Swim, Charlie! Swim!

4 years ago

Charlie, a fine turtle by all accounts, doesn’t know how much longer he can keep swimming. It’s been two days, and relief is nowhere in sight.

Charlie has been left in the care of my mother, who agreed to feed him while the Schmidts are away. In a fit of eager conscientiousness, she filled his tank to the rim. Since then Charlie has been swimming for his life, and for all that he holds dear.

Charlie hadn’t wanted to go away with the Schmidts, but an invite would have been nice. Especially in hindsight, knowing the ordeal he would have been spared.

The Schmidts have gone to Tuscaloosa, to visit Uncle Ned. Charlie doesn’t know when they’re planning to return, but he knows it’s a hell of a drive. He’d be doing better if they’d at least left the TV on. He’s missing all of Mrs. Schmidt’s (and thus his) favorite shows. He wonders what’s happening on Downton Abbey, Mystery Diagnosis, the Kardashians.

He’s feeling out of the loop.

The physical strains are the toughest, though. Charlie’s shell is getting soggy, his skin is wrinkling, and his TMJ is acting up from the constant clenching of his jaw.

He wants to stay positive, but it’s getting hard not to brood.

Thank God he has more than ample provisions. The zealous blonde makes triple-certain of that. And — turtle or not, Charlie can’t help notice — she has a hell of a set of knockers. As opposed to Mrs. Schmidt, who, he guiltily concedes, is built something like a dump truck.

Seeking distraction from this line of thought, Charlie flips over. The backstroke has never been his strong suit, but he kicks his legs with all the energy he can muster, propelling himself to the other side of the tank. He wants desperately to crawl over the side, but knows from prior attempts that the glass is too slippery.

Ned, Charlie thinks. What a stupid name.

Charlie turns back onto his stomach, looks out upon the living room. Couch, computer desk, coffee table; nothing begs his eye. He glances toward the bookcase. It’s lovely mahogany, uncluttered and polished to a shine.

Then his eyes fall upon it. Featured prominently on the top shelf is a large, encyclopedic book: “A Comprehensive Guide To Superior Turtle Care.”

This is more than Charlie’s vessel can bear. Ha! he thinks bitterly. Had the Schmidts read halfway down page one, they’d have known better than to leave him with a dimwitted blonde with no clue about turtles and a fetish for tap water tsunamis.

Disgusted, Charlie makes a hard left and swims the other way.

To be continued. . .

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