Cicero Sturgess had a surefire plan of giving his acting career the perfect jolt it needed. He was going to finish last in the Idaville Marathon. I’m going to use a racing metaphor and say that I have a problem with this one right out of the gate.
How would finishing last get any attention? There was no mention of past last-place finishers getting any fame, so why would anyone notice that this 10-year-old finished last? If I heard that a 10-year-old finished a marathon in last place, my reaction wouldn’t be, “Wow, what a tough kid,” it would be “who the hell let that kid run a marathon?”
I’ve looked this up. Children don’t seem to be allowed to run the New York Marathon, but children are allowed to run the Los Angeles Marathon. According to the International Medical Directors Association, children shouldn’t be competing in them. There are concerns about the race leading to problems with the child’s growth plates and the psychological effects of training on such an intense race.
But this is Idaville where children’s health and welfare take a back seat to things like cheating.
Encyclopedia and Sally watched Cicero cross the starting line. A couple of hours later, they saw him at around the seven-mile mark with two other runners. After seeing a movie, eating and whatever else there is to do in Idaville, the two detectives ended up at the Idaville Concert Hall, which was about a mile from the finish line. The concert hall was advertising a show put on by the Railroad Brotherhood Band. The music seemed to have been piped out to the runners and the spectators. Since Cicero was going to be a while, the two decided to go in.
They had read on the programs that the band would be performing a medley of the state songs. Sally mentioned that one of the songs sounded a lot like I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, but was listed as Eyes of Texas. Encyclopedia explained that they had the same tune. Of course, this information will not come up again, so let’s move along to the end of the race.
Encyclopedia, Sally, a few race officials and a television news crew waited at the finish line as Cicero, seemingly the last runner, approached the finish line. He finished at a time of over seven hours, which is actually not that terrible of a time. I went to Google to find out what the average walking speed is, and I found that people say it’s anywhere from three to four miles per hour. It would take someone nearly eight hours to walk three miles per hour. The slowest time recorded in the 2012 Los Angeles Marathon was over ten hours, so the fact that everyone finished the Idaville Marathon in under eight hours seems somewhat impressive, if not completely unbelievable.
Cicero was hamming it up for all of the attention he was receiving for some reason when another runner appeared to be approaching the finish line. It was tenth-grader Millicent Potter. She said that she was surprised to hear that she was the last runner and that she didn’t even expect to finish, but she was inspired when she heard Eyes of Texas outside of the Idaville Concert Hall.
She explained that the music inspired her because music was her life. She wanted to become a singer after high school, but catching a break was so difficult. So yeah, Millicent was also under the impression that finishing last in a marathon would somehow give her career a boost. Where are these kids getting this idea? This makes absolutely no sense.
Millicent went so far to cheat to become the last runner. How do we know she cheated? Two reasons: 1) It’s Idaville and since no one seemed to cheat to get into first place (that we know of), someone must have cheated to get into last. 2) She explained that the Eyes of Texas inspired her. Normally, if someone were to hear a band named the Railroad Brotherhood Band play that tune, they would assume it was I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. The only reason why Encyclopedia and Sally knew it was Eyes of Texas was because that’s what was listed on the program.
That means that Millicent must have gone inside to watch the show to kill time before “finishing” the race. Or there could be other explanations, like that she knows her state songs and must have heard Eyes of Texas in the mix of other state songs.
If the former was correct, then she should be disqualified for not actually running the race.
Why do the racing officials not know if someone ducked out of the race only to re-enter it later. I don’t know the first thing about being a marathon official, but it would seem like a good idea to hang back behind the last person. Not to make sure someone doesn’t just re-enter the race to undeservedly receive the glory and career boosts that come with finishing a marathon last. No, I would think that the people in the back of the marathon would be the ones most likely to suffer some sort of injury and would be in need of some sort of medical help.
Millicent admitted to running the first two miles, dropping out and then re-entering it to run the last mile and was disqualified, making Cicero the rightful last-place finisher.
I suppose after that, talent agents rang his phone off the hook because everyone knows that finishing last in a marathon and acting ability go hand-in-hand.