Disclaimer - Yep, they're not mine. Nothing new under the sun, as they say.

Not sure where this story germinated, but it hit me like a bucket of ice water and I knew I had to write it. A one-shot? Or multi-chaptered? Not sure, but for now - it stands alone.



by reinbeauchaser

He's been coming just about every night for the past month. I don't know why he has chosen the building next door to mine, but he has and, well, I'm glad for it. If itnot for my complex standing one story taller than the roof of the neighboring apartment and if I hadn't popped for the extra expense to move into the top-floor rental, I would have been clueless to his existence.

Yet, here I am, fully aware of his being, his presence, his - uniqueness, and now I can't help but justify the extra expense for my 'loft with a view'. Because of him, I will complain no more about the only 'view' it offered originally was that of the neighboring rooftop. It's an old style roof, made up of black tar paper with pea-gravel construction and dirty, chimney-like abutments dotting along the top. With the occasional visit from pigeons - or rats - to break up the monotony, it did little to inspire me. Then, my friend arrived. Up until that moment, my wonderful view had been as exciting to look at as watching dirt.

Since I could ill afford much else and still reside within city limits, I felt I had settled too easily. But know I know I had lucked out with the pseudo high-rise loft. After all, New York is an expensive town to live in. To find any residence that didn't make one a subject to leer at was a bonus. Moreover, I had paid my dues with my last apartment.

I swear, I think all the noisy people in Bronx lived in that building. There was always someone peeping in on someone else through their window - and it was usually me doing the 'entertaining'. Don't try to convince me that voyeurism isn't alive and well in the Big Apple. With my experience, I truly wanted the privacy my 'loft with a view' offered.

And, of course, a month ago my scenery improved dramatically awith my friend's sudden arrival. As his visits became more regular and punctual, he gave me something far more interesting to look at than the errant fowl or rodent and, for that, I am grateful.

Once I realized he was making a habit of visiting the neighboring building, I made sure to find myself seated in my easy chair by my window. Moments before he would arrive, I would settle in with a glass of iced tea in hand, sipping at it leisurely, as I anticipated his appearance. I would sit and wait, hoping to see his approach. The thing is - and it never failed - that in my waiting I would get distracted. I'd only look away for a second, maybe to check the time on the microwave clock, to see if he would be as prompt as his last visit. Still, no matter how briefly I looked away, when I'd glance back - there he was and I would have to still my startled breath to keep from yipping in surprise.

And, his arrival was always so sudden, it was as if he materialized from the air itself. I found it both eerie and amusing that he could do that, too.

It really frustrated me, though, because I wanted to find out how he had managed the ten stories. I wasn't certain about where the fire escape ladder was or where the access door on the neighboring roof would be, so after a while, I began wondering if maybe he lived somewhere in the building below.

In any case, he would stand there for a while, looking out across the city, arms folded across his chest. Well, at least, I think that's what he was doing with them, since I have yet to see what his front looks like. In any case, he always acts oblivious to his surroundings, ignoring the gnats or other annoying pests that might swarm around his head. He didn't seem much interested in peering over the side, either. It was almost as if he pretty much didn't care about the people below as they moved like ants through the big city. Then, sometimes he would sit down on the roughed ground, becoming quiet and contemplative for a while, just like he did a moment ago.

As I think about it, I wonder how he can just sit there on that roof, the pebbles grinding into his rump. It bemuses me and I wonder why he doesn't bring a folding chair with him or a blanket or...or something cushiony.

Well, it's his business, I guess, but after a month of watching him, it became obvious to me that he wasn't the least bit bothered with the irritating surface of the roof. Either he's ignoring it or it doesn't matter to him.

I take another quiet sip of ice tea and think back to the beginning, when I first saw him. That was most definitely an interesting day.

I had been mulling over my manuscript, wondering if my idea was even worth the trouble. I had hit a dead-end, so out of frustration, I fixed my customary comfort beverage - iced tea - and took a seat by my window, in order to collect my thoughts. I noticed the pigeons had taken over the building next door and were milling around, looking for food. What they could find to eat couldn't have been much, since I had yet to see anyone loiter there. In any event, I had had half a mind to open my window and shoo them away.

However, I didn't. I decided that they added a softer contrast to the hard, pebbly surface and I hoped that maybe they might give me some inspiration, too.

