Thursday, December 22, 2011

Watch Out For Argyles--They Eat Turtles

I once had a turtle. His name was Lionel. I used to feed him peaches and take him for walks in the park. We played hide-and-seek in my one room house, and one day I watched him fall down the stairs--very slowly. He would fall, land on his back, rock back and forth to flip over, and promptly fall down to the next step. Twice a week I gave him baths on the porch, and generally, we had an idyllic life--except for the large cockroaches that liked to sneak in occasionally. I finally let Lionel go, because even the littlest turtle deserves its freedom.

The god Mercury invented the lyre from a turtle shell. I wonder what he did with the turtle. Hopefully he gave it a new shell and let it go. The planet Mercury doesn't have any turtles, at least as far as we know, although if some sort of life did live there, turtles would probably be likely candidates.

One day on Mercury is equivalent to 179 Earth days. That would be like if the sun went down twice a year instead of every twenty four hours. It would have to be a very hearty turtle whose shell could protect it from the 800 degree Fahrenheit days and the -290 degree nights. Perhaps it would be a turtle whose shell could open and close. A Mercurian Turtle's predator would probably be an argyle. Argyles are large angry creatures with teeth than can slice through stone. They are distinguishable by the pattern of large coloured diamonds in the fur on their backs. Argyles roll in pools of quicksilver (mercury) so that when night comes it will harden into a protective covering. If given the opportunity, argyles will eat humans too.

Lionel and I did come across one argyle when we were walking in the park one warm afternoon. Due to the lack of pools of mercury on Earth, however, the argyle had no protection and ran away rather than try to eat Lionel or me.

Now I am picturing you, surrounded by dust and sitting in a crater, playing a lyre, and walking your pet turtle as the very, very, very large sun sets very, very, very slowly on Mercury. Glittering comets streak through the sky as shining white lines, and a range of mountains peeks out from a crater in the distance. It is a beautiful, everlasting, afternoon. Oh, but watch out--there's an argyle right behind you.


  1. I miss Lionel. He was a good turtle. Always steady, never hurried. He had a good set of legs and skin as thick as nails.

    I wonder how he's doing...

  2. Haha, yes, quite a lovely turtle. I bet he misses baths... and walks in the arboretum... and peaches...and learning Latin vocabulary...