Joshua Tree tortoise: waiting for an answer, or what real friendship is all about

My little reptile friend was racking his brains trying to give me the right answer. At least it seemed so. After an hour or two, I was about to lose my patience. Not that I was getting mad at the tortoise: after all, unlike me, it didn’t have such a highly developed brain. In other words, it was a pretty stupid piece of desert shit.

Johua Tree

On the other hand, the tortoise was my friend, and I had to accept it as it was, even if it’s dumber than dirt, because that is what real friendship is all about. Your buddy is a clinical idiot, and not only do you love him with all you heart, but you never even think about him / her / it in such denigrating terms: stupid, dumb or clinical idiot.

That being said, while this reptile was trying to provide me with the right answer, I was losing time. Every lost second could cost my kidnapped love her life. Should I urge the tortoise to think faster? Should I threaten it, beat it to death? Shoot the bastard in the face? What a delicate balance one has to maintain dealing with a dear friend.

Johua Tree

And then another problem: I had been hiding in the desert since what went down in the pub, and hadn’t eaten in days. Tortoises, I’ve heard, are tasty, especially in soup. I had never in my life eaten a tortoise soup; hence the situation looked like a unique opportunity. But isn’t it a little disproportionate — killing a dear friend to cook and subsequently eat? Just a little bit? What would you have felt, I asked myself, if this particular friend of yours would kill you, make soup of you and eat it? Would you be grateful post-mortem?

Johua Tree

Hell, no way. You do not eat your friends, I told myself, no matter how stupid and / or tasty they are. Control yourself; hold on no matter the hunger pangs! Be nice and let your friend live. After all, it’s the only friend that didn’t betray you. Then allow it a chance to betray, whereupon nothing will keep you from making delicious yet healthy tortoise bisque.

With this joyful thought I stood up and decided to stroll to make a couple of photos of the environs. Why not; give the tortoise a fair chance of betraying you, or answering the question upon which your entire Quest depends.



Aleksandr Skorobogatov: press and reviews on the books

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