these turtle games (are tearing me apart)*

So: the turtles in the hotel pool are messing with me.

Last Wednesday-Thursday (that mushy middle of the work week) I was waiting for a cab to take me from work to my physiotherapist. I sat down at the lip of the two-tiered turtle/koi pond in the lobby of the hotel when a group of children skated by. Look! They shouted, pointing at the water. They’re humping each other!

I twisted my head around to look. I assumed they were talking about the turtles and not the koi or a couple of humans who’d stumbled into the pond. The turtles were definitely not humping one another, but a small, light-shelled fellow had climbed on top of one the big ones, and from that elevated vantage he was staring me down.

It appears that after several months of being looked at by me, the turtles had decided to look back. Maybe they’d figured out that there was an entire world above the concrete lip, and they were taking stock to see if it was worth invading. Probably not. What does a hotel lobby have that a few turtles want? Aside from the lost & found box behind the front desk. And of course, the sweet taste of panic-flavoured human flesh.

Have you ever competed in a staring contest with a turtle? It’s a loser’s game. Even if the turtle turns its head, you can’t be sure that those jet beads aren’t still fixing you in their gaze. And when the turtle finally slides off his friend’s back and slides into the water, it’s not out of defeat. He’s simply toyed with you enough. Just long enough to make sure that everyone in the hotel lobby has witnessed you in a staring contest with a reptile.**

*Or: Turtle Games Will Tear Us Apart (Again)

**Or whatever those primordial creatures of armour and slime are.