Snapping Turtle by Meg Pokrass and Jeff Friedman
On our video call, my son told me he found a snapping turtle baby in a nearby creek. “Why were you at a creek in this weather, and what were you doing that you spotted a baby snapping turtle?” Since he was little he was always climbing to the highest branch of a tree, or skateboarding down a hill at night, pushing the limits. He ignored my questions and held it up in his hand. “They’re illegal here,” he said proudly. The snapping turtle inched along his palm, grazing on skin. “What do you plan to do with it when it gets snappier?” I asked. “One day your pet will be able to take a big chunk out of your leg.” The snapping turtle looked at me with his cute prehistoric face as if to say, “Can it, granny. I’ve got a good deal. I’m not going to blow it.” “Mom, don’t be so melodramatic,” he said. “Herbie already loves me. And isn’t he adorable?” He was cute like a toy version of a tyrannosaurus rex. “What are you feeding it?” I asked. “Raw chicken.” “What are you going to do with Herbie when he turns into a killer.” “He’ll stay here with me,” he said, and he won’t kill anything.” I didn’t say anything else. I was looking out the window, keeping an eye out for my weekly ride to the doctor. “Ouch,” he said as Herbie nipped the skin on his palm. He detached the critter and held him upside down to the camera. If looks could kill, I thought. “He’s helpless really,” my son said, and then my camera froze.
Meg Pokrass is the author of six flash fiction collections, an award-winning collection of prose poetry, two novellas-in-flash and a forthcoming collection of microfiction, Spinning to Mars, recipient of the Blue Light Book Award in 2020.
Jeff Friedman’s eighth book, The Marksman, was published in November 2020 by Carnegie Mellon University Press. He has received numerous awards and prizes for his poetry, mini tales, and translations. Two of his micro stories were recently selected for the The Best Microfiction 2021.