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Dave the killer…

I’ve often promulgated myself as some sort of holier-than-thou path-side environmentalist. I’ve yammered on and on about removing trash which, in theory, might find a way to waterways and into the gullets of unsuspecting and innocent creatures.

This morning I’ve been knocked off my self-created pedestal.

A lovely Eastern Box turtle. I could have done something to save one, but instead did nothing to help. (Image from Western Carolina State University.)

While driving last night, I came across an Eastern Box turtle square in the middle of the road, its neck craned outward and upward in alarm as if to say ‘What the hell is that big thing coming toward me?’ I could see I would miss the large, beautiful and slow moving beast. I quickly scanned my rearview mirror. Cars were several hundred yards behind me; I’d have time to stop, put on my flashers, and pick up the turtle to accelerate its movement to the other side of the street.

But no. In my self-important haste I decided against it. Instead, I thought, I’ll check in on her/him on the return leg.

My errand done, I retraced my route to the very spot where the turtle was simply trying to move from Point A to Point B. I slowed to a near stop to survey if the creature had made it across safely.

To my undying horror, it had not. The spot was now a murder scene. The lovely turtle I could have saved had been run over, it’s shell exploded and the contents crushed over a small area. In that moment, a great sadness came over me.

I was the de facto killer, perhaps even moreso than the driver of the vehicle who actually committed the deed. All my posturing as a protector of animals was now muted and lessened. If only I’d stopped to gently lift the turtle on its merry way.

Instead, I became Dave the killer.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

2 Comments on Dave the killer…

  1. Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will
    forward this information to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have a great read.
    I appreciate you for sharing!

    • Well, thank you much. I go by the ‘scene of the crime’ with some frequency…and just wish I had stopped when I had the chance. I really appreciate that you read that post.

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