Make A U-Turn—A Mort Laitner Short Story

Make A U- Turn!

I typed “Holiday Inn on Hutchinson Island” onto my Garmin’s screen. Within seconds directions sent from a satellite circling the earth appeared on the screen. My Garmina’s soft voice started to give me commands. I listened intently to her melodic tone give me directions. I said, “Trav, Garmin is one of man’s greatest inventions.”

He replied, “Yeah, the wheel, fire and Garmin.”

I continued driving my topless blue Miata listening to a sixties rock group called the Turtles. They sang their hit, “So Happy Together.” My son, sang out loud,

“Imagine me and you, I do I think about you day and night, it’s only right To think about the girl you love and hold her tight So happy together”

“Son those were the days when rock groups copied the Beetles and were named after animals, like the Birds, the Monkeys, and the Animals.”

“I’ve heard of those groups.” he replied.Then Travis screamed, “Dad, watch out for the turtle!”

I swerved narrowly missing it. The turtle had made it to the yellow line dividing the two lane highway. It measured about fifteen inches in diameter. I wondered would it successfully traverse the rest of the road without getting squished.

As I pulled off the road, I asked”Should we stop and move that turtle off the road?”

“Son, I remember as a kid snagging a twenty pound snapping turtle in Black Pond. I stuck a two-inch thick branch in front of its mouth and watched it snap the stick in two.”

Trav replied, “Luckily you didn’t put you finger near its mouth.”

“Dad I just read a story online about two teenage Carolina girls who swam in their backyard pool with their two pet turtles and got salmonella. They got diarrhea, vomited, and had a fever and stomach cramps. One developed kidney failure and spent eight days in the hospital.”
“I read in the Post about kids who got the salmonella by kissing turtles or putting them in their mouths. There is a federal law prohibiting the sale of one inch turtles because kids were trying to eat them. Trav remember when you found Tommy, the one-inch turtle in our back yard. You made him your pet. I remember how I recommended that we let Tommy Turtle swim in the pool, good exercise and some time out of the aquarium. Only later to realize that our Creepy Crawly sucked him in and Tommy drown.”

I felt guilty. I got out of the car. I found a long stick and pushed the reptile.





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