That was when I looked away. It was only for a moment, but it was obviously long enough. After glaring at my pile of papers and then at the calendar, musing to myself about my deadline, I returned my gaze to the birds once again. Only, there was something more than just birds on the neighboring roof, now.

I'd have to admit that at first I nearly choked on my tea. Instinctively I wanted to shout in surprise, but for some reason, I didn't. I knew that with the ten or twelve foot distance between the two buildings, I was safe. So, I swallowed my fear and replaced it with curiosity. I figured it had to be a man, a pervert, maybe, or someone trying out a costume. Although Halloween was several months away, I knew of people who planned that far in advance, if only to wow the crowd at whatever party they attended.

Personally, I'm not one for costumes. Far too mature for that, or, at least I try to be. Heh.

In any event, the person lingered for a while, pacing back and forth, before he left. Of course, I logged my experience in my journal, more along the lines of 'little known oddities of NYC'; just to memorialize my passive encounter. However, when this person began making regular visits, my journaling took on a completely new dimension. Every detail I discovered about this visitor, I chronicled. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the information, but - one can never be too careful.

Anyway, in the beginning, I used to call him an 'it', if only because I didn't know what he was. Actually, considering what he looks like, the word 'it' seems as fitting a description as any. I mean, to apply the word 'him' or 'her' to any creature less than human in appearance, might suggest intelligence. To say, 'I saw him at the corner store', or 'I saw her coming up the steps', one might imagine a man or a woman, not a dog, or a cat, or… a turtle, as in the case of my 'friend'.

Moreover, I was amazed to find that this 'it', this 'him', was far more intelligent than any cat or dog - or turtle, could ever hope to be. And I cannot say if he is real or someone in a costume. If it's the latter, it's the best darn costume this side of Hollywood. I could ask him, of course, but because I'm afraid he would leave and never come back again, I don't.

No, I chuckle silently, quite determined to keep myself a secret, he can't know that I'm here, watching him.

And, strange as it may sound, it would grieve me if he left, because I enjoy his visits. Even though he is clueless to me, I really want him to return to the rooftop next door, to feel welcomed. I don't know why, but maybe it's because of the fact that he's different and seems so full of - 'something', so eager for more. I've always had an affinity for people striving to be more than the sum total of who they are, the hard-luck cases that meet life head-on. Maybe there's someone keeping this man-in-a-turtle-suit from reaching whatever potential or promise he aspires? Maybe he's frustrated? Maybe he's like so many in New York, jobless, homeless, directionless. Maybe he's just a man, wearing a costume, something that he can hide in, to keep the world at bay. His entire body language tells me that he's hurting deeply and I want to tell him that it will be all right, to hang tough, to believe.

Still, how can you encourage someone who doesn't know you exist?

Speaking of which, he talks a lot, too, this 'man', who fancies turtle costumes. He talks...but only to himself. I haven't seen anyone else nearby, so I assume he has one of 'those' conversations that we all engage in from time to time. You know, the kind that's more rhetorical, a personal rant of frustration we believe no one else wants to hear.

Or, maybe he has a cell phone, one with a head set. Still, as best as I can tell, since my window is a good fifteen or twenty feet from where he is currently sitting, it's either very, very small and streamlined or - my first assumption is correct and he's only venting out his frustrations.

In either case, I can see that the pigeons congregating there have grown in number. They flew in shortly after he arrived and presently they're doing very good job of listening to him, too. And as I assess the situation, I can see the variety of color in their feathers. It amazes me, though, and my thoughts wander to consider how it's possible for one species to have so many different hues.

Ah, but then my thoughts are interrupted when I notice that he's feeding them. He does this often during his visits, bringing a paper bag filled with bread.

Probably why they like him so much.

Still, he seems to enjoy tossing the fistfuls of crumbs, hesitating after each throw to watch the birds scamper and flutter after the offering. Some taking flight in order to be first to feed and then a sudden spasmodic shudder runs through him and it catches my interest. I hear a low sound of amusement from him.

Did he just chuckle?

It pleases me for a moment, that he would find the birds worthy of his entertainment, or that he would even care for such pests. Consequently, I forget about pigeon feathers and wonder about the nature of him, what drives someone who prefers rooftops to parks, turtle suits to blue jeans and t-shirts? What interests him and why would he come to my neighborhood and to this particular building, in fact?

