Z28 vs turtle

Posted: October 9, 2009 in Non Fiction, True Story, Writing
Tags: , , , ,

My mom ran a day care out of her home until I was 17 and for most of those years I had a good time with all the different kids that came through the door. The one I had the biggest problem with was my brother Ricky who is 10 years older than me and spent much of his teenage years tormenting me in as many ways he could find. I have a plethora of stories about him that range from the mildly amusing to the downright evil. I think today we’ll go over one of the evil ones as they tend to be the most vivid in my minds eye.

I was a normal seven year old, I dug holes in the dirt, jumped off the sliding board and on the rare occasion that we found one, kept small amphibians as pets. It was just a small box turtle that had made its way into the backyard but to us it was a majestic beast whose purpose was to entertain us and in turn, we would protect him from harm and feed him. Not that we knew what turtles ate but I was sure my mother would know as mothers always know everything when you’re seven. We had found the turtle shortly after lunch and had each taken turns “protecting” him from the others in a sort of medieval conquest type of game for most of the afternoon. It was a grand time even when mom said I couldn’t keep it in the house but I could keep him in a box on the porch as long as it wasn’t in the way.

Ricky had gotten a work permit as soon as he had turned 15 and had saved up enough money to buy his dream car, a Camero Z28. It was dark green with light green trim and hunter green interior. The T-tops leaked but that was OK, if it rained garbage bags could be used to plus up the bad spots in the seals. It was his pride and joy and I, even at seven years old, knew that was a very cool car. Every afternoon after school and before work at the local grocery store, my big brother would come home to grab a bite to eat, which always consisted of cheese and something, and every once in a while he would come down under the giant oak tree where we played and torment us for a while before he had to go. On this fateful day he had plenty of time to mess with the kids.

We were all huddled around the turtle, trying desperately to coax him out of his shell so we could get a good look at his head, and in truth, we wanted to see if he had teeth as we had heard the stories about snapping turtles and were kind of afraid. I suppose it was the unnatural quiet from the group of usually boisterous children that got his attention that day and as he strolled casually through the yard we all sensed that our new friend was in danger.

“Whatcha got there?” I now know the question wasn’t asked because he wasn’t aware of the turtle on the ground, but more to see what our reaction would be to his inquisition. We tried as best we could to hide our defenseless charge but after several “I just want to look at it” statements from Ricky we relented, mostly from fear as he had that affect on us. He looked at the turtle, turned it over and said “be right back” and sprinted off towards the house leaving us looking a little bewildered. It took a minute to realize he had actually taken the turtle with him and before we could move he backed out of the screen door and it took a few seconds before we saw what he had in his other hand.

A few years before Santa had been nice enough to bring my brother a pump action BB gun. The type that gets more powerful the more you pump it. I accidentally shot my cousin Jamie in the stomach with a 10 pump blast from about 40 yards away a few years after this. It wasn’t enough to penetrate but it left a nasty welt next to his belly button. Ricky casually set the turtle on top of the fence post and with nothing but the power of his “look” dared any of us to touch it. We begged him not to do it and all he would say is “don’t worry, I won’t hurt him.” I don’t know how many times he pumped that BB gun but I do know the aftermath haunted me for quite some time.

I realize some of you may have never actually seen a turtle so let me explain this. The underside of a turtle has two folds, one near the head and one at the tail. When a turtle pulls its head and tail inside it’s shell these folds allow the hard underside to fold up and form a protective cover. There aren’t a lot of muscles in a box turtle so pulling those flaps down to get a good look at the turtles head wasn’t a problem. That lack of musculature made it simple for Ricky to put the barrel of the BB gun in between the shell and small flap of underside, the muzzle resting against the face of the unsuspecting animal. The soft pop of the compressed air was followed up by a squishing sound and as the turtle we had sworn to protect plummeted off the fence post to the compacted earth below, small pieces of meat and blood blew out the back side causing us to scream in terror and immediately burst into tears.

I don’t recall why my mother didn’t stop this or why we didn’t immediately run and tell her, as was the general rule in the backyard but for whatever reason the carnage wasn’t over. The turtle had fallen on the other side of the fence and as we were all between the ages of six and nine none of us were allowed to leave the confines of the yard. Ricky on the other hand, had free reign. He walked around the fence to where our little friend lay and picked him up, looking into the small opening he had placed the murder weapon just moments before. An evil grin spread across his face and he headed over to the driveway.

The house we lived in was the first on a crowded dirt road. There were nine houses total on the road and it wasn’t all that long. Ricky took the now deceased turtle and placed him in the middle of the dirt road as we cried and told him to stop. None of us were really sure what was going on, I supposed that he was leaving the turtle in the road so we couldn’t have it back, or maybe so we couldn’t prove to mom that he had done it. After leaving the turtle in the road he got into his car “good” I thought, “He’s going to work.” Oh how wrong I was. He proceeded to back his car over the lifeless shell of the small creature, then forward, and reverse again. He ran over our object of pre adolescent affection more times than I can recall, smiling from ear to ear the whole time. Afterwards he took us all one by one to see our friend, making crude and hateful comments as we cried our little hearts out.

  1. homeslice says:

    okay this is just totally wrong. i hope you beat the hell out of him when you got older and the playing field was levelled.

  2. tommymadprophet says:

    Sadly no. I am what we shall call “athletically challenged” and he is a hunting/fishing/killing redneck.

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