How were you awoken yesterday?
Fuck you! Who gives a fuck!
“Chris!” A bellow floats air bound. “There’s a turtle in the yard! Get up!”
I get up while being updated on the movements. Personally, I thought there were too many updates for such a languid creature. One of them was that a cat was watching it. For some reason this was cause for alarm but I couldn’t help but to think the turtle would be more than capable of dispatching with any of the area cats. And probably has on many occasions.
But, knowing it’s inevitable, I go out. It’s a mid-sized turtle. Not the biggest we’ve had in the yard; no where near as big as the one we, I mean she, found on a baseball field nor as big as the one she found in a bank parking lot. From sixty feet. While driving down the street. In the rain. And the dark.
I get behind it to pick it up. I can tell she’s not too happy with this idea. If she only knew how little I’m thinking of this plan maybe she wouldn’t have put up such a fight. But she does. I’m told to put her in the truck so we can bring her to the marshy area a few hundred yards away. Down a steep hill. Of uncertain terrain. Can you see how this entire plan is not among my favorites?
I’m lifting the turtle into the bed of the truck when it flails wildly and catches one of my fingers with it’s (as we’re about to find out) very hard claw. The good thing is, from decades of scuffling over rocks, it was blunt so it didn’t slice me open. It just hurt like hell. Like getting your finger stuck in a door. A seventy-five year old, pissed off, wildly thrashing door.
I get in the truck and say to little Ms. Rescue,
“I’m pretty sure you’ve given first vehicle rides to the most amount of wild creatures in the non-professional category.”
She’s at least close. Countless turtles and birds, a goose and a baby raccoon (who both spent a weekend in our bathroom – I’m sure another first for both of them) (more on the raccoon here. I thought I had a goose bit but can’t find it), it’s just too many for my stunted brain to count. But she does it. More than you’d actually believe.
We get to the destination so I get the turtle again. Although she should be used to this by now she’s not acting that way. As a matter of fact, she’s a little more agitated. Must have got a touch of the car sickness. No matter, we can’t drive around all day with a pissed off turtle in the back so I dig in.
And so does she. This time it didn’t hurt but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
I’m lead through a path, the flat part, until the water comes clear. What is also clear is the aforementioned steep decline and uncertain terrain. So I begin my trek carrying what can best be described as an out of control shake weight with claws.
I hit the first deep step and find out something very quickly. It’s deeper than I figured. My leg descends two inches over the knee into a pile of leaves. And I’m not even touching solid ground. I can feel my foot slipping on top of three year old leaves. But, at this balance point, I can’t let go of the turtle because I could end up dropping it on myself.
And I wouldn’t like that.
So I have to take another step into leaf mountain to get any semblance of balance. Just as I’m about to step I notice something.
“I hope that’s water coming out of her shell.”
It, of course, was not.
The fucking, ungrateful bitch is pissing on me! Trust me, the thought of frisbeeing this little sucker down the hill crossed my mind. But, no, I soaked it up and went deeper into an area where a wiser human would think better of going.
Both feet unsteady, but at least semi-level, I begin to formulate my release. I know this may sound strange to many of you but, being a semi-experienced turtle releaser, trust me, this is not something you want to do haphazardly.
I lean forward slightly, my chest actually touching leaves, reach the kicking, pissing turtle as far away from me as possible, and with a little, very little despite my current predicament and hygienic state, toss safely release the turtle in the direction of it’s home.
Slogging out of the leaves I reach terra firma. The team leader (who, I feel the need to add, has neither piss on her pants or leaves and gawd knows what else in her socks) smiles and says,
“Do you want to go to work and get your check?”
I look at her and say,
“I don’t follow many rules but one is never going to work covered in turtle piss and I’m determined to continue to live by that one.”
I think that’s a good rule to follow.