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Jousting Festival 2019 Writing Contest: A Day at the Fair

A Day at the Fair
By: Dreki

The day was finally here. He had done extra chores around the house to earn his very first
allowance. Corey had, in little over a month, amassed an entire $100 in furcurrency. Furrency? He
wasn’t sure. The point was – he had money. Why had he busied himself? Why, to go to the Foxberry
Festival of course! He wanted to see the jousts, he wanted to eat something good, and most
importantly… he wanted to win a prize that was so amazing, so shiny, so totally cool, that he could
finally have something GREAT to bring to show and tell. All of the other boys would be so green they’d
be plants, and all of the girls would stop calling him a coodie-monster and maybe, just maybe, people
would talk to him instead of running away. It wasn’t his fault he had teeth that were almost an inch
long! It wasn’t his fault that his hide was scaly and shiny! He certainly didn’t ask to be hatched a
crocodile, but here he was anyways.
But he was determined! He would prevail! He’d hold his head up high (but not for too long,
since he could barely see past his snout when he did that) and make friends! His older sister, Coraline,
was lovely. She’d won the fur idol at least twice, her shiny gold trophies a constant envy. She had lots of
friends, and was very kind… even beautiful. Corey had always thought himself cute, but the other
children in his classroom certainly thought otherwise. Mrs. Choy, their teacher, had simply said he was a
late flower. He didn’t want to be a late flower. Corey got up early, brushed his teeth, put on his best
clothes, and pushed the chair from his desk over to the window. His mother had said not to leave
without his sister – but Coraline would understand. He needed to embark on this adventure alone! He
was a big boy. All five years of him! From tip to tail, he was the biggest boy in his classroom! And not just
because he loved to eat sweets. It took a good five minutes to get himself wiggled out of the window,
and he landed right in the tomato bushes in his mother’s garden. Fortunately, he was a tough young lad!
His clothes weren’t even dirty. He carefully closed the window and righted the plants.
“Sorry. I’ll give you extra water later.” He patted the leaves, and shuffled around the side of the house.
His grandfather glanced up from the paper, spying his grandson’s snout poking around the corner.
Cornelius Quip was a distinguished crocodilian. He rose every morning with the sun and basked,
then he took his breakfast on the porch and read the paper. His grandson was outgoing and youthful…
and apparently ready to get himself into all manner of trouble. He watched Corey peer around the
corner, before crawling out from behind the bushes and down the yard. If the boy hadn’t been giggling
the whole time, he might have even been sneaky. Cornelius kept his paper up, watching over the edge,
as his grandson approached the sidewalk and stood, sprinting off towards the bus stop with glee. He
chuckled and stood, folding his paper and heading inside to let his daughter-in-law know he’d be
accompanying Corey to the fair today. Serpent knew his granddaughter could use a break from
babysitting for the day.

Corey paid the bus fare (exact change, the gentlemanly way) and picked a seat close to the
front. He wanted to be the first one off the bus, the first one to find the best game with the best prizes,

and win one. He didn’t know what it would be, but he knew it would be the best. He hoped it was a cool
sword, or a horse. Maybe he’d even meet a real knight and get them to come in for show and tell! He
daydreamed as he sat on the bus, swinging his feet and imagining what kinds of prizes would be at the
Festival. He hadn’t been allowed to go last year – he’d been too little. But it didn’t matter, because he
was going THIS YEAR and NOBODY could stop him. Well. Maybe Mayor Ana could. She was scary-cool.
He hummed and counted the scales on his knees to pass the time. The bus made a few more stops,
before it pulled off towards Olde Foxberry. Why was it called Foxberry? What WAS a fox berry? These
were important things to consider, while traveling. He was so consumed with thinking about foxes and
how they could make berries, that he didn’t even notice his grandfather had sat in the chair behind him.
Cornelius chuckled softly, shaking his head at his grandson. He supposed he could keep an eye on him at
a distance – it was important to keep an eye on your children while also fostering an independent spirit.
Crocodilians were respectable folk, he doubted anyone would wish to tango with his jaws (or his
grandsons for that matter). The bus continued along, picking up a few more festival-goers between the
Soon enough, they had arrived at the Olde Foxbury Festival grounds. Corey bounced off of the
bus and began to head towards the bulk of the festival. After a moment, he located a guide booth and
picked up a map… the festival was big! But he would find the games, and the food, and maybe if he had
money left over, he would buy his sister something nice. The boy hummed and turned the map this way
and that, before he found the right way to hold it. According to the map, the games were on the other
side, past the Tournament field. He had to walk through the merchant stalls and the bathrooms to get
there. Folding the map, he adjusted his backpack straps and headed off. His grandpa followed close
behind, at least a tail’s length from his grandson. Cornelius followed Corey through the merchant stalls
and down alongside where the Tourney and Joust were being held. The boy stopped to watch, as any
child would, for several long minutes as the contestants tussled in the arena. Down below, a dark-
colored and armor-clad saggitauri faced off against a deer in blue robes; armed only with a chipmunk
and a book. The fight was ended shortly, though Cornelius didn’t really think the deer did much – the
chipmunk seemed to do all of the work. How such a tiny creature could bring down a formidable foe, he
couldn’t understand. Corey bounded off shortly after, and he didn’t have time to think more about it.
The aged croc kept a close tab on his grandson, watching him as he meandered towards the games.

