6

Seal City High School Final Exams – Part 2

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Where we are: It’s finals time at Seal City High School. The seal with the highest score will get a scholarship to the local college. Sandy wants to win it, but Jeremy has some secret plan to finish first. Sandy followed him home and discovered that the secret might be some drink that his mother is giving him.

Jeremy: What if Sandy does win? She’s a nice girl, and she needs that scholarship. I might not even go to college.

Mom: That’s not the point. You can win, and you’re going to.

Jeremy: I need to lie down for a little while.

Mom: Sorry, honey. You only have a week until finals. Drink this.

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Jeremy took the container and looked at it.

Mom: Go ahead. You know it goes down better if you do it fast.

Jeremy: What’s in this stuff anyway?

Mom: I don’t know. Something to make your muscles grow. Just drink it and make your father happy.

Sandy swam away. Jeremy didn’t have a new way of exercising; he was drinking something. He was cheating! But he was only doing what his father told him to do. Jeremy didn’t even know what he was drinking. Was that still cheating?

It sounded like Jeremy didn’t know what he was doing. And it seemed like he didn’t want to do it at all. And it was making him sick. What a mess! What should she do?

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Sandy was sure that he was drinking some kind of human protein or hormone. She had read about humans taking them to get bigger muscles. Jeremy wasn’t going to look like that, was he? She didn’t think that humans with huge muscles were all that attractive. What would a seal look like?

If she told the school, Jeremy would get kicked out. If she told Jacki, everyone would know. That would be too embarrassing. Besides, someone would turn him in.

Maybe she should talk to Jeremy. If he knew he was cheating, he’d want to stop. She knew he was competitive, but she was sure he wouldn’t want to win by cheating.

But he didn’t want to cheat, his father did. Besides, how would she explain how she found out? She had been spying on him.

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When she arrived at the pool, Jacki was waiting for her. They practiced for a few hours, but Sandy couldn’t concentrate.

What was that stuff? How sick was it making Jeremy? She knew she couldn’t win if Jeremy cheated. But she couldn’t turn him in either.

Finals were taken over two days. The weather was perfect; cool and sunny. The first day, the students would be tested on speaking, fishing, and swimming.

As expected, Sandy excelled in the speaking. Everyone was doing well, but she stayed on top. Jeremy spoke last. There was something wrong. He was speaking too quickly and couldn’t stay on topic.

Jeremy fished first. It was a timed test. He came back with 25 fish, completely crushing the old record of 18. Sandy had 16. Normally, she would have been happy with the score, but she knew that she was going to be no match for Jeremy.

Sandy started to cry. It was so unfair! She couldn’t fight whatever his father had given Jeremy.

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Sandy had always been a faster swimmer than Jeremy. But he beat here without showing any effort that day. Sandy watched him, dejected.

But when Jeremy got back on land, he started to vomit. He couldn’t seem to stop. Sandy watched in horror. Was that stuff making him so sick?

Jeremy’s mother was crying and yelling at her husband. The emergency medical team took him to the hospital.

The next morning, the students gathered to take the last two tests. Jeremy wasn’t there. Ms. Hopper, one of their teachers spoke to them.

Ms. Hopper: Jeremy won’t be joining us today; he’s extremely sick. He was given something created for humans meant to make him do better on his finals. Apparently, the party responsible didn’t bother to find out if this substance would hurt a seal.

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Sandy: Is Jeremy going to be OK?

Ms. Hopper: Yes. Luckily, they were able to stop the poison.

Sandy: So, he gets to graduate with us?

Ms. Hopper: Yes. Obviously, he won’t be competing for the scholarship. But his previous work qualifies him for graduation. Now let’s finish testing.

Graduation night.

Jeremy’s parents helped him to his seat. He looked like he had lost all his fat. His fur was dull and patchy. The other seals gathered around to see if they could help.

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Sandy: I’m glad you’re going to be OK.

Jeremy: Thanks, Sandy. And congratulations on winning the scholarship. I’m really happy for you.

Sandy: Do you have any plans?

Jeremy: After this happened, I decided I want to be a nurse. The ones at the hospital were so awesome.

Over the speakers: Everyone please be seated so we can begin.

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6

Seal City High School Final Exams

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It was only 2 weeks until the end of the school year and Sandy Seal was preparing for final exams. It was here last year of school, and she wanted to finish well. The top student would get a full scholarship to the local college.

That was the only way Sandy could fulfill her dream of being a teacher. There were three younger pups still at home, and her parents didn’t have the extra money. If she went to work, she might never get back to school.

Sandy was a good student, and her only real competition was Jeremy. He was a seal from a very rich family. His father sold fish to the local hotel, and they paid very well. Needless to say, Jeremy was used to getting what he wanted.

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She knew that she could win the speaking competition. Jeremy would win the fishing test. She was a fast swimmer, but he could dive deeper. That only left the obstacle course.

It was a test of skill and speed. There were hoops to swim through and objects to go over, under, and around. It was hard, and no one knew how it would be put together until the day of the race.

