the amount of any race Iíd seen. Not only that but they were younger than me Ė much younger. The whole experience was pretty daunting if I'm honest. The only real chuckle I had was seeing what they'd called the sport. Plastered on bright yellow posters were the words "Shag Drag". That was quite cute. I felt a little vulnerable to tell you the truth, but Iíve put kids and catchphrases in their places before. This was going to be easy, and itís in their comfort zone too. I was going to prove the slogans right.

The confidence I had slipped slightly when I finally saw the race track. It was a carpeted lobby and hallway in an old hotel. The walls were adorned with cheap grey paper that seemed to suck the life out of the sport itself. Apparently, pinstripes went out of fashion years ago. Cheap, occasional lighting littered the ceiling in what looked like completely random patterns. It was as if the architect knew what was eventually going to be happening here. A lone mirror sat in the hallway too, around halfway down, but far too high up for us. Besides, it isnít like we can see much at that speed anyway. The next few minutes seemed to flow faster than the races themselves. Before I knew it, I was sat in my cart, fluid forcing its way around the tubes surrounding my head. I had no pit crew this time, and I had to get used to the idea of not having someone on the other head of a headpiece if I was to survive in this underground world of carpet racing. I began to think, if only for a split second, just what the hell I was doing there. I had a career, a reputation and a family who loved me Ė why did I feel the need to compete in this? Was it pride twisting my common sense? I didnít have much time to think after that, because a gun-shot sound effect played from somebodyís laptop indicated the race had begun.

The races only last for minutes at a time, sometimes only 60 seconds. This was one of them or at least for me. The track itself was two minutes long, but I lasted around half that. Things were going great. I flew over the pattern carpet like a bird would the continents. The first two competitors were nothing compared to my professionally tuned rig, but the next few were more difficult than Iíd anticipated. For a full 20 seconds I sat stuck behind a large racer who called himself ďRattlesĒ. Heíd built this rig that looked about as simple as he was. That didnít stop him from dominating the track and it was at the next corner that heíd proved his ingenuity. Built into the wheels were brakes that were capable of controlling each one individually. Rattles yanked a lever and two of the brakes kicked in, swinging him on the spot and catapulting his cart round the corner with blistering ease. The corner was a sharp right-hand turn, and I didnít have a chance. I gave it my all but the rig couldnít handle it. I careered into the wall and was sent spinning in the opposite direction, colliding with the two racers Iíd overtaken not seconds before. I could barely hear my own screams over the sound of cheap metal scraping and groaning under the strain.

I donít remember much after that. I know my agent refused to call me for a few weeks after being hounded by magazines. He felt it was my fault I crashed, and maybe it was. I didnít have to take the opportunity, and he is paid to be biased and pushy after all. Race officials caught wind of my participation in the underground leagues, and letís just say my trophy cabinet is looking a little bare now. Thatís all it was about I think Ė emptiness. I had everything, yet something goaded me into this new and exciting scene I obviously wasnít a part of. I had my fans; many of them still kids and a lot of them were parents who had heard of me back in the glory days. That was when a patterned carpet in a four dollar motel meant something.

So, ten weeks on and Iím recovering. I donít think Iíll race again, but I have my memories. I just wish they didnít feel so hollow now. The last I had heard, that little disaster left the corridor once again empty. I had a feeling that it would go down in the books as the track that was too much even for the professionals. I had that feeling alright, but very few others.

  • Eminence

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 01:03 PM

How the hell you got this idea from the prompt I have no idea. Haha. Some of it's genius. I thought the opening was funny, the references to the magazines and the like, just the whole atmosphere of it, really fun to read. Maybe wish you hadn't sort of hammered the whole 'emptiness' point home at the end, you could've been a little more subtle about that I think, but it was very, very enjoyable regardless.

  • Tyler

    How do you like that? A politically-correct elevator.

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 01:06 PM

I felt similar about the honing in on the theme, but otherwise it was a fine read man. Just the sheer feeling it gave me, it's the sort of thing that could be made into a comedy that I'd enjoy tounge.gif

  • Craig

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 01:06 PM

I was really unsure of how much I should have mentioned the word "emptiness" at the end, or even how much I should have explored the theme. I was afraid of it being too subtle and going over people's heads, but I suppose the word and the picture can work together or separate. I knew most would go down the route of sorrow and misery so I wanted something a little more fun that people could read in between loading their guns and sharpening their knives.

Pablo -___-
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Posted 18 May 2011 - 01:11 AM Edited by Pablo -___-, 18 May 2011 - 01:13 AM.

I didn't like this at all. It's a super normal... text, it's just text written like you were following a guide. It feels like you used a "how to write a story step by step" manual and you tried to add some fancy words to make it look more poetic. There's no life in this, there's no character development. It's pretty much just written chronological events. That's my opinion.
I'm not trying to troll or anything, really.

  • mark-2007

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 02:45 AM

Yeah, damnit Craig, why'd you make it so super normal? You picked such a blindingly obvious topic. I mean, carpet racing man! What could be more super normal? Boring! If everyone picked something so tremendously boring then we would have had 10 entries about carpet racing, and maybe another about some other equally boring thing like washing dishes. And the chronology - what's with that!? When I read a story, I want it to begin at the end and then switch to the start and then go back in time before skipping a couple years forward so that, come the end (or start, if you're doing it right), I feel like I've just watched all the episodes of Lost in one sitting and lost all mental capacity. One, final issue was the fancy words. Who d'you think you are? Charles Dickens!? Where do you get off!? I'll take a few examples...

QUOTE (J.R.R. Tolkien or some sh*t)
"I was reluctant" ... "technique" ... "was pretty daunting" ... "take the opportunity"

Reluc-who? Oppor-what now? I don't want to have to think as I read a story! Do you expect me to carry a dictionary with me everywhere I go? Quite frankly, I fall asleep after the first syllable of most words so I found it hard work getting through this verbose, chronological snooze-fest.

  • Craig

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 04:23 PM

Beautiful. I couldn't be happier with the way that went.

I had him banned because he didn't like my story.

Don't mess.

user posted image

*I didn't really.

-_- Pablo
  • -_- Pablo

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 01:17 AM

It's funny, a retard wins a contest cause he's a moderator and all the retards vote for him because they are afraid. How sweet. Read a book once in your lives, you guys, seriously. This sh≠it you write is not literature.

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