And please explain to me, why would he feed these messy little pests in the first place? Doesn't he know not to feed pigeons, that it only encourages them? If it weren't for my stronger interest in remaining unseen and unheard, I think I would forgo keeping my presence a secret and yell at him for such stupidity. The city has enough problems with the annoying fowl.

Can yo tell that I'm not very fond of pigeons? They're dirty little birds, leaving evidence of their passing in the most inconsiderate and intrusive way. Yet, this evening, I am far more fascinated that he cares and, most importantly, that they are not the least bit startled with his presence. Everytime he feeds them, it just amazes me. They're not the least bit frightened into flight by the strangeness that is 'him'. They are accepting of him as easily as he is accepting them and, perhaps in a way, he understands them. More so than I would want to, that's for sure!

Still, as I think about that, I realize how much I want to be accepting, too; if given half a chance. For reasons that defy explanation or purpose, he - intrigues me greatly. I want to understand. I want to know who he is.

Then, an utterance of profanities breaks the stillness, but I'm not shocked. No, this one seems to favor the more colorful metaphors of my culture. Yet, his voice immediately quiets soon after, the way one would if they unintentionally spoke too loudly. Undeterred by his inappropriate outburst, he continues to rant, only softer. It's obvious by his body language that he's upset about something, more so than normal. The way his arms and elbows suddenly jut outward, as if in tune with his personal rant. The swagger of his back and head as he sits there on the roof says that someone's ticked him off. And his sudden departure from whatever good mood he was enjoying has caused the birds to fly off, but only for a short ways. They alight a few yards across from him, pecking at the ground, looking for a stray crumb or two; conducting businessng as usual.

Nevertheless, my attention again goes back to my friend. Although I can't make out what he's saying, I still try to listen. In fact, it was during his second or third visit when he spoke loud enough for me to hear him that I knew it was a he. His voice alone was enough, as it told me that this strange one was a him, a male, and a frequently unhappy one at that...especially this evening. Normally he would just stare out over the city, muttering to himself, sometimes offering angry comments to the wind. But this evening? This evening he seems genuinely sad, depressed, despite his obvious anger. Discontent clearly defines his raging tonight.

Minutes go by and my mind wanders a bit. I think back to when I first moved in, eight months ago. I look up at my bare window, naked of any décor. At the time, I didn't feel I needed curtains, not where I didn't have to worry about any neighbors looking in. As it is, I hate curtains, always have. Although I prefer a more Spartan look, allergies are the main reason for not having them. The normal accumulation of dust that curtains attract, bother me like none other.

But, here in New York City, this intrusive metropolis of perverts and opportunist, it's almost mandatory. Where I used to live, I felt forced to use them since I had neighbors living across the alley from my rental. More often than not, I would find someone staring at me. It only took one time to find out that dressing in the living room was NOT an option. Goodness, that was embarrasing.

Consequently, privacy was a major issue, then, as it is now.

After I moved into my 'loft with a view', I found I didn't have that problem anymore. I didn't have neighbors that stared at my one, lone window, hoping for something to distract them from their own miserable lives. I could dress in the living room if I wanted to, or the kitchen, or the...well, I could dress anywhere I wanted to and not worry about giving someone a rush.

Just the same, old habits and instincts run strong. As high up as I was, I still worried about giving a peep show to anyone visiting the neighboring roof. As I said, I had had enough of that with living at the 'lower elevations'. So, presented with a choice, to buy curtains or do something different, I chose different. I've always chosen different. I love different.

Maybe that's why this person in a turtle suit attracts me?

Anyway, before I moved in, I sacrificed a bit of money and had my windows covered with a high-grade reflective film. I can see out, but no one can see in - even with my interior lights on during the deepest darkest part of night. My windows overlooking the building top next door now reflect the outside world, giving the person inside - namely me, enough privacy without the need for curtains. No matter the time of day, it appears as dark and as vacant as it had been during the six years before I leased it.

And, right now, I'm glad for that, because my friend next door might know this neighborhood well enough to tell what buildings are occupied and which ones aren't. I am certain that any light coming from my windows would attract his interest and then he would have to find some other place to contemplate his life.

