Turtle crossing the road

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sauntering up to Highway 614, he considered it just another flat terrain over which he must cross to reach his destination. Raising his head, he took a whiff. No familiar aroma. In fact, no aroma at all. A “tap, tap, tap,” with his beak-like nose dispelled any notion of it being liquid. Contrarily, it was hard. “Tap, tap, tap,” again.

Joseph Wiggins, or “JoJo,” had just rounded a curve headed south on Highway 614, his log truck swaying slightly with a fresh load of pulpwood. Hoping to get one more load before quitting time, he pressed the accelerator. The old “Mac” responded with a surge of sound and power, screaming its presence to the passing houses.

As the turtle ventured a front left leg onto the pavement, he attempted a hold with his extended claws, to no avail. Pushing with his rear legs, he slid himself onto the hard surface, the underside of his shell scraping, and plumped down like a see-saw. A soft, hollow “thud” sounded as he landed flat, legs extended, head outstretched. He was on the road.

One mile away, JoJo was lost in thought. “Shoulda’ never said yes,” he thought, reflecting on the request of his sister to participate in her wedding. He despised being dressed in fancy attire and paraded before a reserved crowd, pretending to look blissful. “ Wonder if she will demand a haircut.” Glancing out the window at a cornfield, he noticed four turkeys strolling across. The CB crackled. Scratching his elbow, he changed grip on the steering wheel.

Glancing across, the turtle realized this hard expanse lasted but a few feet. He lifted himself, starting across the road at .068 mph. Left front, right rear, right front, left rear. A slight rumble was felt underneath his belly.

Barreling down the highway, JoJo noticed a dark object on the road where tires normally run. He started drifting left to avoid contact, but resumed course due to an approaching car.

The road had gone from gentle vibration to thundering roar as the turtle instinctively retracted one head and four legs into his shell leaving the front flap open just enough to peer out. “What the heck?” he thought.

To be continued …