aka Auriga’s Single Flea Hopsicle
Not all of King Sprungtopf’s strange pursuits were banned by Thaddeus Braxton of the MoA (see reference at end). Indeed, there were a number of pastimes that were positively embraced by the Man from the Ministry, if only to help keep the locals distracted and let him get on with the business of governing the place in peace.
One such sport was Flea-Charioteering (aka Capriolet Racing, due to the way that the chariots jumped forward slightly each time the flea hopped). Attending these races (or “going to the hop”) became de rigueur amongst the social elite, bookmakers moved onto the scene and it soon grew into a national pastime.
Flea races were typically held over a 3 yard racecourse. Very few rules were in place and high-stake events could quickly turn into a chaotic bloodbath as the chariots vied for position at speeds of up to 0.0003 mph.
Trackside medics were in attendance, as were veterinarians. Usually it was simpler to kill the flea rather than to treat its injuries. A flea with a broken leg would be dealt a swift retirement – the “pop” from the microscopic shotgun was a frequent sound at race meetings.
Prestigious events as Ascoat (visitors took it upon themselves to outdo each other with the outrageous splendour of their outer clothing), Saratoga (same but with togas) and of course the most famous of all, the Bland National, the notorious and gruelling 5 yard race which has been known to last over 17 hours, ensured a permanent place in the nation’s culture.
A whole economy is built around the sport, with top breeders competing to see whose fleas are the talent to watch, and trading in the “fleapit” at local flea markets is always brisk as racing teams search for new steeds.
Top flea racers are effectively able to write their own pay checks, with huge endorsement deals, luxury trailers at the race course and the ubiquitous groupies (many of whom soon tire of the constant itching welts from the charioteers’ favourite fleas since all the best racers naturally sleep with – and feed – their best steeds).
Superiore Scrutineer and Baby Behemoth