Riding the Turdle
It is one of the centre points of Meridell culture, with similarity to the overall effect of Poogle Racing. It has the underlying values that depict the Meridellian lifestyle and the enchantment of the “slow and steady wins the race” philosophy. It is... Turdle Racing.
Turdle Racing originated in the deepest, darkest parts of Meridell, among the street ruffians wanting to make a quick Neopoint or two. They would chalk a circle with about four rings (at this stage) and then head out to “borrow” the turdles from the local petpet shop. With special Meridellian treats, the contestants would be lured out of the middle circle to the edge of the final ring. The winning turdle would be rewarded with food, and the winning bets would be rewarded with Neopoints! This sport often angered simple townspeople, as often the turdles would become restless and start hunting for further replenishment. This hobby soon became popular with the small Neopets throughout Meridell, but it was just a matter of time before the big boys got their guns out (so to speak).
The sport of Turdle Racing as we know it today is considerably different from the way it used to be played. For example, in the “old days” the turdles would be painted different colours to differentiate between certain turdles with similar markings. The betting was slightly different too; there were no odds, just a straight double or nothing bet. However, the basic principles remain; five turdles race and the first turdle to the edge wins.
Each of the turdles is different, with different backgrounds, names and families. Although they are supposedly numbered by ability, Number One has been known to be defeated by Number Five on numerous occasions.
With effortless grace and terrifying speed unbecoming of a turdle, Number One has an outstanding reputation, which he says, “I owe it all to my excellent family life. My grandparent, my pet and my petpetpet all contribute to my success on the track.” N1 originated from the dunes of the Lost Desert, formed by the electrification of sand from the mighty Coltzan. As he wandered through the Neopian worlds, he came upon Meridell and saw several others of his kind – he had not realised that there were other petpets who resembled his appearance. N1 loves to be called Nelly, but hates it when Neopians liken him to Nelly the Elephante.
Never has a turdle consumed so much in so little time with so much fat. Turdle Number Two has no problem with the fat involved in Blueberry Burgers. After a difficult upbringing, NoToo (as she likes to be known) is devoid of all sense of rules and regulations. However, the only things that she conforms to are the rules of Turdle Racing. It is her life, her way of supporting her greedy family. Her adoptive pet was abusive towards her, and she was never allowed to meet anyone to adopt a petpetpet with. Her grandparent ignored the neglect but had both eyes open when the family realised NoToo’s potential. They began to enroll her in racing courses and educate her about the rules of the race. They became so interested in her that she forgot all about the mistreatment that they had shown her in previous years. Yet, on her first race, when she came only second, she was thrown out by her family, but still forced to pay dues to them to repay them for their “kindness” that they had shown her before they abandoned her. As she was taught from a young age how worthless she was, she began to comfort eat, ballooning in epic proportions, then beginning fad diets before each race to shrink to a manageable size.
Number Three does not deserve as much praise as NoToo, as she was born into the world of Turdle Racing. She was the petpetpet of one of the turdles who were first stolen from the petshop. She has become the median range for the turdles, the number three out of five. However, she is anything but median in ability. While Nelly is often faster, Fre-fre has many brilliant victories under her... shell. The most famous of all was her guest appearance in Tyrannia to help gather more crowds for the Tyrannian Concert Hall. The turnout increased by 32% and was publicised excessively by the Neopian Times. Because of the media coverage, the win by Fre-fre was largely more astonishing. When questioned about her family life, it was discovered that Fre-fre has a loving pet mother and is expecting to adopt a petpetpet soon, with a friend.
The most threatening turdle to NoToo is officially known as Number Four. However in the relaxed interview conducted by the Neopian Times, she preferred to be addressed as Chalki, explaining her choice by the fact that she always wipes the chalk away from the finish line when she wins. She inherited this habit from her adoptive father, the Poogle Racer (back in the day). Her race today is highly publicised, as she has recently completed a gruelling training course with the Techo Master, her idol. She yelled into the microphone at the Tyrannian Concert Hall, “Neopia, prepare to be amazed. Everyone has their time, and the next race WILL be mine!” She is incredibly confident in her new training program, obviously.
The last but not... anyway, the last official turdle is Number Five, or alternatively, Flyah. He is the stinky one of the group, with rare showers and an enormously large number of baked beans consumed each meal time. Unfortunately for his family, he will not change his habits, contrary to the opinionated comics in the Neopian Times. He has one his share of races, but they are distinctly outnumbered by his increasing amount of losses. However, he soldiers on, determined not to lose his place in the top five turdles.
As the fanfare begins, the turdles arrive gracefully aboard the dark Lenny that carries them. They disembark to tumultuous applause and begin to crawl around the rings, reveling in the glory bestowed upon them. The stadium erupts and screams out the name of their favourite turdle – NoToo – and the thunder of shouts resonates throughout Meridell – nobody is unable to identify the distinct sound of the Turdle Racing furor. The contestants begin with the customary wiping down with the Turdle towel. After this ceremony, they inch into the centre ring and await the starting whistle. At the blast of noise, the Turdles are off, the commentator starts the mindless babbling and the audience erupts into chaos. The first turdle falls back – aha, the seemingly relentless Nelly is out of the game. Another turdle drops off every ring, until the last two remain – Number Four and the beloved NoToo. It is shell on shell, they are both in the running, the tension is heightening... until the warped sound of a bell announces the winner – alas, Number Four wins the race.