January 11, 2016, Prescott-I had a job today, then it was cancelled. In honour of that, I tended to small business items, like getting the drivers for my printer re-installed in my laptop. Now, however, it’s time for a tale about a turtle, a bull snake and their minder.
Prompt # 3: “It was most assuredly NOT my doing!”, fumed Dr. Pletenick, the lead herpetologist at San Saba Reptile Sanctuary. The broken glasses, which belonged to his chief assistant, Gret (short for Margaret) Artursson, were a source of minor tension around the center, as she had left them on his desk, by mistake, before having to unexpectedly head home, yesterday. Gret, at only 22, was facing cataract surgery, in a month. Her other pair of glasses were at home, 27 miles away, east of San Saba, which, as anyone familiar with the area knows, is tantamount to going to Timbuktu.
Ross Pletenick, for all his expertise about things reptilian, was a bit of that ilk himself, when it came to dealing with human beings. Gret thought to herself that, were it not for the lucre coming from her job, and her own love of turtles and tortoises, she would be far away from THAT creature, and THIS place. It was not the first time old Pletenick had dismissed her plight. Yet, the insurance was bounteous, and would make her surgery that much more affordable.
Her unusual medical history was outlined in some obscure records, some of which were written in Icelandic, regarding her father’s line. “There aren’t too many of us Arturssons in the world”, thought Gret, “but we are said to be descended from the old Anglo-Saxon king, himself. How his descendants got up to Iceland, I’ll never figure out. Maybe some of them drifted over to Ireland, after the Norman invasion, and went north with the monks.”
Her reverie was broken by the nudge of one of her favourite turtles, Micah. The juvenile leatherback had been rescued from the Gulf, off Dauphin Island, following the Deepwater Horizon fiasco. The Mid-Texas desert was an odd place of refuge, indeed, for a sea creature, but here he was, having been brought out here by a Gulf native, who had relocated to Odessa, but had no room for a marine turtle.
“Let’s play some nudge the beach ball, Babykins”, Gret cheerfully chirped to her chelonian friend, “then I must get over to check on the Aldabrans, referring to the three Indian Ocean giant tortoises who had been brought here by the Bush Brothers, following the Tsunami of 2004. So, the two rolled the beach ball back and forth,for about 30 minutes, it being Micah’s favourite pastime. Then it was back to the salt water pool with him. Dr. Pletenick, for his part, was busy tending a pregnant bull snake, whom he goofily referred to as Cow Snake. Gret rolled her eyes quite frequently, on this job.
Twenty minutes after setting the sea turtle back in his safe haven, Gret was sitting out on the deck, relaxing with a cool iced dark roast coffee. That was one saving grace about Dr. Ross Pletenick. He knew how to whip up a mean pot of Joe. “I think I will come back here, after the surgery”, she mused, “after taking out a pair of dice, and randomly rolling snake eyes.” Then, she called her father, for a ride home.