A Desert Tortoise

Submissions Now Open for Issue #2
January 24, 2018
After the Fire
May 22, 2018

A Desert Tortoise

I am a zoologist. Probably Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, teleported from my comfortable office seat in a low grade office to the middle of a desert – I am a creature that is tired of seeing itself. Its eye opens only unto within. I am an intruder into its acts of self lust.

“There is no point waiting for the handsomest being. Time is passing by, and even the handicapped is welcome,” it says. “Jesus and other gods came by just once, cheaters! Where is the hunchback, the one-eyed, the legless? Where is the old in your town, the homeless and the outcast? I have my humongous body and heart with me, and I have my eyes at the horizon. Someone will come.”

I am somewhere between 1807 and 1873. I am yet to see the first Benz Patent-Motorwagen on the road, or an Olympics or a Nobel Prize. I equate fast time to the galloping of horses, or the lightning strikes of desert horned vipers. I’m still haunted by the Draculas. The speed of shutterbugs or how their eye is an external storage for plug and play of middle class longings of the 20th and 21st centuries, is beyond me. But, a new found creature now throbs in my hand, marking a moment of discovery. It is a variant of the tortoise species found in the desert. What petty losers we are, our mediocre religious names make their way to the animal kingdom and corrupt the food chain with ego.

I pick up the tortoise and drop it in a nearby oasis. “Goodbye, dear friend,” I say. “The water body, a road open at all ends is your escape route. Choose your path and travel. Meet you somewhere in the African or American continent, in a cool valley where, when I kneel on the riverbed as a thirsty soul, you come and splash a pound of water for me to know.”