The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. XI, No. 4

Gather ‘round children, and listen as Uncle Steve and Uncle Dave tell you the story of "The Tortoise and the". And remember kids - to avoid heavy-handed copyright-infringement laws, this story is nothing at all like "The Tortoise and the Hare".

Once upon a time, there lived a very fast hare...err...rabbit named Rawhb. Rawhb Rabbit was the fastest racer in the entire world - or so he thought. You see, even though the Rawhb claimed to be the fastest, he had never actually won a race, but instead managed to scrape by on the money won by his wife (Ambuh Rabbit). She had never won a race either.

Rawhb Rabbit

(And stop complaining all you tortoise fans. The tortoises - or is it tortoisi? - will make their appearance later. Sheeeesh! Two paragraphs in, and already you're whining about a lack of tortoises. We bet you like pandas too, don't you?)

So anyhow, the Rawhb Rabbit was tired of hearing the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare", and decided to finally set the record straight. He rounded up all the tortoises he knew (14 of them, as it turns out) and claimed that he and Mrs. Rawhb Rabbit could beat them all in a race.

Naturally, the tortoises accepted since they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. No tortoise can possibly beat a rabbit, right? They even agreed to let Rawhb Rabbit set the course.

Now Rawhb also fancied himself a bit of an intellectual and decided that the entire course would not be revealed to each of the teams at once, but that the next portion of the course would be revealed when a team finished the previous portion. Of course, he already knew the whole course, but this was just another of those "details."

Rawhb Rabbit challenges Charla Tortoise to a race.

Soon the teams were ready and the race began! Rawhb and Ambuh Rabbit shot off to a quick lead, as the teams were told to head towards a shipwreck over 800 miles away. True to the fairy tale, Rawhb and Ambuh Rabbit decided that they could afford to take a rest after only three hours of racing, and soon were caught by all but two of the tortoise teams.

Realizing their mistake, Rawhb and Ambuh began racing again. Unfortunately Rawhb soon forgot the exact course he had designed and began to think that perhaps he had meant "picture of a shipwreck" instead of "shipwreck." In a stroke of blind luck, he happened to overhear Uchenna Tortoise talking to someone familiar with the actual shipwreck and managed to get directions on finding it again.

Once they had arrived at the shipwreck, Rawhb and Ambuh Rabbit noticed that there were two possible routes they could take to get to the next clue. One of the two routes would involve using a compass, and Rawhb confessed that he wasn't very good with one so the two Rabbits decided on the other route (It seems that Rob often assumed that ‘N' meant "not this way," ‘S' meant "sorry, not this way either," ‘E' meant "even this is the wrong way," and ‘W' meant "wrong way." Perhaps Rawhb wasn't as much an intellectual as he fancied).

As the tortoises began catching up again, most of them decided to try the compass route, as it seemed simpler. Meanwhile Rawhb and Ambuh decided it was time for another break, and began to test each other's IQs with a spelling bee. Rawhb didn't do too well, spelling P-H-I-L-L-I-P-E-A-N-S for "Bert Van Munster", and adding a silent ‘Q' and a silent ‘D' to "Whistle of Charlozza".

Soon realizing that they had slipped almost to last place again, Rawhb and Ambuh Rabbit decided to forgo any further spelling quizzes and head off down the compass route. Along the way, Rawhb and Ambuh Rabbit ran into Dustin and Kandice Tortoise. Rawhb managed to convince the entire group that he knew exactly where he was going, and promptly led them to ‘Big Sam's House of Toast', instead of the Nautilus Building, which is where they really wanted to be.

Eventually Rawhb corrected his mistake (after Ambuh told him to shut up and follow her) and the two Rabbits as well as the two Tortoises made it to the right location. As it turned out, so had all the other tortoises and it was almost as if all the racers had been mysteriously "bunched up."

All of the racers were now heading for the Isla Redonda, which is also known as "the end of the world," Rawhb had chosen this spot since he had heard that Redonda Beach was pretty nice, and he also wanted to meet the girl that the Beach Boys had sung about (You know, the girl from "Help Me Redonda").

As the racers began arriving at the Isla Redonda, it became quite obvious that Rawhb and Ambuh weren't amongst the leaders. But the tortoise teams all got their clues directing them to the finish line. Finally Rawhb and Ambuh Rabbit showed up, along with Uchenna and Joyce Tortoise. (Uchenna and Joyce Tortoise had once beaten Rawhb and Ambuh Rabbit in another race.) It seemed unlikely that Rawhb and Abuh would be able to actually win the race, but it also seemed likely that they would at least manage to beat one of the tortoise teams.

For the last time, Rawhb again decided that he could relax a bit (considering he had such a big lead over at least one of the tortoise teams). This strategy instantly paid dividends as Uchenna and Joyce Tortoise raced across the finish line ahead of Rawhb and Ambuh.

Suddenly, from out of the mists came Charla and Mirna Tortoise - the only tortoise team that had been trailing Rawhb and Ambuh Rabbit! The race was on! Back and forth the two teams raced, trading insults as they attempted to beat each other to the finish line! "Your mother wears combat boots!" "Oh yeah?" "Yeah, and your father is so fat that he can hardly...scratch his own...itchy spot." "Oh, that's just a filthy lie! I'm a lawyer and I can spot a lie, you know. After I think about it for a day or two." "Your racing partner is so short she could be a little person!" "Why don't you just shut up, you red...neck...dude?"

Back and forth....and forth and back...finally one of the teams stumbles across the finish line!

Rawhb Rabbit - loses again.