Ten…nine…eight… Burclan was determined to break his record. Seven…six…five…he kept a chart of is best times so far.
Four…three…two…his last delivery to the post box and back was done in exactly nine minutes.
One…today, Burclan was going for eight fifty nine. Go! He slammed down the stopwatch button and ran!
His friendly neighbour Mister Snaffington tried to talk to Burclan as he whizzed past. ‘Good morning Burclan! Can I…’
‘Can’t talk,’ Burclan replied, ‘gotta run!’
He turned the corner, leaning a little sideways, but was careful to stay on his feet. Just then Missus Naffkin came out from her house with her walker.
‘Hello Burclan, going a bit fast aren’t you?’ she scowled.
‘That’s the idea!’ Burclan replied, heading towards the park.
Blind man Billy sat in his usual spot on the bench with his dog Xenziar. Burclan knew to not run too close so he took a wide berth.
‘Good morning Burclan,’ Billy called out, ‘running well today?’
Burclan always wondered how he knew it was him, but he didn’t have time to stop and ask. He looked at his stopwatch; three minutes forty seconds. Around the see saw, past the swings and there it was; the bright red post box that stood on the street corner. Goal number one; deliver mother’s letter in less than four and a half minutes.
Burclan flung the letter into the slot and checked his stopwatch…four minutes and fifteen seconds.
‘Breaking this record will be a piece of cake!’ he cried as he sped off; only to be stopped by Mister Troucan the postie.
‘Burclan!’ he called out, ‘Can we have a chat about…’
‘Sorry Mister Troucan,’ Burclan gasped as he dodged the scooter, ‘Can’t stop, gotta run, record time, see ya!’
Burclan raced back through the park, around Missus Naffkin’s corner…seven minutes, thirty one seconds.
Burclan had victory in his sights as he puffed hard, and flung his arms even harder. The finish line he drew on the pavement by his house came into view; stopwatch reading…eight minutes and fifty two seconds! His legs were getting wobbly but he knew he couldn’t slow down….fifty five. He was so close and so determined to beat his time that he now kept his eyes on the stopwatch; the finish line only metres away…eight fifty eight…meow!
Burclan’s cat Macky was always getting in the way of things, and today was no different. For Burclan, dodging Macky wasn’t the hard part; but crashing into the rubbish bins was a different story. Not to mention the pain on his face when he looked at his stopwatch and it was still running; ten minutes eleven seconds, twelve, thirteen…
As Burclan sat in the hospital looking at his leg covered in plaster, he wasn’t worried about breaking the bone.
‘Excuse me Doctor, but how long do I have to have this on? Burclan asked, ‘I need to beat nine minutes!’
‘I’m sorry Burclan,’ the Doctor replied, ‘but it’s going to take at least six to eight.’
‘Hours?’ Burclan interrupted, ‘that’s fine, I can wait until tomorrow.’
‘Not hours Burclan,’ the doctor frowned.
‘You don’t mean days?!’ Burclan protested, ’that means I have to wait a whole week!’
‘Not days Burclan.’
Burclan went silent. The Doctor sat on the bed beside him.
‘It will be at least six to eight weeks before you can get that plaster off my boy, so no more running.’
Suddenly Burclan had the best idea. He didn’t need his legs to beat his record; he could start a new one…with a wheelchair!
I could do it in six minutes!, he thought to himself, or even three if I had a motorized wheelchair! Burclan was getting excited, until the Nurse entered the room with a pair of crutches.
It took him two minutes and fourteen seconds just to get to the door! There was no way Burclan could move fast anymore; and no chance of ever beating his record.
Burclan stayed in his room for days. He was very sad. His mum tried everything to get him to go outside; even his favourite cookies weren’t enough. He knew he wouldn’t enjoy life if he couldn’t run fast.
‘I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave this room again!’ he cried.
As he lay back down on the bed a voice called through his window.
‘Burclan! Are you in there?’ Mister Snaffington called out.
Burclan hobbled to his window and saw the old man waving from behind the hedge.
‘Quick Burclan, I need your help!’
‘But I can’t do anything,’ Burclan replied.
