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Ronnie and the Tortoise
by Bill Tope

After Ronnie Tubs took and wacked the old
Tortoise on the back with a baseball bat, a
Thunderous Crack! could be heard across
The playground.  Ronnie, a bully and a bit
Of a sadist, had been trying to impress the
Fair-haired girls of the third grade, prompting
Him to take up his cudgel and swing away.
Now the tortoise lay with a broken shell, dying
In the sun.  But leaving the girls unimpressed
With his feat, Ronnie grew enraged at the lack
Of respect being shown him.
Kneeling before the reptile, Ronnie extended
His  thick fist toward the fractured carapace,
Thinking to drag the hapless creature from its
Shell, whereupon he would happily wring its
Grasping for the helpless tortoise, Ronnie
Suddenly recoiled as if shot, as a loud snapping
Sound echoed off the trees.  He fell back upon
His prominent posterior.  Bewildered, he held up
His hand, to show where his forefinger used to be.
Unbeknownst to Ronnie and the other children,
The nondescript, tired old tortoise was in fact a
Fearsome Alligator Snapping Turtle and had
Severed Ronnie's finger with almost surgical
Finesse.  The bully let out a bloodcurdling wail,
While the turtle, chewing the remnants of the
Finger, was said by some of the children present
In the playground that day, to be almost grinning.

First published in the magazine, 
Children, Churches, and Daddies