Once, a while ago, so long ago that my Grampa recalls it vaguely, everything was pretty much the same as it is now. Except for a few things. Some of these things that were different were the turtles. They weren't so different. They still had noses and ate bugs and moved slowly just like now. The only difference really was that they didn't have shells. So they looked something like this, I guess.
And this turtle here, his name is Anthony. He's the turtle this story is about. All the other turtles have stories about themselves, of course, but it would take me five years to tell you even half of them, and thirteen years more to tell you all the endings. Besides that, you should probably go to sleep soon. So I will tell you just about Anthony tonight.
Anthony lived with his brothers and sisters in a place called Turtletown, which is about 27 miles east of Schenectedy. But you won't find Turtletown on any map. Many maps don't even have Schenectedy on them. Turtletown was a pleasant and beautiful place with many colorful flowers and cool clear ponds. Just as now the turtles passed their moments quite happily.
Well, not all their moments. Sometimes a hungry fox or two would come by. And sometimes it would rain and become cold. Worst of all, sometimes a hungry fox or two would come by and it would rain and become cold, all at once! But there seemed to be nothing that could change these things.
And not being the type that dwells upon misfortune, Anthony, and all his brothers and sisters, lived in their happy moments - even though they had sore throats and so on sometimes.
Well now, Anthony was out walking one day, searching up some munchies and humming, and what do you think? Well, it almost goes without saying that suddenly a long, pointed rocket swooped out of the sky and landed very near by.
Anthony's little red eyes blinked a few times. He was surprised and said, "Holy Smokes!" He forgot all about hunting for munchies, but did keep on humming. And he walked over to the rocket. When he got there a big purple man with three eyes, three ears, three noses, three mouths, three arms, and three legs came out from the rocket.
He bent down and picked Anthony up. Anthony said, "What's happenin', man?" The purple man laughed heartily. He laughed so much that Anthony laughed too. When they stopped laughing, the purple man said, "Thripdipple!" They started to laugh again. Then Anthony's new friend took Anthony into the rocket.
Anthony's friend went to a chair and sat down. He put Anthony on one of his shoulders. There were many buttons on the walls. Anthony's friend pushed a button. Then he said, "Thripdipple!" Then he pushed another button and said, "Thripdipple!" He pushed seventeen more buttons. Anthony helped his friend. They said "Thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple thripdipple!"
Then the rocket shook and roared up through the cosmos. And in no time at all it seemed (and in actuality was) the rocket became still. Anthony knew they had landed. His friend stood up. Anthony was still on his shoulder. They went to the door.
What a sight! Anthony's friend put his hands out and said, Thripdipple!" Anthony began to hum. They walked to the corner. There were other men and women at the corner, and they were standing in a queue. Anthony guessed that it was a bus stop. And as sure as your Aunt Matilda wears tennis shoes in the bathtub, he was right.
Anthony and his friend got on a bus. His friend said 'Thripdipple!" to the bus driver and they both chuckled. Then Anthony stuck out his tongue and everyone on the bus laughed at that. Anthony and his friend went to a seat.
Now they traveled on the bus for some time. Anthony stopped humming and listened to two women who were sitting in front of him. This is what they were saying:
"Well, anyway, thripdipple, thripdipple thripdipples over thripdipple. They thripdippled last thripdipple."
"Oh, I didn't thripdipple that. I thripdippled thripdipple thripdipple, and she didn't thripdipple me."
"Well, you thripdipple, thripdipple is so busy thripdippling thripdipple, she doesn't have a thripdipple to thripdipple."
"Oh, how thripdippling!"Soon enough, however, Anthony's friend got up. The bus stopped and they got out. They were in front of a glorious house. They went to the door and Anthony's friend knocked. A voice from inside called, "Thripdipple!" Then Anthony's friend opened the door and they went in.
Such a splendid room! A wise looking old man with three fluffy pink beards was sitting on a pillow in a corner. Anthony's friend bowed to the man and said, "Thripdippleness!" Anthony said, "Hey, hey, hey!" They all laughed.
"I am Thripdippleness', said the old man, 'and this place you have come to is called Thripdipple. It is a planet far in the skies in the cluster of stars named Alpha Schenectedy. We folk are called thripdipples, and we all speak the language called thripdipple. But I can also speak turtle."
"When's lunch?" said Anthony.
"We thripdipples have a favorite thing we like to do", said Thripdippleness. "More than anything, we like to thripdipple. I can't explain to you what it means because only thripdipples can understand. Anyway, I decided today to thripdipple you turtle folk. Now listen to my story:
"Many years ago when I was your age, thripdipples didn't have the kind of rockets we have now. We used to have round ones. And children, you know, like to have toys and smaller things to play with. So we thripdipples gave our children small, round rockets, like this one." Thripdippleness reached in one of his ears and pulled something out.
It was green, It was round on the top, and flat on the bottom. It had one window in the front and one window in the back. And two on one side and two on the other. How many is that?
"But you see," said Thripdippleness, "after about five thousand billion years, the thripdipples decided to have long pointed rockets for a change. Then the children wanted small, long pointed rockets. So now we have a big pile of small round rockets that the thripdipple children don't play with anymore. So I would like to thripdipple you turtles with them."
"Righteous! said Anthony. Anthony's friend took Anthony in his hand. He gave him to Thripdippleness. The Thripdippleness put Anthony inside the small round rocket. "All dressed up and nowhere to go," said Anthony.
Well, the rest of the story is plain to see. Thripdippleness and Anthony's friend filled up 46 big bags with all the small round rockets the thripdipple children didn't play with any more. They put the bags in the long pointed rocket then Anthony and his friend went in. Anthony's friend sat in his chair. This time he only pushed one-half of one button. They both said, "Thrip!" Then the rocket shook and roared through the cosmos.
When they arrived back in Turtletown, Anthony called all his brothers and sisters. Then Anthony's friend put each and every one inside a small round rocket. And now, even if a hungry fox or two comes by, and even if it rains and becomes cold all at once, the turtle folk don't mind. They are safe and sound inside their thripdipples.
written by my co-conspirator Numb - pictures by me
Happy Christmas and a Better New Year to all
ps: "In our civilization, and under our form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office."