Corey puffed up. He had finally arrived! But there were already several other furries here,
playing games and winning stuff. He decided to wander around and pick out the best prizes. To his
surprise, many of the games were relatively cheap! About $5 a play, and some three plays for $10. He
rubbed the underside of his chin, tipping his long snout down to do so. He always thought it made him
look smarter. A lot of the games looked fun, but the harder games had the best prizes. He wandered
over to an empty bench, and sat down to think more about it. Hanging high from one of the stalls, was a
lovely golden crown, ringed with little glittering emeralds. That was his favorite, but it was a dart game.
He wasn’t tall enough to play. The next prize he saw that he liked… was a pair of fluttery fairy wings that
came with a matching flower crown. He really liked those, but not as much as the crown. That game was
something he figured he could do, knocking milk jugs down with a ball. The final prize was from some
kind of bowling game. The prize there was a wand and wizard hat! They were his favorite colors, silver
and teal. If he couldn’t win the crown, he’d go for the wizard stuff. If he couldn’t win either of those

then he for sure could win the fairy set. Resolved to his plan of action, he hopped up and made his way
to the first stall.
Cornelius had watched his grandson deliberate and had also kept an eye on all of the games.
They all seemed to be run by somewhat sketchy characters, almost identical hyenas who must be part of
a carnival family. Child after child played at the games, though sometimes they only won smaller prizes,
hidden behind the better ones. He followed behind Cory as he approached the first game – darts.
“Excuse me, sir.” The boy said, barely tall enough to make it to the counter.
“Yeah?” The hyena asked, leaning down.
“If I use a stool, would you let me play?” Corey asked. He sat a $10 bill on the counter. The hyena eyed
it, and nodded. He took the stool he’d been sitting on a moment before and sat it down on the other
side of the counter, before laying three darts down.
“The sign says five darts for ten dollars.” Cornelius said, with a toothy smile. The hyena flashed a
nervous grin back at him, and sat down two more darts.
“Oh! Thank you!” Corey ambled up onto the stool, carefully picking up the first dart.
POP! The balloon exploded. Excited by how well that went, Corey picked up the second dart.
POP! He wobbled with excitement on the stool. He didn’t know he was so good at darts! The third dart
and fourth dart also hit the balloons, and he was super excited! He could win the crown! Corey took a
few breaths to steady himself before throwing the last dart.
He let out a whoop, and pointed to the crown.
“Uh, you can’t… uh… have that prize.” The hyena said. Cornelius stared him down.
“Why not? It says if you hit the balloons, you win the prize.”
“Th… that’s a big prize, kid. It only goes for people who play the ten-dollar game.”
“… I did. You gave me five darts.” Corey frowned.
“No. I gave you three. The other two were already sitting on the counter, and I let you throw those too.”
“Aw. Okay. Well. If I come back, and play the ten-dollar game, will you let me have the crown?”
“Suuure.” Cornelius squinted hard at the hyena. His grandson wandered off to the next game, run by a
slightly more chipper hyena. While Corey made sure to ask her to carefully explain all of the rules of the
milk jug game to him, Cornelius leaned in very close to the booth-hyena.
“That was not very nice of you.”
“…. L-look, I don’t want any trouble.”
“Then you had better think very carefully about what you’ve done. I may be old, son, but I know a
cheater when I see one. Shame on you, stealing money from a child.” He leaned away, but the hyena
certainly looked shaken up. He followed after his grandson.
“Okay, sweetie. When you throw the ball, aim for the lower jugs in the tower. If you knock down a
whole tower, you get a big prize!” This hyena was nicer, and Cornelius hoped she’d treat his grandson
“Thank you! And... how many balls do I get?” Corey asked.
“You get five throws for $10.” She said, sweetly. At least this one knew what the sign said, unlike her
brother. The boy laid out the money and she supplied him with the balls. Corey thanked her again and
picked up the first ball. He threw it as hard as he could, hitting the middle jug in the pyramid. It wobbled,

