I posted this story a couple of years ago, but there is a LOST TORTOISE sign on my block again today, so it bears revisiting.
So here are some things that happened this afternoon that I am not lying about:
Ben came in from getting the mail and said, “There’s a giant tortoise loose outside.”
“Oh. Okay. What?”
“There’s a giant tortoise loose outside. Come look.”
I went and looked. There was a giant tortoise loose outside. He was walking through the yard across the street, and going pretty fast. There were four other neighbors standing around watching, two of whom had been following him since he walked through their their own yard three blocks away. Nobody knew what to do. So we all stood and watched for a while longer.
“Is he a pet?” “Do we call animal control?” “Can we pick him up, or will he bite?” There were a lot of questions, and nobody had answers.
People started to slow down as they drove past, and a few took pictures. We asked everyone, “Is this your giant tortoise?” After the third one, when they said no, I started adding, “Would you like a giant tortoise?” No takers.
A woman in a housecoat walked over. We asked: “Is this your tortoise?” She said: “No. Mine’s in the backyard. But it might be my son’s.” She walked over to him, checked his shell for markings, and said: “No. He don’t look like Torty.”
At around this time, the giant tortoise was starting to walk into the street, which we tried to discourage him from doing, because people drive fast on our street. Eric, who apparently is a personal trainer and my neighbor, picked him up and turned him back toward grass. He strained to do so, and estimated the giant tortoise’s weight at about 60 pounds.
Just then, another neighbor came from around the corner. He asked: “Is that Steve’s giant tortoise?” To which we responded: “Maybe?” He got a good look at the giant tortoise and said, “I’ll put him in my truck and bring him to Steve’s. If it’s not his, then at least he’ll be safe there. If you start seeing signs for a lost tortoise, call the number and tell them he’s at Steve’s.”
We agreed to do just that. As he drove off, our next-door neighbor leaned in to me and whispered: “Do you know who Steve is?”
“I do not,” I whispered. “But do you know that at least three of our neighbors own giant tortoises?”