Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

i use sea-turtle imagery too much.

The eggs still haven’t hatched, yet. They aren’t even stirring in their shells. I think they’re long dead. It’s been almost three months since I dug up the eggs in the dark.
I was still in college in Houston, and I drove half an hour to Galveston to fly kites on the beach when I was stressed out. This was always at night. My kite was 8 feet long and I kept it coiled like a sea monster in the trunk of my car. It had a picture of an alien and a mushroom in the rounded tip, but you never saw that thing at night. At night, all you saw was the silvery tail against the black night sky, unless the kite was flying in front of a cloud. Then the tail was a black ribbon. Silver rippling ribbon. Black rippling ribbon. Then silver, again.
I walked down the shore barefoot in the dark at 11:30 pm, trying my best to keep the kite from smashing into the side of the hotels that had pushed against the beaches.
One night, just before I was moving out of the dorms I got stressed out about the future. One chunk of life was over, and I was going north to Dallas from college to be another corporate drone. I was shit scared. I drove down to Galveston as fast as I could. I was walking along the beach staring up at my kite, and I tripped over a fucking sea turtle.
The creature didn’t make a sound when I did it. I felt like I had tripped over a large chunk of driftwood. It wasn’t driftwood. It was a big fucking sea turtle with a long, black, leathery shell like a gladiator’s shield and four large paddle feet. If I had stepped three feet to the right, I’d have broken an ankle stepping into the nest with the eggs. As it stood, all I managed to do was stub my toe on a turtle.
My kite drifted off into the dark. When I fell, I let it loose from my hand. When I saw the turtle, I stopped thinking about kites.
The turtle was laying eggs. I listened to the squishy plopping of an egg emerging from the turtle, and falling into the hole.
The turtle looked straight at me. I looked straight at it. I didn’t move. The turtle kept laying eggs.
When it was done – still staring at me – it dragged its long body down the beach towards the water. It hadn’t buried the eggs it had laid. I had scared it off from burying its eggs.
I took off my shirt and gathered six damp eggs in a wad of sand. I buried the rest like I figured the mother would if she could. I went back to my car, and took my eggs back to the dorm room, and put them in an ice chest and a little lamp inside to create some heat.
My roommate had already moved out a few days ago. Nobody really noticed anything.
I took the eggs with me when I drove north to Dallas and my new apartment and my new job.


Jacquelyn Benson said...

did you have them scrambled or sunny-side up?

J m mcdermott said...


They'll hatch someday. I hope, when they do, that they're zombie turtles.

it's understandable that they're slow to hatch, because zombies are traditionally slow, ans turtles are also traditionally slow.

taken together, the slowness of zombie turtles must be staggering.