Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TOURIST ATTRACTION(S) (natural or man-made) (08/06/15)
TITLE: The Weeping Lizard
By Ellen Carr
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But that was about to change. The local newspaper headline said it all: Lizard Puts Lazy On The Map.
Zoologists had discovered a previously unknown lizard around the Lazy district. It was a green-brown colour, similar to lots of other Australian lizards, except for one thing: it shed tears. Beads of liquid oozed from its eyes. The scientists named it Lacertilia Babylonica, or the Weeping Lizard.
Well, there was much rejoicing in Lazy. At last they would have something to brag about. Rob Skite, the mayor, called a community meeting to celebrate, and to make plans to exploit the lizard's tourist potential. Most of the town rolled up that night.
He set up a whiteboard for a brainstorming session and Marjory Note agreed to take the minutes. Ideas flew around the room – renaming the town Babylonica, building a giant lizard, making a drink called Lizard Tears, starting a museum. Tom Carver suggested a wooden lizard-themed playground.
Rob scrawled the ideas on the board, giving his own running commentary. “Yes, Labylonica! Mmm, a liant gizzard, tizzard lears.” His tendency to spoonerism brought some muffled titters. At least he wrote the words correctly. And no-one messed with big Rob; there was a reason he was the town leader.
“Well, folks, how are we going with this bizzard lisness? I'm sure council will allocate some funds. Are we ready to choose our projects? Marjory, would you please read out our options.”
Marjory read the list and everyone voted by a show of hands. The giant lizard won the most votes, followed by the lizard-themed playground.
“I reckon we can run to both of those, the plizard-themed layground and the lig bizzard. I can pretty much guarantee that they'll be funded.” A cheer went up. Lazy was on its way to fame.
“This is just the start,” said Rob.
Gloria Shark, at the Fish and Chips Shop, got the tourist thing going with a new take-away dish: Don't Cry Burgers. A café changed its name to Lizzie's Lunches and the library put up a Lizard Information Display. At Lazy's Visitor Information Centre, never the busiest place in town, they readied themselves for tourists, drawing up maps of the area with high lizard-frequency areas highlighted.
Meanwhile, as good as his word, Rob Skite got the town council on side. They rushed through approval for an eighteen metre high Weeping Lizard statue with steps to the top and a viewing platform on the head.
“We'll better the Big Banana of Hoffs Carbour and the Big Bulls of Rockhampton. Our Giant Weeping Lizard will be bigger, and it will weep water from its eyes. People will come from nar and fear to see it. And we'll have the children's playground out the back – lizard slides, tear drop swings and so on. Work will start in one month's time.”
Excitement gripped the town as the tourist attractions took shape, the builders working in a frenzy to get them completed before the summer holiday season. Hotels and motels spruced themselves up for the influx of tourists. Shops were slapped with new paint and the whole town took on a clean, smart appearance.
A Weeping Lizard Festival was scheduled for the first Saturday in December when the Giant Weeping Lizard would be officially opened by the local Member of Parliament. She would unveil the official plaque. Rob Skite had personally phoned in the order for the plaque, keeping its wording a secret - his little surprise he said.
When the big day arrived the town was abuzz with stalls selling all manner of things. There were camel rides and vintage car rides Toffee apples and fairy floss scented the air with sweet aromas while sausages sizzled their savoury smells. The Member of Parliament was on her way and the local band was ready to strike up a tune.
At last the band began to play. Rob Skite welcomed the special guest and invited her to declare the Giant Weeping Lizard officially open. She stepped up to pull the cord and reveal the plaque.
“I'm delighted to declare this new tourist attraction open,” she said. The silky cover slid back to reveal the words, “The Giant Leaping Wizard...”
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