Monday, February 19, 2018

The Old Man and the Turtle

The old man was always amazed at how stiff his joints had become as he aged, especially in the morning, even after a restful night's sleep.  Amazed at how his fingers seemed to have a will of their own, when he commanded them to bend.

He sat up in bed, taking a moment to realize when and where he was.  He felt a touch of comfort, when he realized that he needn't get ready and go to the university to teach. Instead he would wonder around the wastes, looking for food, or useful things, or whatever he might find.  It was far more exciting than teaching at the University.

For an old man, living in the post apocalypse, he did alright.  He lived alone, mostly, and had more comfort than most in this day and age.

He sat up, put some water on for tea, and sat on the porch reading a paper.  Not a newspaper, but something he had found in the ruins to the east.  A thesis about conical shaped re-entry vehicles, written in the 1960s apparently.  He found it quite interesting, and considered that some day, man would return to these concerns, but not for a long, long time.  Every now and then, he would glance out, take a sip of tea, and appreciate the beauty of the desert in the early morning sun.

He got ready for the day, and was considering in which direction he might find adventure, when he realized that adventure might have found him.  A small dust cloud was rising and approaching from the southwest.  Not something you saw every day.  The old man reached for his spyglass to get a better look.  Yep.  From this distance, it appeared to be a fat little turtle, racing along as fast as its wheels (? (too much dust to tell for sure)) could carry it.

It crossed the desert, closing the ground between them.  As it approached, it claimed more detail, an open hatch to the front, a small turret with a weapon of some sort in the center, and a heap of clutter strapped to the back of it.  It seemed to be heading straight for him, as if it knew he had taken up residence on top of the rock.  The turtle was truly a curious thing.

As it approached the foot of the mesa, the turtle disappeared from view.  There was enough breeze that he couldn't hear the thing either; he did not like that.  The old man scampered around, quietly, and found a vantage that provided some view of the activity.

Someone was climbing into the turret. Another person was standing outside of the turtle, which was in fact a small armored truck.  A box set on the ground, next to  the... soldier?  He wore the uniform of a soldier, and as he turned... No... She!  The soldier was a woman, and quite handsome at that.  Both facts that seemed at odds with the circumstances of the day.

Anyway, she turned and shouted to the top of the mesa, "Hello".  Several times in fact. The old man did not respond.  He watched quietly, curious as to her intent, admiring her beauty, and wondering how she knew anyone was on top of this little mesa.

He continued to watch, while she tried several times, shouting alternatively, "Hello", "Is anyone there?",  and "We have a package for you.".  He did not respond, and after a short wait, the soldier got back into the little turtle and zoomed off, back in the direction from which it first appeared.

The old man watched the turtle grow small, eventually disappearing altogether. 

He watched the box start to get dusty.  In time, he made his way back to his porch and munched on a couple of strips of salted lizard.  He liked salted lizard, though figured that the lizard wasn't too happy about the situation.

The old man leaned back in his chair, marveled at how blue the sky was, and admired the beauty of the desert in the morning sun.


  1. Nice story little story. Not all missions or games are about killing folks. :D

  2. Great stuff- tinged with melancholy too.



  3. Waiting for the next instalment...

  4. Thanks guys, working on some more bits at the moment.