Saturday, March 20, 2010

CH 9: Turtledy Durdledy's Last Trip

One late afternoon, Turtledy Durdledy was walking along Johnson's Branch in Water Valley, Mississippi. He wasn't doing anything. Just walking. Then Turtledy Durdledy tripped and went flying into the branch.

"Aw yuck," he said, "branch muck!"

You see, even though Turtledy Durdledy was a turtle, he was not like other turtles. He hated the water and wore a baseball cap like real people boys and girls do.

He got off his back - no small feat - and crawled onto the bank. He took off his cap and shook it angrily. He heard his momma, who was fat, say in his head, "Now Turtledy Durdledy, don't get upset over the little stuff." He calmed down and looked to see what made him trip.

He saw an old lunchbox lying in the grass. It was made of aluminum and had pictures of a television show on it. He didn't have a television in his little home on Johnson's Branch, but he had seen shows before, through the window downtown at Fred's Dollar Store.

Turtledy Durdledy picked up the lunchbox and opened it. There was all kinds of weird stuff in there and a FIFTY DOLLAR BILL!

There were sheets of paper with tiny little pictures of Suns all over it. They looked like that sheet of stamps he saw while waiting for his momma at the Post Office on Blackmur Drive. He needed a new vest, and his momma needed Sears and Roebuck's address. His old yellow vest was all tore up being second hand and all. The postman had a long nose with black hairs sticking out of it. At first, he didn't want to give his momma the address.

"You live in a creek," he said. "What am I supposed to tell Sears? Turn left at a pile of junk and keep going until your feet get wet or you step on a dead dog? Uh, actually that WOULD work. OK, they're at 1334 E. 79th St., Chicago, IL 60619. You want me to write it down and tape it to your back?"

Anyway, Turtledy Durdledy saw stamps, and that's what the paper in the lunchbox looked like. He also found a harmonica and a brownie in it. Mmm, how he loved brownies. Now he knew his momma would whup his shell if she saw him gobbling that brownie down just then. Eating out of a strange lunchbox by a dirty creek. Oh well, he thought, what can one do? Smack, smack, smack he went, licking the chocolate off his pincher.

Turtledy Durdledy sat down by the branch and played harmonica and tried to think how he was going to spend the $50. He played and played and was having fun. The music seemed to flow from his harmonica and dance on the water before him. The sky turned green and the crickets began to play along with their legsongs.

"Wow," Turtledy Durdledy said, "I'm really STONED!"

And he was, you see, for that brownie came from a batch mixed with a quarter ounce of Red Dirt marijuana, a locally grown herb. The owner of the lunchbox was just back from a trip to Memphis. To avoid the monsters that he just knew were waiting for him, Jesse, a custodian at Coffeeville Elementary, heroically jumped off his Amtrak car near the Water Valley station.

Paranoid fantasies zonkpitted Jesse's mind halfway into his 90-minute train ride. Oh that evil Sun acid. He scored it (and the brownie too) from a black man with silver hair on White Avenue in downtown Memphis. He and the man sat in the front seat of a blue Lincoln Town Car and talked about the Redbirds baseball team for awhile. It was polite to connect with people, Jesse thought, not wanting to die.

But of course, Turtledy Durdledy didn't know about any of that. It just looked yummy. The brownie took him to a place that was better than any place he'd ever been before. And he'd been to Goldsmith's Department Store in Memphis.

"I feel so good," he told a tree. He imagined it was like eating ice cream on Christmas day while getting a blow job from that big blonde at the Big Star Supermarket, and that was good.

The afternoon Sun beat down on Turtledy Durdledy and he began to get hot. He was thirsty and wished he had some gum. Maybe those little Suns in the lunchbox were like gum, he thought. He grabbed a sheet and began chomping on it like it was taffy.

Thirty-seven minutes later, Turtledy Durdledy threw down his harmonica and screamed, "I AM GOD!"

Our fabulous little fellow reverted back to pre-history and pranced about the branch like a monkey. He liked the monkeys at the circus. He liked the clowns better, he thought, and decided to wear clown makeup and be funny. Turtledy Durdledy grabbed a handful of mud and smeared it all over his face. Crouching down there, after awhile, he had a thought pop into his head. It all made sense. Sure. How come he never realized this before?

He hated white people. This thought was cricket clear and more urgent than a bibbling brook. He hated everything they stood for. He hated their soapy smell in the morning. He hated when they blew their noses into white handkerchiefs. He hated the garbage they threw off the bridge into Johnson's Branch. He hated the songs they sang on Sundays. He hated white people. Period.

Turtledy Durdledy then vowed to kill as many white people as he possibly could. And he would do it today. Right now.

Slinking back to his little house, he grabbed his momma's kitchen knife. A big one. He took off his red ball cap and put his momma's dress-up hat, the one made of straw with a big brim and flower poking out. He hid his eyes and slouched towards downtown.

White people were all about, buying birthday cards at Fred's, getting dinner at the Early Bird Diner, standing in line at the Liberty Theater. They smelled of Zest, of Ivory, Coast. One old lady smelled like mayonaise.

Turtledy Durdledy walked into the Fisk Five and Dime and with his $50 bought a really nice radio and some batteries. The storekeeper, Mr. Jack Owens, knew something was funny. A turtle in a hat with a fifty dollar bill. But it was getting late and he wanted to see Hee Haw for a change, so he took the turtle's money, shooed him away and locked the door behind him.

Turtledy Durdledy went over to a little red-headed girl waiting with her momma in line at the picture show. The marquee said: DOG DAY AFTERNOON.

Turtledy Durdledy turned on his radio and old mountain music headed his way. He saw the music coming. There was a pink cloud of smoke undulating and chirping out of the speakers like some phantom ant trail marching through his ears. He started to do a jig and tucked his momma's knife inside his shell where white people couldn't see it.

The little girl giggled and tugged at her momma's dress.

"Look at that funny, little turtle, mother."

Turtledy Durdledy kept dancing and people started to gather around. You see, for Turtledy Durdledy is not like regular people boys and girls. He is something very different. He is a turtle that wears human clothing - today his momma's hat - and he talks and acts like real people persons. He also harbors murderous desires and is zonkpitted out of his mind on evil Sun acid.

The white people clapped their hands to the music and laughed at his little jig dance. Suddenly their delight turned to fright when before their eyes, they saw our funny little fellow Turtledy Durdledy jump on the little red-headed girl.

"Today the shell comes off!" he screamed. "Do you people like what you see?"

After prying him off the little girl, Water Valley had a lovely afternoon lynching the retched reptile. A fine stew was made and quickly et up. Of course with all that evil Sun acid in the meat, some became completely zonkpitted. Some men took off their shirts. They painted whore-ish looking faces on their stomachs, put huge hats over their torsos and whistled the theme from The Bridge Over the River Kwai out of their bellybuttons. But for others, most really, they never even noticed.

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