Shell Shocked Snappy

Wine Coolers, jello shots, and reluctant repeat sips from your first can of Budweiser help melt teen shyness away. But pet snapping turtles aren’t ninth graders in junior high who haven’t got into the puberty party yet, either.

            At this point, Matilda, a twelve-year-old entrepreneur and inventor of a suction sticking party ball strobe light machine called Party Magic, was willing to blow some of her Kickstarter startup money on a Past Life Regression consultation with an Animal Communicator at a nearby Crystal Shop in Ridgefield, CT to get her new pet snapping turtle, Snappy, to come out of his shell already, because changing his name from Waxy to Snappy wasn’t helping.

            More than anything, Matilda wanted to boogie board in Australia, her mama’s home country, along Mother’s Beach (30 minutes north of Melbourne) for her parents’ ten-year anniversary. Yet, she didn’t feel safe in those jellyfish-infested waters without a trustworthy snapping turtle to ward off attacks, by her side, knowing their preference for scarfing up electric, purple haze stingers.

            The seventy-something, bushy-haired, frumpy, shawl-strangled Sedona sun wrinkled transplant, Animal Communicator Talks With Toads, lounges out in her cubby-sized office within a crystal shop in nearby Ridgefield, CT, and takes of her bifocal glasses to examine Snappy The Turtle more closely.

            Matilda reveals hiding him in her old beat-up backpack, knowing his tendency to fart uncontrollably (especially around strangers, which she considered a reason for why Snappy The Turtle’s head was hid in perpetual shame, so often).  

            Talks With Toads says, “Matilda, over the phone you said that Snappy won’t come out of his shell around strangers.”

            Matilda says, “I’ve offered him lobster rolls from Stew Leonard’s, smoked nova from Russ and Daughters, and bought him the Tony Robbins audiobook box set (which wasn’t cheap, either), so I’m running out of options, hêre.

            “Our first Kornbluth family vacation to Australia is tomorrow, and I don’t know what to do, because Snappy is my second line of defense against all those jellyfish in Australia after the jellyfish nets (which aren’t even available in the beaches in Bondi, and that’s where all the serious boogie board action happens, anyway).

            “My parents wanted to get married in Australia, where my mom is from originally, yet my Grandma shot it down. She calls my dad and says, “Australia is a long trip from New York, Scoops, and your dad doesn’t love you that much.”

            “Then my dad made a compromise with my mom and says, “If we have boy one day, we’ll hire Crocodile Dundee for the circumcision, just to hear a room of Jews say, “Now, that’s a knife. You can chop it all off with that thing.”

            Talks With Toads spits out a deep, weighty laugh, opening up her throat chakra more than any downward dog pose ever could, and says, “Does Snappy ever come out of his shell around your daddy, or does he get intimidated by larger-than-life comedians, too?

            “I saw his performance at the Montreal Comedy Festival on YouTube and coughed up a lung in the process. He made such a strong, funny man impression the last time your family dropped by the crystal shop. And I don’t care for most stand-up comedy these days.

            “Plus, how creepy is the comic Anthony Jeselnik, knowing that he considers psychic surveys on how many missing children they’ve seen through their carrot cards as being the height of God-loving hilarity today?”

            Matilda says, “In Anthony Jeselnik’s defense, God commands his chosen people to forsake the counsel of psychics in Deuteronomy, but my dad told me it was Kosher to make an exception, in Snappy The Turtle’s defense.”

            Talks With Toads does her best to shrug off a smart-ass Jewess rubbing God’s law in her face with such effortless fluency, and decides to plow forward with her Past Life Regression reading for Snappy The Turtle so she can get back to watching some bestiality horse-on-man porn on her lunch break, which now can’t come soon enough.

            Talks With Toads grabs a sapphire crystal from a cramped, unorganized drawer that represents the entire kitchen sink of healing, past life reading gemstones known to mankind, and places it on Snappy The Turtle’s shell.

            Talks With Toads says, “I see a Deadhead at Giant Stadium in a soup truck RV called Terrapin Soup, blowing high grade, seventy-five-dollar-an-eighth weed into Snappy The Turtle’s face again and again as the live version of Scarlet Begonia’s ‘From Cornell 77’ blasts on the tape deck in the background.

            “I stopped going to shows after I stopped smoking weed, myself.”

            Matilda says, “After my second birthday, my dad took me to a Dead show in Bethel Woods, in upstate New York. I pointed at a dinged-up-looking Deadhead sucking down a nitrous balloon and said, “Birthday.”

            And my dad said, “No, Burnout Day.”

            Talks With Toads unleashes another full throaty laugh again and says, “Wait a minute. No, he can’t be.”

            Matilda’s interest in Talks With Toad’s Past Life Regression Reading has reached the peak interest and she says, “What do you see now? Is the Deadhead owner feeding Snappy The Turtle’s head with a sheet of acid, or what?”

            Talks With Toads takes a deep breath, doing her best to conceal her startled state as she pulls back her long, tangled grey hair and utters, in a whispery, barely audible tone, “The Deadhead owner is serving Snappy The Turtle’s family for dinner.”

            Matilda jumps out of her chair in a bewildered state of dísgust and yells, “I thought Deadheads ate grilleđ cheese sandwiches after Dead shows, when they got the munchies.”

            Talks With Toads says, “Munchies don’t happen when you’re on four tabs of acid, dear. Hold on—I see a line of Deadheads around the parking lot in Giant Stadium, waiting for this Terrapin Turtle Soup truck to serve bowls of turtle soup to cure more endless bad trips on Hęrculean amounts of acid. 

            “The Merry Pranksters used to spike garbage cans full of fruit punch with acid during three-hour Dead jam sessions back in the day, before you tripped over shit throughout the cable car-lined streets of San Francisco.

            “Eventually, the college dropout hippies who weren’t banking on replacing Santana anytime soon became howling, starved lunatics, left with no other choice but to eat stray cats behind the dumpster at Mu Shu York’s.

            “Soon after, a famed chef from New Orleans, Gumbo Greg, who went on to become the executive chef at the Philly Club for years before opening his own restaurant in North Beach (Chowder Panisse), gave Jerry Garcia the idea of serving one of his freaked-out tripping groupies some turtle soup in their house on Haight Ashbury to cure her bad trip, after doing the same for Dr. John during Jazz Fest once, after he curled himself up into ball on stage, thinking that he’d turned into psychedelic, night-tripping crawfish. “Crawfish (you know: shrimp with more personality) is similar to John Mayer teaming up with Grateful Dead and Company, injecting Scruffy Smooth with a dose of much-needed personality.”            Snappy The Turtle finally snaps out of his shell and yells, “Thanks for the flashback, bitch.”

Michael Kornbluth

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