L'affaire du Landis
by Jon Worley
"Why are they talking about Mickey Rasser?"
"Who's Mickey Rasser?"
"You know, Mickey Rasser."
"Max, I don't know Mickey Rasser."
"Mickey Rasser the guy who won the race ahead of everybody else!"
"Oh. You mean Michael Rasmussen."
"Yeah. Michael Rasmuss."
"They're not talking about him. They're talking about Floyd Landis. He's the one who won the big race. Michael Rasmussen won one of the short races."
"But the short races aren't very short."
"No, they aren't. The big race is very long, though."
"Yeah. So why are they talking about Froy Randle?"
"Yeah. Froyd Landis."
"Well, they think he might have cheated."
"Cheating is when you do something against the rules so that you can win."
"You do something you're not supposed to do just so you can win?"
"Why would you do something you're not supposed to do just so you can win?"
"Well, winning is very important to some people. Especially winning a big race like the Tour de France."
"But you should always do what you're supposed to do."
"Yeah. But do you always behave?"
"Well, see, sometimes people cheat."
"Oh. So what will happen to Froyd Landis?"
"Well, they've taken one test, and it came out funny. So they're going to take another test. And if that one comes out funny, then his team will fire him."
"What's fire him?"
"They won't let him ride on their team any more."
"Because teams don't like it when you cheat."
"But here's the thing. They won't know if he cheated until they do more tests."
"What kind of tests?"
"I think in this case they're testing his pee."
"How do they do that?"
"Well, he gives them some pee, and they test it to see if there are things in it that aren't right."
"Does he pee in a bucket?"
"I think just a cup."
"How does he pee in a cup without splashing?"
"Well, Max, I think he's had a lot of practice peeing in cups."
"So what happens with the other tests?"
"They have to see if the second test comes up with the same result as the first test, and then they have to figure out exactly what's causing the result."
"And then they'll know if he cheated?"
"Because these are complicated tests. And because the problem they found isn't something that would have made him race better. If you ask me, it just doesn't make sense. Though I doubt that will matter much in the end."
"Because the tests are the most important thing. If the tests say that he took medicine he shouldn't have taken--even if he didn't do it--then he'll lose his title and get fired."
"He won't be the winner of the race any more?"
"No, that's not right. He won the race."
"But if he cheated, then they will disqualify him."
"They'll say he should be punished for cheating, and they'll take his name out of the records for the race."
"That's not nice."
"Well, cheating's not nice, either."
"No, it isn't."
"And sometimes, when you disobey, you get punished."
"Yeah. But someday I'll ride in a big bike race and I'll win and I won't cheat. Because I'm so good I don't want to cheat."
"Sounds good to me."
"And then after I win the big bike race, I'm going to go to the big soccer tournament and win that. And I won't cheat."
"That sounds good to me, too."
"How do you cheat at soccer?"
"Well, for starters, there's this thing called diving."
"It's something Italians do very well."