Sandy practiced every day with her best friend, Jacki. Jacki wasn’t as fast as Jeremy, but she was very good with the obstacles. Jacki watched Sandy practice with the obstacles, and helped her improve her time getting around them.

As far as anyone could see, Jeremy wasn’t practicing at all. Sandy couldn’t understand it. Was he working at night? Sandy was getting nervous. Why didn’t he have to practice? Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore.

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Sandy: Hey, Jeremy.

Jeremy: Hey, Sandy. What’s up?

Sandy: Haven’t seen you around the pool much. I thought maybe we could work out together. Not much time before finals.

Jeremy: I’d love to Sandy, but I’m not really working out this year. I have a new trainer and a whole new training regimen.

Sandy: Really? What are you doing?

Jeremy: It’s kind of top-secret. But it’s really working.

Sandy: What’s the big secret?

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Jeremy: It wouldn’t be much of a secret if I told you.

Sandy: I guess not. So, you’re just not doing any practice before finals?

Jeremy: I told you. I’m using my new process.

Sandy: So where did you find this super-secret process?

Jeremy looked around to see if anyone was listening.

Jeremy: I’m not supposed to tell, but my dad found out about it at the hotel.

Sandy: He got it from the humans?

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Jeremy: Shh! He could get in a lot of trouble.

Sandy: Sorry. But be really careful. Humans do some incredibly stupid things at times.

Jeremy: My dad said the people looked OK. They use it in their “spa”.

Sandy: OK. But if you start slapping us on the back and talking about football, we’re no longer friends.

Jeremy (laughing): Deal.

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Sandy left, but she was worried about Jeremy. Things that got wrapped up with humans never seemed to end well for the seals.  That was how her Aunt Emma ended up in Newfoundland rather than Nome.

Aunt Emma was going to visit a friend and a human told her the “best” way to get there. Aunt Emma was lucky to get back home again.

Sandy wasn’t sure what to do. Jeremy was arrogant, and could be a jerk, but she didn’t want him getting hurt.

After school the next day, Sandy told Jacki that she needed to do something before they practiced. She went to the cove where Jeremy and his family lived. Sandy watched him greet his mother.

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Jeremy: Hi, Mom! How was your day?

Mom: Great, Sweetie! How about you?

Jeremy: Okay. My stomach feels weird, and my head hurts.

Mom: I hope you’re not getting sick.

Jeremy: I don’t think so. I think it’s that stuff Dad got for me to drink. I don’t like it.

Mom: But look how much faster you are since you started using it.

Jeremy: But I was fast before.

Mom: You know that your father can’t stand the idea of you getting beaten by a girl.

Next week: What is he drinking? Is Jeremy getting sick from whatever he’s been drinking?

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

28

2018 Animal Olympics – Week 2

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Riki T. Tavi here. Welcome to our summary of the second and final week of the 2018 Animal Olympics. Of course, the big surprise this week was the withdrawal of the highly favored reindeer team from the Sleigh Pull.

Rumors have swirled that members of the team failed a drug test. The truth is that the “failed” test was a pregnancy test. Roxy, the leader of the team, is going to have a calf in the spring. Animal Olympic rules prohibit participation of pregnant athletes due to the possibility of being kicked.

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The Dall Sheep had their appeal over the conditions of the ski slope rejected, so the standings are unchanged.

The week was full of surprises. Now on to our commentators.

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Harold Hare – Cross Country Tracking

The non-carnivore competition was a real disappointment. First, only four teams qualified for the race. Of course, the snowshoe hares were brilliant in finding the food we had distributed on the track. The beavers fell asleep and missed the race entirely. The squirrel team was fun to watch although their constant playing on the track was somewhat of a distraction.

Gold: Snowshoe Hares; Silver: Squirrels; Bronze: Mice.

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The carnivore competition was much more intense. Generally, the field is all mammals. The birds prefer to compete in the Raptor Grab. However, this year the arctic owls decided to enter the tracking hunt. With nests on the ground and their outstanding hunting skills, they were sure to be a threat.

The arctic foxes weren’t intimidated. They had inspected the field closely and were confident of their abilities. The wolverines had edged the wolves in the semi-finals to get the last spot in the finals.

It was a good fight. Unfortunately for the owls, one of their players got side-tracked by some non-competition prey and was eliminated for leaving the track.

Gold: Arctic Foxes; Silver: Wolverines; Bronze: Arctic Owls.

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Bruno Brown Bear – Ice Hockey

In recent years, the sport has been dominated by the bears. A combination of intelligence and strength has been the key. But this year there was a surprising new challenger. The dogs decided to enter a team of border collies.

The bear teams weren’t concerned. Who ever heard of dogs on ice? They concentrated on their usual threats, the otters and the seals. Both teams were fast, with plenty of experience moving chunks of ice.

