The Adventures of Clarence and Dorothy Number IX, The Triathlete
An Spiritual and Inspirational Archive Story


Ivana Gerhard
a fictional children's story for all ages
August 2015

Clarence Devine is a Siamese cat who keeps in good feline shape. He runs, cycles, climbs trees, practices yoga, roller skates and has twice daily sessions up and down his cat tree 3 sets of 10 times each. His fireplace has three mantles just to hold his many trophies and ribbons.

Ivana Gerhard

Clarence's exercise room

“Daddy, Daddy,” said his daughter Ernestine running into their exercise room.

“Look at this Triathlon flyer I found tacked on the Squirrel tree. It has a grand prize of $10,000.”

Clarence almost dropped a dumbbell on his paw. This was an event he had never felt confident enough to enter for one reason only. SWIMMING!!!

“I don’t think I can do it.”

“You always tell me what’s the worst that can happen?”  Ernie purred.

“Yes,” said Clarence. “Dr. Phil says that and I like it.”

Clarence watches Dr. Phil on TV while exercising.

“I know, I know I need more courage,” he said, thinking the situation over.

Clarence’s best friend, Mr. Turtlety, stopped by for some of Dorothy’s catnip tea at midmorning snack time.

“I see,” said Mr. Turtlety, “so let me get this perfectly clear, you don’t want to try to add to Ernie’s college fund, which now stands at $200 because you’re afraid of getting wet.”

Clarence felt foolish and selfish and so cattish!

Mr. Turtlety, as Cal’s personal water trainer, decided Clarence should first run through Ernestine’s sprinkler 3 sets of 10 times each twice a day.

A week later, Everett encouraged Clarence to hop in and out of Suzy Squirrel’s inflatable kiddie pool 3 sets of 10 times twice a day. The neighbors became very curious, but since their respected local taxi driver seemed to be supervising this bizarre behavior, kept their curiosity to themselves.

The terrapin trainer now thought it was time for a really big step, and so together the two friends waded out into Goose Lake up to their ankles.

Every day they went a little further until at the end of two weeks they were literally “up to their necks,” and Clarence and Everett and Ernestine were happy. Mr. Turtlety was an expert swimmer, and since he had an added burden of a (tattooed) shell on his back, he was sure Clarence, with concentration and determination, could become an even better swimmer.

Ivana Gerhard
Goose Lake

Finally, at the end of three months, both cats and turtle breathed a sigh of relief as it was two days before the start of the triathlon, and they felt Clarence was ready for the swimming event, which was first up.

The .47 mile distance was measured out in Swan Lake and when the shot was fired Clarence dove in and started dog-paddling like a dog. His fiercest competition was the Pitbull Boys redhaired cousin, Craig.

“Daddy, Daddy,” screamed Ernestine and her mother, Dorothy, “Hurry, hurry, go, go, swim, swim.”

Craig and Clarence were neck and neck until Clarence plunged a paw ahead at the finish.

Clarence had no time to be proud of himself and ran to the transition area as fast as four legs could carry him. He shed his wet trunks, donned his helmet and sneakers, hopped on his burgundy Cannondale Bike and took off on the 12 mile race.

Again Craig and Clarence were aggressive competitors, but Clarence rode over a nail and blew a tire. His crew; Mr. Turtlety, Danny Mole and Brian Bluejay changed the tire in 45 seconds.

“Get going,” shrilled Brian. “Don’t break a leg!” yelled Danny after him. Unfortunately even though Clarence pedaled as fast as he could to catch up, Craig broke the banner two bicycle lengths ahead of him.

“Rats!” said Clarence.

“No worries.” Clarence quickly passed his Cannondale to Danny, his helmet to Brian and scrambled to T2.

Dorothy met him with a well deserved bottle of water.

“You’re doing wonderful, dear,” and Ernie helped him change to his racing shoes.

This is it, Dad, run like a deer.” The excitement in the air was almost unbearable when the runners lined up at the starting line. The pack was off and Craig and Clarence kept their eyes on each other for 3.1 miles. Craig’s cousin Chase ran alongside the last mile encouraging both his family member and his good friend, not able to favor one over the other.

“Run Craig, run; run Clarence run.”

Ivana Gerhard
Craig Pitbull

The final push was on and Clarence thought his lungs would burst.

“Daddy, Daddy”, he heard as he sprinted towards the wire.

“I have to do this for my child,” he thought and found a “second wind” from not only his lungs but also his heart, and won the race.

Moral: Keep your feet on the ground, but reach for the stars.  Distance is only an illusion. 

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