The microphone squealed as a blue moose-like monster walked onto the stage. It was a beautiful, sunny day at Chuffston Park. Monsters from many different restaurants and hotels were gathered for their yearly event.
“Welcome to the 76th Annual Monster Games!” the blue monster said into the microphone. Monty, Plonk, Beatrice and Snort were there to represent the Gristling Inn Bed & Breakfast. “First up: the StinkDoughnut eating contest. Get ready!”
Plonk, the big, magenta hamster-boy, sat at a long table on the stage. He was one of several monsters competing in the eating contest. Each monster sat behind big stacks of StinkDoughnuts.
“You got this, Plonk!” yelled Monty from the side of the stage.
“And...begin!” The competing monsters messily chomped their piles of StinkDoughnuts. They had to eat as many as they could before the timer ran out.
Cream filling and pieces of doughnut flew everywhere. The audience whooped and clapped.
“And...TIME!” the announcer yelled. “We have a winner!”
The blue monster held up the arm of a furry, orange rhinoceros-bird. “The first prize in the StinkDoughnut eating contest goes to...Gary, from Screecher’s Steak & Ale Barn!”
“Oh, well,” Plonk said. He wiped his mouth with his arm and climbed offstage.
“You gave it your best shot,” said Monty. “We still have chances to win the other events. I bet Beatrice wins the knitting contest. She is awesome at it.”
“Well, I hope so. This year it’s important that we win,” said Plonk. “The Gristling Inn needs the prize money to install new special doors for giants.”
“Don’t worry,” Monty said. “Snort’s famous GreenGravy always wins the cash prize.”
“Right. But if he doesn’t win, we can’t afford the new doors. And that would mean the inn is in huge trouble. We might even have to close forever!” Plonk nervously clicked his teeth.
“You’re being so dramatic,” said Monty.
“We have a winner of the knitting contest!” the blue monster called. The boys looked up in time to see him hold up one of the four legs of a woolly-camel man.
“The cash prize goes to...Mack, from Jack’s Crackle Shack!”
“Oh, nuts,” said Monty. “Beatrice worked so hard knitting her octopus pants.”
“Next up, for an even bigger cash prize, is the cooking contest!” the blue monster announced.
Under the big tent, Snort stood proudly behind his vat of GreenGravy. He was stationed at a long table of competing cooks.
“Who’s that?” asked Plonk pointing to a purple horse-lady. “Her, behind the tub of SparkChilli. She’s new this year.”
“Oh. She must be from the MuzzleBurger Spa & Cafe that just opened in Fangsford,” said Monty. “It looks like the judges can’t decide the winner, between her SparkChilli and Snort’s GreenGravy.”
And it was close. The judges each held a cup of the SparkChilli and a cup of the GreenGravy. They kept tasting each one, then nodding and whispering to each other.
Snort looked confident as the blue monster spoke into the microphone. “It was a tough decision, but we now have a winner,” the announcer called. Snort began to step forward to accept his prize.
“Breaking the long winning-streak of the Gristling Inn...is today’s winner: Carla, from MuzzleBurger Spa & Cafe!” the crowd gasped and clapped.
“What!?” Snort exclaimed. He turned an even brighter shade of red.
The Gristling Inn crew all looked at each other with their mouths hanging open.
Monty chuckled nervously.
“Which contest did you enter?” Plonk asked.
“Uh...the rope climbing contest.”
“Oh.” Plonk looked at Monty’s wheel-leg and didn’t know what to say.
“Look, I only entered my contest for fun. I didn’t actually think I would need to win.”
“Well,” Plonk said, looking at Monty’s skinny arms. “You’ll uh... do great. It’s just climbing. You’ll be fine.”
“The climbing contest is about to begin!” the blue monster said into the microphone. “The contestants must carry their tray of drinks all the way up the rope - without spilling a drop! Then, they must place the tray atop the beam and be the first to ring their bell.”
“Oh,” Plonk nervously clicked his teeth.
“Monty!” Snort suddenly appeared behind the boys. He leaned down and growled into Monty’s ear. “Couldn't you have entered a contest that you could actually win? Without the money to install the giant doors, the inn will be in huge trouble.”
“I’m sorry. I— I didn’t think I’d have to—”
“You NEVER think,” Snort interrupted. “That’s the problem. And NOW look. We’re doomed!”
Several monsters from the other restaurants lined up in front of their ropes. Monty joined them.
“You got this, Monty!” yelled Plonk.
Monty nervously looked up the rope. A racoon-monster handed Monty his tray of drinks. Monty’s grandad shuffled to the front of the crowd.
“You can do it, my boy,” Grandad said. Then he looked up at Monty’s rope...and gulped.
“Climbers, get ready! And...BEGIN!”
Monty gripped the rope in one hand and balanced the tray of drinks on the other. He struggled, but managed to begin climbing up the rope. He wrapped his non-wheel leg in the rope and slowly made his way upward, inch by inch. Monty pulled himself up with his free hand. The crowd chanted and cheered for the climbers. “Whoa!” Monty said as his tray of drinks teetered. One cup slid, but Monty kept it from falling.
The other monsters were climbing faster using both feet to grip the rope. But Monty’s wheel made it hard to grip the rope properly. The other climbers were pulling farther and farther ahead.
“Grrrrr,” Snort growled from below. “I can’t watch!”
“Oh, well,” Grandad whispered to Plonk. “If we lose this and the inn has to close, we’ll probably have to look for another place to live. We always land on our feet, though, as the saying goes.”
“What’s he doing now?” Plonk asked, pointing at Monty.
Monty was halfway up the rope. He had lifted his wheel-leg up and was chewing at the buckle. A moment later, the wheel fell to the ground.
With his wheel off, Monty could wrap the rope around his wheel-less leg quickly and easily, which enabled him to shimmy up his rope faster than the others.
And just like that - he reached the top! But the other climbers were not far behind. Another monster was already sliding her tray onto the beam. But at the last moment... *CRASH!* Her tray of drinks fell and hit the ground below her.
“Prickle Hotel is disqualified!” the blue monster announced.
“Phew!” Monty said. He slid his tray onto the beam, then - *DING-DING-DING!*
Monty rang his bell!
“The winner of the grand prize money goes to...MONTY, from The Gristling Inn!” The crowd went wild.
“That boy is lucky he won,” Snort said to Grandad. Grandad looked over his glasses at the warthog boss.
“Actually, YOU’RE the lucky one,” said Grandad. “The Gristing Inn is out of trouble. All because of Monty.”
“HRUMPH!” snorted Snort.
“WOO-HOO!” yelled Plonk to his friend at the top of the rope. “You did it, Monty!”
Monty raised his arms into the air to celebrate.
Then he fell all the way to the ground.
“I’m fine! Heh-heh,” Monty said as he sat up in the soft grass.
“Yeah, like I said,” Grandad smiled. “We always manage to land on our feet.”