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Fans were stunned when the border collies beat the black bears in the semi-finals. The dogs were fast learners and agile on the ice. The final four teams were the brown bears/grizzlies, seals, polar bears, and collies. The match-up between the brown bears and the seals wasn’t close, with the bears winning 6-0.

In the other game, it appears that the polar bears may have gotten a little over-confident. The collies took them to double-overtime and finally won, 2-1. So it was brown bears v. collies for the gold and silver, and seals v. polar bears for the bronze.

Gold: Brown Bears/Grizzlies; Silver: Border Collies; Bronze: Polar Bears.

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Arnie Kestrel – Raptor Grab

As usual, the Raptor Grab was an intense competition. The rules state that the contestants can only score with specially marked fish. However, there is nothing in the rules about taking another competitor’s fish before crossing the line.

A new member of the arctic owl team repeatedly brought back ineligible fish, leaving the team out of the finals. The bald eagles were eliminated when two of their team members lost fish in fights.

The finalists were the red-tailed hawks, the snowy owls, and the golden eagles.

Gold: Snowy Owls; Silver: Golden Eagles; Bronze: Red-Tailed Hawks.

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Rodney Reindeer – Sleigh Pull

As Riki said earlier, the favored reindeer team withdrew at the beginning of the week. As a result, we saw some different competitors joining the now-favored moose in the finals.

The sled dogs decided to field a team this year. Traditionally a strong competitor in the race, the dogs have been sitting out a suspension following that unfortunate incident in 2010. That team turned over the sleigh, but continued to run for a distance. The bears riding inside were dragged along with the sleigh. Once the bears and the dogs were released, there was a terrible fight.

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The final place was taken by the horse team. The horses fielded a good team, but their lack of experience at an elite level showed. It turned into a showdown between the moose and the sled dogs. The dogs had an emotional edge, trying to redeem their reputation. They edged the moose by less than a second.

Gold: Sled Dogs; Silver: Moose; Bronze: Horses.

It’s Riki again. I hope you enjoyed our coverage of the 2018 Animal Olympics. We hope to see you in 2022 when we’ll be covering the Winter Animal Olympics in Beijing.

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18

2018 Animal Olympics – Week 1

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Riki T. Tavi here. Welcome to our summary of the first week of the 2018 Animal Olympics. It’s been an exciting week here. We’ve had thrills and a few surprises. It’s been truly heartwarming to see the carnivores and non-carnivores competing against each other in peaceful surroundings. Now I’ll turn you over to our commentators.

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Margaret Malamute – Freestyle Skiing

Since no equipment is allowed in competition, this event has always been dominated by animals who could run down the hill the fastest. The last three winners were the Dall sheep team. However, this year the seals challenged the definition of “upright”. They argued that upright for them was on their bellies. After much consideration, the Olympic Committee agreed with their argument.

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So the finalists were the Dall Sheep, the reindeer and the seals. The favored sheep ran into a problem almost immediately when one of their runners hit a patch of ice and skidded off the trail. The seals were next. Being their first Olympics, the form was not great. But their speed made up for it. The reindeer were last. They were under pressure to beat the seals using traditional methods. It came down to the last runner, but in the end the reindeer triumphed.

Gold: Reindeer; Silver: Seals; Bronze: Sheep. The sheep plan a challenge based on the conditions of the slope.

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Edie Ermine – Freestyle Sledding

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the seals did not qualify for the finals. The likely explanation is that they spent extra time working on the skiing skills and not enough on the sledding. Regardless, the finalists were the ermine, the penguins, and (surprisingly) the polar bears. The polar bears entered the competition on a dare and were expected to finish at the bottom of the pack.

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The ermine went first, displaying their flawless beauty in the event. The scores were good, but not great. Definitely room for the other teams to score higher. The penguins, apparently sensing victory, were a little careless in their takeoffs and barely edged the ermine. The polar bears went last. Their form was unusual, to say the least. They sat on their butts and held their feet up. Since the only requirement is that competitors maintain the same position from top to bottom, it was an acceptable position. The bears were not attractive going down the hills, but it’s a speed contest.

Gold: Polar Bears; Silver: Penguins; Bronze: Ermine

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Penelope Penguin – Luge

The Luge didn’t really hold many surprises. This fan favorite is a test of speed not form. The sides of the track are expandable so all the animals use the same track.The finalists were the penguins, the polar bears, and the otters. All three teams are experienced, and all performed well. Some minors errors on the track made the difference.

Gold: Otters; Silver: Penguins; Bronze: Polar Bears

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Oscar Otter – Underwater Relay

The otters have been dominant in this event for many years. Swimming quickly around and through posts and rings seems second nature to them. The only real question here was who would get silver and bronze. The finalists were the otters, the penguins, and the seals. The penguins were faster than the seals, but the seals missed fewer obstacles. In a very close finish, the seals beat out the penguins for silver.

Gold: Otters; Silver: Seals; Bronze: Penguins

It’s Riki again. Hopefully, you’ve been watching the actual events online at cheeseland.anm/olympics. Please join us next week for our summary of the remaining events.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images