I Am My Turtle’s Slave

I’ve posted about Shelvin, my pet Eastern Painted Turtle and friend for 34 years (yes, I’ve had him since I was 6), but I don’t think that I’ve ever gotten into our disturbing dynamic. I thought that I was training him, but no, he was training me.

Shelvin rainbow

Shelvin with a suncatcher covering him in a rainbow. The thing that looks like French Toast is his floating island.

34 is a venerable age in captivity for his species (they usually live to 25), but except for a short bout of shell rot 5 years ago, he’s been in great health. He’s also spoiled rotten. I feed him, but I wait until he sees me and gets excited. He swims to the edge of his tank and pecks on the glass. I have friends do this as well, so now he gives the impression that he likes people.
doggo turtle
He does not like people. He doesn’t like being touched or held. It’s a miracle that he even tolerates this from me (when I clean his tank). It’s all a lie, an act to make me believe that he loves me. He doesn’t love me, he loves food.

A few years ago, he got smart. Now whenever I pass by, he gets all excited and pecks on the tank. I have memory problems (probably from a combination of my medicine and the half dozen concussions I’ve had at my job, teaching special ed is not for the spineless), so I don’t always remember if I fed him. Either way, I want to reinforce the fake love of people, so I feed him again.

I am manipulated. I am bamboozled. The reptile with a brain smaller than a marble has outwitted me. Oh what a fool am I!

doggo turtleboozled

Who cares? I still love him. If he wants to lead, I’ll follow.

ALL HAIL SHELVIN! I for one welcome our turtle overlords.

Hey, did you know that I write novels and short stories? It’s true, and they are super fantastic awesome (if you like Fantasy and History). Wanna help out a poor, lonely, but devastatingly handsome author? Buy one of my novels. My latest is The Watchmage of Old New York, a fairly upbeat historical-fantasy-mystery set in 1855 Manhattan. It was published by Second Star Books in 2015, and the sequel is due out early next year. 

My debut novel was Song of Simon, published by Damnation Books (now Caliburn Press) in 2013. Except sequels in the future, as soon as I get my publishing rights back (that’s a story for another time).

Buying novels from indie writers helps them pay the rent, and encourages them not to drink their liver into mush. Do it for the rent. Do it for the liver.

Watchmage blackSoS Practice Ad 1

 

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