but didn’t fall. Cornelius frowned. The second ball flew, and knocked the top jug off of the stack, but the
rest stayed still.
“You’re doing great! Try again.” The hyena cheered, clapping. Corey nodded and tried the third ball. It
knocked the two jugs beneath the first one down, but the second row and bottom ones barely moved.
“You can do it! You have two more throws!” The hyena, while nicer than her brother… but he had a
feeling this game was rigged too.
“Try the bottles on the bottom edges first.” Cornelius suggested. Corey nodded, and flung the fourth
ball. It knocked the corner bottle off, toppling half of the tower. But the middle bottle stubbornly stayed.
“Great throw! Just try to knock that other one down!” By now a small crowd had gathered to watch.
Corey rolled the ball between his paws, frowning. If he missed this, then he’d have to really try hard at
the last game. Finally, he wound up, just like his dad had showed him that one time they’d played ball.
He threw the ball as hard as he possibly could, so hard his tail thumped the ground and his backpack
jostled. There was a heavy THUNK as the ball struck the jug… which tilted backwards.
“Hey! That jug’s screwed to the board!” One of the furries in the crowd yelled.
“You give that kid his prize!” Cried another.
“Oh! My goodness! I… honestly did not know that it was rigged. My father set these up.” The hyena
huffed, shaking her head.
“What color would you like your fairy wings, sweetie?” She asked, turning to Corey with a dazzling smile.
“Yellow! Please.” He was excited, even if he would have won. Maybe the bottles were stuck on by
accident? He didn’t know. The attendant pulled down the fairy wings and flower crown, handing it over.
He took them carefully, with a smile.
“I had a lot of fun at your game, and you’re much nicer than the guy at the darts.”
“Aww… yeah… Randal can be a meanie. I hope you have fun anyway!” She patted his head, not afraid of
his teeth at all! Corey decided she was very nice. Cornelius said nothing to her, instead leaving her to
deal with the crowd of parents angrily demanding refunds. Poor girl.
He turned around and began to look at the other games. He technically had a good prize – one
of the three he’d decided upon! That was pretty good, all things considered. Carefully, Corey shrugged
his backpack and put his fairy set inside. He supposed it was alright… He won something and didn’t even
spend more than $20… wait. Corey frowned. He’d spent twenty. He should have won that crown! The
young croc thumped his tail on the ground and turned, stomping back over to Randal’s stall. A cheater!
Randal was a big, mean, cheat! The hyena saw him coming, and grimaced.
“You… you!!” He didn’t think he’d ever felt so mad in his short life! Corey stopped at the other side.
“Uh, hey kid! Sorry, we’re uh. We’re closed.”
“You lied! You cheated!” Corey wailed, snapping his jaws.
“But worst of all you stoled! You stole five whole money from me!” He was so upset, he could cry… but
he didn’t. Behind him, Cornelius picked up his grandson’s backpack and headed over to the stall.
Another small crowd was gathering.
“I – I didn’t! You can’t prove it.”
“Are you calling my grandson a liar? I watched him hand you the money. You gave him five darts, and he
won. Then you said he hadn’t won the crown and lied about the darts.” Cornelius shouldered the tiny
backpack. Corey jumped, finally noticing his grandpa. Had he been there the whole time?!
“Y-yeah! You either gimmie my change an let me try again, or you gimmie my crown!”
“What’s the alternative?” Randal asked, grimacing.
“I’ll BITE you!” Corey snapped his jaws again, for emphasis.