‘Of course you can, now hurry!’ Mister Snaffington insisted. Burclan grabbed his crutches and hobbled downstairs.
When he arrived, in seven minutes, Mister Snaffington was trimming a hedge which stunned Burclan; it was in the shape of a dolphin.
‘Wow!’ Burclan said as he gazed at the sculpture. ‘How did you do that?’
‘A lot of patience my dear boy,’ Mister Snaffington replied, ‘but I need a favour; could you post a letter for me please?’
‘But how?’ Burclan complained, ‘I have crutches!’
‘You can still walk and you have plenty of time,’ he replied, ‘no hurry.’
Burclan took the letter and left; amazed at two more hedges of Mister Snaffington’s; one looked like a pear, another like an apple!
Burclan began his slow trip to the post box and was surprised to see things he hadn’t noticed before. Birds had built a nest in someone’s chimney; a new street sign had been put up, and a huge rose garden beside the park. When he stopped to look at the different colours, the smell was amazing.
‘Hello Burclan,’ he looked up to see Missus Naffkin smelling a rose. ‘Moving a little slower today?’
‘Hi Missus Naffkin,’ Burclan grumbled, ‘it’s going to be weeks before I get to move fast again.’
Missus Naffkin just smiled and offered him one of her toffees.
After popping Mister Snaffington’s letter in the post box, he couldn’t bear to look at his stopwatch that probably said two hours! Burclan slowly made his way back across the park. His arms were getting tired so he rested on the bench.
Moments later, blind man Billy arrived.
‘Hi,’ Billy said gloomily.
Billy sat down with Xanziar. ‘Hello Burclan, lovely to see you.’
Burclan was a little confused.
‘It’s a joke,’ Billy chuckled. Burclan giggled.
‘It’s nice to know you do actually stop sometimes.’ Billy smiled.
‘I don’t have a choice,’ Burclan mumbled. Billy used his stick to feel down and tapped at Burclan’s crutches.
‘Oh I see,’ Billy replied, ‘lucky you.’
Burclan had had all sorts of comments from people saying how sorry they felt for him, and ‘bad luck Burclan’, but never ‘lucky you!’
‘Tell me Burclan,’ Billy started, ‘what’s been different about having to walk? today?’
Burclan thought hard. ‘Mister Snaffington shapes his hedges into animals and fruit.’ He recalled. ‘and I didn’t know there was a rose garden.’
‘Ah yes, there’s so much more to see,’ Billy explained, ‘or in my case, more to hear, feel, smell and taste!’
‘Missus Naffkin also gave me a toffee’ Burclan went on, ‘for no reason!.’
Burclan told Billy how he felt the wind change direction three times, and how he could smell the buns from the baker’s shop.
‘It’s amazing what is out there if you take the time.’ Billy said.
Burclan was then surprised to see Billy pull out a marker and draw a funny face on his cast.
‘Next time you come back,’ Billy instructed, ‘I’ll get Xanziar to show you some of his tricks.’
Burclan gave the dog a pat and headed for home; this time he went the long way.
Burclan was starting to feel happy again. When he arrived home it was more than twenty minutes on his stopwatch, but he didn’t mind.
Every day, Burclan would visit his neighbours to see if they had any letters that needed posting. He would see if Mister Snaffington had created more sculptures and Missus Naffkin always had a different treat for him.
One day, when he had eight letters to post for different people, Mister Troucan the postie was very impressed that he even offered Burclan a job!
‘Burclan, I was hoping you’d be our new paper boy,’ the postie explained, ‘you already seem to know everyone.’
Burclan was so excited to get a job, and Mister Troucan even gave him a post office stamp on his cast.
By the time Burclan was ready to remove his plaster, he had so many writings and pictures drawn from all sorts of people; it reminded him that blind man Billy was right; he was lucky. But now he knew he didn’t have to break his leg to experience all the wonderful things in his life; he could do it any day he pleased.
But of course this didn’t stop Burclan trying to break records (and not bones). Burclan created a new chart for his bedroom; to see how many different things he could see, hear, smell, feel and taste, and how many new friends he made.