A Post-Rainstorm Conversation With Buster The Tortoise

As readers may recall I finally made good this summer on a long-delayed plan to build our Russian tortoise Buster a 25-square-foot outdoor pen to liberate her from her unsatisfactory indoor confinement in a 3-square-foot aquarium.

Buster’s pretty much been loving the expanded living space ever since… well, at least as much as a grumpy tortoise can “love” anything. And in the wake of last night’s brief but torrential rainstorm I checked in on our rascally reptile to see how she weathered the wetness.

Me: Hey Buster! How ya do —?”

Buster: Where the hell you been? Get me the fuck inside.

Me: What?

Buster: You heard me. Get me the fuck out of this shit.

Me: But I thought you liked your new digs.

Buster: Yeah, liked is right. As in past tense. As in not after last night. What the fuck was that? You decide to hose down the backyard and drown me at midnight you bastard?

Me: Huh? No, that wasn’t me. That was the rain.

Buster: Ha. Right. That makes it all better. As if seven years of living inside a glass box inside a building I know what the fuck rain is. Assbag. Get me out of here. I’m drenched, everything’s drenched— and what was all that booming and flashing.

Me: That was thunder and lightning.

Buster: Oh right: thunder and lightning. Let me grab the dictionary and look those unfamiliar terms up, too! Whatever the hell they were it scared the shit out of me.

Me: Sorry.

Buster: No really. Literally. Look at those nuggets over there. Your thunder did that. Crackalacka-BOOM = projectile crapping. My colon thanks you.

Me: Whoa.

Buster: Whoa is right. As in “Whoa maybe Buster shouldn’t be left outside with all the wetness and the noise and the wetness and the noise and the —.”

Me: OK, I get it.

Buster: No, see I don’t think you do. Check it: See, I’m a tortoise. T-o-r-t-o-i-s-e. Land-based. Even more to the point: dry land-based. Dry being the operative word. Not that my ancestors in the wild deserts of Whereverthefuckistan didn’t have to deal with the occasional downpour, it’s just that they didn’t grow up removed from the elements for seven years and then whammo, ya know! They got accustomed to them. Me, not so much.

Me: Right.

Buster: Not only that but out there in all the sand and crap where they lived they could dig a burrow in like a dune or a hillside or some place where the water didn’t get to them. Me? I’m just here in a box with a a couple inches of bedding — entirely soaked now — and a little log slice for a cave. While that’s great for the 322.65 days of typical Southern California weather. Last night: FAIL.

Me: But I did put the board over your—.

Buster: Jackass.

Me: Hey!

Buster: Dickhead.

Me: Potty mouth!

Buster: Tard!

Me: Stop it! The board was supposed to help keep that area dry!

Buster: And don’t think I don’t appreciate such genius. It’s just that it didn’t really work all that great.

Me: Sorry.

Buster: Doofus!

Me: Sorry!

Buster: Yeah, but see, water that fell where the board wasn’t has this funny way of accumulating and moving along the path of least resistance. There’s probably a word for it that I don’t know.

Me: Osmosis.

Buster: Yeah, whatever. That path led to me pretty much. So, sorry might work for them scum-sucking red-eared sliders living la vida loca over in the Echo Park Lake muck, but not for me.

Me: Wait a minute. How do you know about the sliders? And la vida loca?

Buster: I hear things — but never mind that. Focus!

Me: On what.

Buster: Gah!  On making my life a little less waterlogged on days like this. You don’t have to move me inside if you at least take steps to keep my place drier. Like a tarp or something?

Me: On it!

Buster: Thank you!

Me: Anything else?

Buster: Yeah, since you’re asking. A hibiscus bloom in my Thanksgiving breakfast would be nice.

Me: Done.