“Oh, I’m sooo scared.” Randal sighed… staring off into the distance. Cornelius squinted hard. Teens
could be so rebellious. Corey huffed, and puffed, and then he got an idea. An amazing, awesome,
righteous idea!
“If you don’t give my change, or let me have my prize, I’ll go to the Joust and get Mayor Ana to come
and beat you up.”
“Wh… what….?!” Randal stared, wide-eyed.
“Yeah!! I’ll cry, and she’ll definitely come and beat you up! And then you’ll be grounded! Forever!”
Corey wiggled his claws at the hyena, for emphasis. By now, Randal had noticed the crowd starting to
“Okay, wow. Uh. No trouble. Look, you were a really good aim, okay? Here. I’ll give you a crown. What
“You’ve made the right choice today, Mister Randal. I would like the green and gold one, pretty please.”
Corey puffed out his chest and held his head high.
“Y-yeah. Sure.” Randal stood on his stool and pulled the green crown down, setting it atop Corey’s head.
“And I’m sorry, for, uh, being mean earlier. It’s just. I have to sit here, all day, and everyone’s having fun
but I don’t get to, because I have to run the dart game.” Randal scrubbed his paws through his short
“It’s a nightmare.” Corey could understand that at least. He nodded, feeling regal wearing his new
“I’ll bring you something then, if you promise to be good the rest of the day. Okay?” The croc said,
tapping a claw on his cheek. He had an idea.
“Sure. Alright, yeah. It’ll just get worse if I have a crap attitude.” Randal sat down on his stool and leaned
on the counter. Corey nodded and turned, remembering just then that his grandpa had SOMEHOW
snuck up on him!! Cornelius bent down and scooped his grandson up, heading for the food court. An
adventure that big was sure to leave a boy hungry.
“Have you been there the whole day?” He asked, half-way through a whip-cream tipped churro.
“I saw you at the bus stop.” Cornelius replied, letting Corey think he’d snuck that far.
“I realized you might be going to the fair, and wanted to go with you… but you seemed so set on having
an adventure, so I stayed back. You did a very good job today.” The aging crocodile patted his
grandson’s back affectionately.
“I told your mother I was taking you before leaving the house. But Corey, you really shouldn’t threaten
to bite people when you can’t get your way.”
“… am I in trouble?”
“No. I know you want to throw your weight around. I was the same when I was your age. But
threatening to bite people, will only make them more afraid of you. Or in Randal’s case… they will just
scoff because you will get in more trouble for biting them, than they would get in trouble for doing
things they shouldn’t.” Cornelius shrugged, and ate his churro in one bite. He preferred funnel cake.
“Yeah. The kids at school don’t really seem to like me much. I’m the only croc there.” Corey adjusted his
crown and took a careful bite of his churro. Nom.
“Once they see past your teeth, I’m sure they will become your friends. You just need to be patient.”
“Or get a really cool prize at the festival.” Corey had two! He would have ALL of the friends! Cornelius
laughed and nodded.

“I suppose that would work too. Come on, let’s get Randal a drink and something to eat. He’s the only
one of his siblings in a booth, after all.” They both decided lemonade and a Squeakherd’s pie was the
way to go. Everyone loved Squeakheard’s Pie! It was Mayor Minstrel’s biggest contribution to dinner
tables everywhere.
“Randal!” Corey called, running over. The hyena jumped, wide-eyed, but seemed surprised to see Corey
come back.
“We got you, Churros, and we got Lemons aides, and we got you a Squeakherd’s pie!” He sat the bag of
take-away boxes on the counter.
“I... wow. You really got me something. I didn’t think you actually would.” The hyena smiled, digging
through the bag and taking the lemonade from Cornelius excitedly.
“Uh, yeah. I said I would and so I did! Besides. You promised you’d be good.” Corey replied.
“You’re a really good kid, you know? Not everyone would care.”
“Well, sometimes I have to sit out on the fun too… so I know it can be really boring to do that. I always
feel better when I eat! So I thought, maybe, you’d feel better too.”
“… Thanks. I really mean it. And I really am sorry for earlier.”
“I forgive you. You were just mad cause you had to do this instead of having fun. But, you know, I bet it
is fun to give people prizes, and be excited when they win.” Corey grinned. Randal snorted, before
“You know what, maybe you’re right. I’ll give that a shot.” The hyena pulled out a churro and took a big
bite. Cornelius took Corey’s hand and they both said goodbye.
“Have fun, Randal!” He called, as they walked away.
“Thanks! You too!”
“So… did you have fun today?” Cornelius asked, later on the bus. They’d strolled around the merchant’s
area for half an hour, picking up gifts from the day for the rest of the family. He glanced down to make
sure Corey wasn’t ignoring him… but the little croc had fallen asleep! Cornelius chuckled and carefully
adjusted the crown on his grandson’s head.
“We did have a big day, didn’t we? An adventure at the fair and a new friend. I would be tuckered out
too.” They rode the bus in silence all the way home, pleased with the day out.