A toddler sized turtle stared out from inside of the grimy glass. Its shell was battered and worn, a sharp contrast to the shells of its younger tankmates. The other turtles paddled along the top of the water, kicked from the bottom to the surface and crawled onto a rocky ledge to rest.
Two boys stared with mouths agape at the prehistoric looking creature. They shared the same light brown hair and dark eyes of wonder as they observed the turtle.
“So big,” the older boy said.
“Whoa,” his brother agreed with a solemn nod, a boy of few words.
Their mother hovered nearby, a nervous hen clucking over her chicks, she agreed with her sons.
“I have never seen such an enormous turtle in a tank,” she reflected, excluding all previous trips to the zoo and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium.
The turtle was unnatural in the aquarium where tiny, silver fish darted between the other resident turtles, ranging in size from a small pancake to a medium pizza. Old Man Turtle managed to survive the past fifty years of hungry birds, chemical spills, plastic straws and acid rain only to end up wedged between some fake rocks and algae covered glass, literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“Oh no, can’t move. Turtle too big,” the older boy observed.
“Whoa,” his brother seconded his concerns.
Then to everyone’s surprise and delight, Old Man began to move. He stretched one limb and then the other, wiggling his powerful claws as he prepared to leave his nook. He extended his neck, draped in wrinkly skin. He emerged a glorious testament to the years to stand on his back limbs, reaching all the way to break the surface of the water.
He stood there, breathing in air through his royal beakish nostrils, surveying his world and subjects; finding only chickens and turtles, he returned to the water for another long rest.