Eating Talking Turtles

24 02 2010

I drove to a town over the railroad tracks, a rural town with gravel roads. They eat talking turtles there. They say that they don’t but that’s a lie. They lure them in with promises of work and friendship and good benefits. My talking turtle friend hitch hiked a ride with me. Can you hitch hike with someone you know? And isn’t that really turtle suicide?

Right away we were pulled over by the cop, because I’m sure that he could see the turtle in the passenger seat. And there was only one cop, because it’s a small town. The cop tried to take the talking turtle in on an infraction of some obscure town law. Only he made it seem like a favor. Told him he would get him a job as a dishwasher in the backroom with racquetball benefits. So once he had the turtle, I decided to get out of there before I they decided they were cannibals. But the main road didn’t go anywhere. It was a dead end, and I had to turn around in someone’s flower bed, my car spitting gravel.

But somehow, I didn’t leave either. I parked my car alongside the road. I left it there for several days with my cell phone and wallet. And I never called home to let anyone know where I was at.  I don’t remember what kept me there so long. Maybe I decided that I couldn’t leave my turtle friend. Maybe my conscience had grown inside of me.

I didn’t find my turtle friend. They invited me in and showed me the racquetball courts. But the racquetball court was transformed into a music room during the day for the children. My racquetball partner and I played the instruments instead of stretching out the room for racquetball. And we ate the children’s Valentine’s Day candy until the teacher came in after hours. We complimented her on her fine classroom, and hoped we didn’t get blamed for the broken sound board in the violin that was broken before we had arrived.

After racquetball, I attended the town meeting. I stood next to the scheming leader who was also the cop. He stood at the edge of a swamp, talking about his great plans to throw the next “brother” into the swamp. I asked how it was going to work since they weren’t really brothers. DNA would show that. He ignored my question. He was trying to set the whole thing up as a crime scene. He wanted it to look a certain way. “Who’s going to push in the next brother?” he asked.  I pushed the cop leader, but he regained his balance. So I pushed even harder the second time and watched him fall into the poisonous sludge. The crowd was quiet. They had adored their leader and believed his lies. All eyes were on me. I walked quickly out of the building and down the street. I had to get back to my car. I hoped it was still there, because I had been inside for almost a week or more. I felt my pocket to make sure my keys were still there. The entire town was behind me, ready to stone me. I picked up my pace.

My car was gone. But Seth Green was there with a tattooed eye. He told me that my car was parked around the corner on the inside of the building (actually a large cultish complex). He said that it was all a set. None of it was real. I could see for myself. Inside there would be placemats for all the actors and visitors, eating meals, ready to watch the debut.

I did look. It was like a grey hair convention in a Big Boy Restaurant. The placemats had our names and rank. Mine read Executive Leader or something like Queen.

I still didn’t believe any of it. I had to get to my car.

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