Lucy Fibbs raised pigs for various different contests. For each competition she entered, someone tried to sabotage her efforts. She really had the worst luck, but it’s nice that she never gave up. I don’t mean just give up entering contests, I mean give up on humanity. Can’t a 10-year-old girl enter her pigs in a contest without someone trying to take her down?
No, apparently not.
This time, her pig Hambone was expected to win the pig racing event at the Farm Progress Show. Encyclopedia and Sally were late getting to the event. On their way into the show, they ran into Chuck Dawson in the parking lot. Dawson was the 19-year-old son of a tobacco farmer. He was near his tobacco-brown motorcycle, smoking a cigar.
Encyclopedia asked Dawson if he had missed the pig race. Dawson said he didn’t know because he had just gotten there himself. He said that his father’s pig, Upset Tummy, was set to race as well. He then flicked a long line of ash off of his cigar and told Encyclopedia that he was concerned that foul play was afoot with the pig race. He didn’t explain why he thought someone would be low enough to cheat at a pig race, but he didn’t need to. It was Idaville. Of course someone was trying to cheat.
As they walked towards the pig race tent, Dawson and Encyclopedia agreed to join forces and keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior.
At the tent, the two detectives found Lucy and Hambone in a staging area stall. They had missed the qualifying race, but not the final race. Lucy explained that Hambone broke a track record and that as the pig with the best time, he will be in the first stall for the final race. She went on to chat about the finer points of pig training. Apparently, it’s not as difficult as one would think – assuming one thinks about pig racing. The pigs race to a trough with a chocolate chip cookie in it, so that’s their motivation for running.
Encyclopedia kept an eye on the other contestants. I’d describe them, but (spoiler alert) it’s not important.
When it was time for the pigs to go into the chute at the starting line, Lucy noticed that Hambone was eager to get into his chute. He normally put up a bit of a fight. When the race started, Hambone was oddly slow getting out of the chute, which cost him the race. Instead, Mrs. Markin’s Fast Fatso won.
Lucy couldn’t accept the fact that maybe Hambone was a bit off for the race. Encyclopedia did some investigation, and he noticed something fishy in the chute. Not literally fishy, by the way. He noticed chocolate on one of the slots in the chute. Someone had slipped a chocolate chip cookie into the chute to distract Hambone. But who?
Well clearly, it was Dawson, because he was the only other person that I mentioned. While everyone was in the staging area, he slipped a cookie into the chute, knowing that it was going to be Hambone’s, in order to give his father’s pig an advantage.
Encyclopedia knew it was Dawson, because when he ran into him in the parking lot, he said he was just getting there. But if he had just gotten there then how did his cigar have such a long line of ash on the end of it? If he had been smoking while riding, the ashes would have blown away. Dawson was actually just about to leave. If he was about to leave, then I don’t get why he felt he had to turn around and go back in with Encyclopedia and Sally.
Encyclopedia told the judges about his suspicion. One of them remembered seeing Dawson in the tent between the races, so they had the pigs race again, which Hambone won.
The shittiness of the quality of the judges in this event was both a blessing and a curse for Lucy. First of all, if the judges were doing their jobs correctly, someone would have been keeping an eye on the track so that no one did anything like slip a cookie into one of the chutes.
And then there’s the fact that they called for a do-over for what seemed like no reason.
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Chuck Dawson cheated. He put a cookie in Hambone’s chute and there was a lot of ashes on his cigar when I saw him in the parking lot.
WHAT A GOOD JUDGE SHOULD HAVE SAID: I’m sorry that your friend’s pig lost, but if you think he cheated, we’re going to need more evidence than that. If Chuck Dawson cheated, then he’s not very good at cheating because his father’s pig didn’t even win. Tell me, if Chuck put a cookie in Hambone’s chute, why wouldn’t he have put one in each of the other pigs’ chutes except for the one with his father’s pig? Don’t be a sore loser. Tell Lucy to try again next year.
WHAT THIS JUDGE SAID: Oh yeah. Now that I think about it, I did see Chuck in the tent, which means you’re probably right. Okay, let’s do this over again.
Also, why did Dawson tip off Encyclopedia that someone was going to cheat when Dawson himself was the one who cheated? Did he want to get caught? Was he proud of the way he sabotaged a little girl’s hopes of having her pig win a race? Because that sounds kind of pathetic, even by Idaville standards.