I love my friend Anita Kim Klipfel (aka Carlotta Cream, Bubbles, Nit-Nit, or any combination of the three.) They say birds of a feather flock together and in some ways that was true with Anita and me. We met in 1979 as shy and artistic high school kids. That created our bond and everything else fell into place as we became inseparable best friends.
Memories create themselves as we share life experiences with our friends. Those memories then become embarrassing stories that are retold at parties and reunions, year after year, until old age wipes the mental hard-drive clean. One such story that Anita and I share is the Turtle kidnapping fiasco. Well, I prefer to call it an unauthorized adoption, but in the end it was me who suffered the most for getting involved with that little reptile in the first place
I don’t remember the exact year this tale began, but I do know we were new adults and thought a road trip to the Laughlin, Nevada casinos would be a great way to spread our wings and have some fun. We were dressed in our 1980’s mod hip couple outfits, me wearing tight white pants and Anita wearing sexy black elf boots with five-inch heels. Our long hair blew all over the place as we drove with the windows open in my newly polished 1979 metallic blue Datsun 310GX. At that moment in time we were two of the coolest shy kids in the world. So we thought.
About half way through our trip the highway passed over a mountain range that transformed the road into a steep and twisty roller coaster ride. Rocky hills on one side and death-defying cliffs on the other. Suddenly we spotted a large rock in the middle of the road. I quickly maneuvered the Datson around the object using my youthful reflexes and stopped on the shoulder of the road. To our surprise it wasn’t a rock at all. It was a Desert Tortoise.
Of course we had to save it from the oncoming vehicles, so I jumped out of the car and grabbed it. Whew…not only did we save a life, we risked our own lives by rescuing it. Feeling very proud of our accomplishment we happily continued on our journey, singing, laughing, talking, or whatever young mod hip 1980’s youth did.
Once in Laughlin, ready to party, we decided to leave the turtle in the car where it could enjoy the comfort and safety of its new surroundings. As a gesture of reassurance that we’d return, I picked up our new friend and rubbed its head gently with my fingertip and in return it pissed all over my tight white pants.
Looking back, I should have just drove over it.