I am a speedy sloth, and by speedy I mean slightly faster than any other sloth I know. This is how I justify eating more than the other sloths. Obviously, I need more fuel to maintain my speediness. Otherwise, I’d be as slow as the rest of them. My parents are unconvinced, however. They said I was just gluttonous. Gluttonous, can you imagine? Used to describe a speedy sloth like me? Impossible.
You might be wondering: why am I speedy? It’s because I am trying to subvert the stereotype of lazy, slow sloths! I’m so tired of human beings associating sloths with indolence. Do they think it’s easy being a sloth? We have to hold in our poop for an entire week! Do you know how much endurance that takes? Do you?
I am not at all lazy! I work very hard for the speed I maintain now. My family members move slowly to conserve energy, as we live on a purely herbivorous diet. Our long claws also make moving on the ground painstakingly difficult. My claws, luckily, are ever so slightly shorter. I trim them on a tree branch every other month to make sure.
Sloths are very good at swimming. We’re almost three times faster in the water than we are on land, and I’m talking about the average sloth here. I am, of course, much faster than that. In fact, I once outswam a fish! Of course, I realised later that the fish was already dead, but it’s the final result that counts. A part of me wonders if the fish died of shame halfway because it failed to swim faster than a sloth. I feel a little guilty about it, to be honest. Like I said, I’m a herbivore. I try not to kill fellow animals.
To maintain my speedy performance, I’ve tried racing with my sloth friends. However, they all refused, citing reasons such as tiredness, hungriness, or sleepiness. Excuses, excuses. I know they’re all just scared of losing to the fastest sloth in the world.
As no other sloth would race me (Not even my parents. You would think they’d be more supportive of my great aspirations), I decided I needed to race animals of a different species. After all, I could not be complacent and simply be satisfied with being the fastest sloth ever. No, I needed to aim higher, and become the fastest animal the world has ever seen!
First, I tried racing with a leaf. I was doing quite well until it cheated. It cheated! It was clearly much slower than me until a gust of wind picked it up and helped it surpass me. I was so angry, and resolved to only treat leaves as a food source from then on. The rotten cheaters! Thankfully the wind died down soon enough, and I caught up to the leaf with my speediest sprint. And then I ate it, of course. It was quite delicious.
The second species I competed against was a snail I found on the forest ground. I was pleased to find that I was much faster than it was. Clearly, I hadn’t lost my touch. I preened and gloated for around half an hour before I realized that it couldn’t possibly understand me. Then I fled in embarrassment back to the canopies. At least I could comfort myself with the knowledge that I won the race, though.
My parents were extremely angry when they realized I’d left the canopy to go race on the ground. They warned me against dangerous predators such as anacondas, jaguars and large birds of prey. They told me to stop moving so quickly because it’d attract attention. Me! The fastest ever sloth! I was so disappointed with them. I thought they’d support me in my endeavour to become the fastest animal in the world against all odds! I wanted to show other animals that I could overcome the circumstances of my birth through hard work and perseverance! It was all for a greater cause, and why couldn’t they see that? Anyway, I explained that predators couldn’t possibly be an issue because I’d obviously be able to outrun them. My parents ignored me and continued to eat leaves. I stomped away in annoyance.
To prove to everyone that predators were no match for my extraordinary speed, I decided to race a jaguar. I perched on a tree branch, surveying my next competitor from above while eating leaves earnestly. The jaguar was lying lazily in some leaves. It wasn’t moving very quickly at all. It wasn’t even eating anything! I peered at it some more from behind some leaves. It still wasn’t moving. I’d be able to win this one easily, then. And I thought jaguars were supposed to be fast. Humans had it all wrong. Jaguars were the lazy ones, not sloths!
I climbed down the tree and crawled quickly over to the jaguar. Alas, it didn’t seem to notice me at first. I moved faster, to show off my otherworldly, impressive velocity. Finally, the jaguar saw me. I watched as its amber eyes fixed on me curiously. It yawned slowly, showing off its sharp teeth and strong jaw. I crawled closer yet.
“Hi!” I said, hoping it understood sloth speech. “Wanna race with me? I bet I’ll be faster!”
The jaguar yawned again, reached out one paw, and slashed at me idly. I crept back a little.
“Hey, easy! I said race me, not taste me!”
I started running away as quickly as I could. Maybe my parents were right. Jaguars were so hostile. However, within three quick crawling steps, I felt a sharp pain in my side. I looked down to see a jaguar claw embedded in my body. In a flash, I had been swallowed whole. As I lay in the jaguar’s stomach, being digested, I wondered at my misfortune. It is such a shame that I’ll never be able to prove to the world my speed and my endurance. I was sure that with a few more tries, I’d finally get faster than any jaguar.
Also, ow, this jaguar’s stomach acids are no joke.