Bubba T. Bulldog to be exact. The T stood for Tenacious.
Now Bubba T. liked nothing better than to cover his head and relax in the cool mud-baths in the swamp.
But there was a jackrabbit named Jack (Oh, no, not because he was a jackrabbit. That would just be too corny. The truth is, he’d peeked into the human’s house up on the hill and watched Pirates of Caribbean and he fancied himself a lot like Jack Sparrow. But he drew the line at being called a sparrow, so he was just Jack.)
Well, Jack boasted that he could run faster than anyone else in the swamp and teased Bubba T. all the cotton-pickin’ time for being so slow. Fact is, Bubba T. liked being slow. He liked taking his time getting to wherever he was going, but Jack was, well…Jack, and he wouldn’t let it go.
One day, big ol’ lumbering Bubba T. stuck out his bull-headed neck, squinted his beady little black eyes at Jack and growled, “Yeah, you’re fast, Jackie-boy, but even you can be beaten.”
Jack choked on his collard greens. “Beaten in a race? By who? You? There’s nobody in this swamp, not even in the whole wide world, who can win against me.”
Enough was enough and Bubba T. accepted Jack’s challenge, even though he wanted to crawl back in his shell. Not because he didn’t think he could win, but because he needed another nap. And, Lord have mercy on the swamp, what would he do if his shell dried out while he was out there inching along in a futile race against a cocky jackrabbit pirate wannabe?
Oh well, nothing for it now. He’d stuck his claw in it, and he’d finish this race or broil in his shell for trying. He wasn’t called Bubba T. Bulldog for nothing. (T. is for tenacious, btw.)
The course was planned, but Jack being Jack, he spent the entire night carousing with the lady rabbits (Ahoy mate, those were some foxy rabbits!), but like the speedy jackrabbit he is, he made it to the starting line just in time, even if he was a little wobbly on his paws.
The owl hooted, and Bubba T. gave Jack his best Clint Eastwood glare (The original story said the tortoise was meek. Not our loggerhead turtle! Ha!) and lumbered off at a…well, at a turtle’s pace. What did you expect? A miracle?
Jack’s head spun from a night of swamp rum and pretty little swampchicks (Wait, swamp-girl-rabbits. Whatever.), but already he could tell this race was going to be as easy as stealing carrots from the farmer’s field during a Yankees game, (like falling off a gangplank, mate!) so he decided to take a quick little nap. There would be plenty of time to get to the finish line before Bubba T.
Jack woke with a start. Heart pounding, he raced down the dusty path, but there was Bubba T. plodding along, not getting much of anywhere, it seemed. Relieved, Jack took a turn into Jill Rabbit’s little swamp dive for a dram of swamp rum and a bite of cabbage and carrot stew. The music, the conversation, and the rum lulled him to sleep again. But no worries. He had plenty of time to catch up with Bubba T.
The sun started to sink below the horizon, and Bubba T., who had been plodding towards the winning post since morning, was scarcely a yard from the finish.
At that very point, Jack woke with a jolt. He could see Bubba T. a speck in the distance and away he dashed. He leapt and bounded at a great rate, his tongue lolling, and gasping for breath. Just a little more and he’d be first. He bunched his hind legs and leapt for the finish line…
The race between the tenacious loggerhead and the swift and powerful jackrabbit comes up every week (Jack’s doing, no doubt) in Jill Rabbit’s café (she calls it a coffee bar now) and the end result is always the same, much to Jack’s annoyance.
Half the swamp animals side with Jack, praising his speed, his cunning, and his ability to get to the goal quicker than lightening. And they’re slightly jealous of the leaping strides he made while doing it.
The rest stand their ground, ticking off Bubba T.’s determination to get to the finish line, his tenaciousness, his dedication not to turn to the left of the right, no matter how bleak the outcome of the race looked.
But they all agree on one thing and one thing only.
The race was a draw.
Oh, by the way, Jack’s holding court in Jill Rabbit’s Espresso Bar (sheesh), bragging about next year’s race, how it’s gonna be a triathlon and take three whole days to finish.
And Bubba T.….he’s already marking his trail to next year’s finish line. Some owl named Aesop hooted that Swamp Buggy Press is itching tell his story if he finishes on time.
Pam Hillman makes up stories from the edge of Bubba T. and Jack’s swamp in Mississippi. Her debut book, Stealing Jake, is available online at all the usual etail stores. Bubba T. gives it a claw up! www.pamhillman.com
Pam is giving away a 1987 Collector's Edition of The Tortoise and the Hare Little Golden Book AND an ecopy of Stealing Jake.
Today is another day of our March Speedbo. Find outmore about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Commenttoday for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.