Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Met My New Nemesis On The Parking Lot Today

We had thunderstorms most of the day, then the thunder stopped and just the downpour remained. I had only taken in one umbrella, and left it with the #1 son to protect his New Lappy on the trip to the LSUV. He was busy downloading an episode of Catdog on his iPhone. You remember...his iPhone. Not the Happy Sunshine Garget that he urged me to buy on eBay.

As we left school, The Pony and I spied a visitor. He was as big as a dinner plate. The Pony thought he was dead, and trotted to the car. I, always one to push the envelope, got the small red umbrella from the LSUV, and sauntered over to meet our new guest. He was a quiet fellow, not give to sudden movements. I observed him for a few minutes, then hiked up the blacktop hill from whence I came, to share my new friend with a science crony. I tapped at her window in the pouring rain. She was not there. But her daughter was. I interrupted her homework and motioned her to the portal to the parking lot. She looked like she knew better than to open the window to a crazy woman under a dripping red umbrella. But I enticed her. I pointed out the turtle, and told her I thought her mother might want to take a look at this brave explorer trekking across ParkingLotLand. She humored me, like you might humor a crazy old uncle, and told her brother, who is in #1 son's class. He squinted, made a face, and said, "Want to go look at it?" She declined, and slammed that window shut.

Taking the hint, I hiked back down to stare at the critter. I don't get out much. #1 son came traipsing along down the hill, and I said, "Look. A turtle. I don't think he's a snapping turtle. He barely even moves, and he doesn't have that pointy ridge up the middle of his shell." I put my foot in front of his face. He reached his neck out perhaps a half inch, then retracted it again. He didn't withdraw all the way into his shell like a terrapin. He just went part-way in, like he was keeping his head out of the rain. We've encountered snapping turtles before. A big one at the Mansion, and a medium one that I caught while fishing. They were both spiny-shelled, aggressive hissers with bad dispositions.

#1 said, "I've got to get a picture of this." He sheltered his fancy 'garget' under my new umbrella, and snapped a snapshot. I said, "I wonder if he's a soft-shell. He doesn't look like one, but he doesn't look like a snapper." With that, I poked the side of his shell with the toe of my New Balance. THAT FREAKIN' MONSTER SHOT HIS HEAD OUT AND BIT THE SOLE OF MY SHOE!!! I've never seen something move so fast. Its turtley neck shot out and curved around faster than a bolt of lightning. It was like a Death Adder competing with a Gaboon Viper for the gold medal in the Fastest-Striking Snake Olympics.

Oh, yeah. He's a snapper.

There's a pond right behind the school. I hope this Critter From The Black Lagoon has returned home by the time I get to school tomorrow. When that razor-clawed demon bit my shoe, I almost peed a little in my pants. Good thing I make a pit stop every day before we leave school. When #1 put this picture on my desktop (thank you OH SO MUCH, my loving son), I got all goose-bumpy. He zoomed in. We both squealed, "It's HIDEOUS!"

Thank the Gummi Mary, that beast didn't sink his sharp beak into me. My grandpa always said that if a snapping turtle got ahold of you, he wouldn't let go until it thundered.


DPA said...

I remember finding turtles of various sorts in my grandmother's yard, and poking at them with sticks to determine whether they were snappers. You're supposed to use something that's not attached to your body to conduct that little test, HM. And you'd have been screwed if he'd gotten a grip on you, considering that the thunder had stopped.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Don't I know it!

But sometimes, you gotta take the advice of Tom Cruise, and just say, "What the f*ck!", and run a house of prostitution for your Future Enterprisers business, or jump on Oprah's couch, or poke a snapper with your toe.