As I said, I like him here. I feel protective of his 'space'. I feel - privileged. So why would I want to scare him away?

As I stare out the window and continue watching him, I am mindful of how much I have changed. When I first moved here, I kept the windows of my apartment closed and locked, a force of habit based on my previous address. It took some time before I felt the remotest of comfort in opening them, too, and even leaving them that way for a while took more resolve. In fact, it's only been recently that I've been doing that. Usually in the early mornings, though, to allow the coolness of the receding night to fill my apartment, before I close up for the day.

However, this afternoon, I had become distracted with my manuscript. My writer's block had dissipated and I was finally on a roll. Consequently, I had forgotten about the windows and left them opened. It was minutes before his punctual arrival when I had realized my mistake. So, rather than rush around closing them and risking making any unnecessary noise, just incase he was close by, I turned off my interior lights instead, to minimize the obvious flaw in the scenery.

As it turned out, I had opened my window a scant four inches and where I am presently sitting, I can feel the early evening breeze as it plays through. Again, had I succumbed to habit and installed curtains, I was certain the flapping and flailing of the material would have alerted my friend to my presence. Once again, I cheered to myself the wisdom of not installing them, but I could only hope that the opened window will go unnoticed just the same.

So far, he has kept to his own habits. The man in the turtle suit hasn't even looked my way.

As the late afternoon wanes on, the shadows are growing. Where my side of the complex faces northeast and as the rest of my building blocks out the sun's rays, the rooftop next door is slowing plunging into shadows. It might help to hide my presence a little better, but I know it won't be long before my friend is swallowed up, as well. The cacophony of city noise outside seems to grow louder, too, managing to find its way in, and with it, my 'friend's' newly raised voice.

I now hear him quite easily.

"I - Hate - My - Life."

He announces this almost as if saying an expletive. Yet, the angry way in which he said it, his tone pricks at my heart.

Why would he hate his life, I ask silently. Unless…

Before I can consider that question, though, before I can entertain the next amazing thought, he moves a little, adjusting his position slightly. Suddenly I am mesmerized anew. Where every other night before I saw only a quarter of his front, with most of his back turned towards me, he is now sitting in full - perfect - profile.

I am enthralled!

Usually, I've seen only the back of his head, or at most, a partial side of his face, with the top part of his head wrapped in some sort of cloth, like a bandanna. Tonight, he isn't wearing it and I really don't know why he would use one in the first place. Still, I think it's odd that it's missing. It has become part of who he is to me.

Suddenly, as he leans against the brick abutment of a chimney and adjusts his position even more, he finally and for the first time, shows his face.

I'm excited beyond description, now, and I know my eyes are wider than they have ever been. It is so hard to remain still and unmoving. I can feel the strain in my back and shoulders because I have been sitting in one position for so long. Yet, I dare - not - move, yet I cannot help but feel excited. I feel my heart thump madly against my chest, as I continue staring at the amazing scene outside.

What happens next, though, truly surprises me. As he allows his back to lean against the hard surface of a flue, as he relaxes against its roughed brick, I hear a 'chang', as if the shell on his back is real.

It couldn't be real, could it?

Before I can even consider that thought, the outline of his facial features distracts me even more, and so the memory of the noise fades away, forgotten.

Is he wearing a mask? His face looks - so real? But how? I want to chuckle in amusement, but I don't because my window is open and he would hear me. Then, all he'd have to do to see the evidence of my presence would be to look ever so slightly my way. Therefore, any noise coming from my apartment would be too much.

Still, I think about his face, his mask. Yes, he is definitely wearing a mask, he must be. Aside from the fact that he's green and leathery, I see the broad ridges above his eyes, hard ridges, not of foam, or papier-mâché'. Inhuman in shape, maybe, yet nevertheless they are deep-seated and large, very large - and expressive!

It can't be a mask; he must be real…and here I stop my train of thought, because to seriously consider that this man in a turtle suit is real - seems impossible.

He can't be, though, and I fight with this thought, my common sense telling me how preposterous it is. Then I notice his broad cheeks and the way the muscles in his jaw tense and relaxe, as if he's grinding his teeth in frustration. Where the side of his face tapers slightly to his protruding muzzle, I take note of that.

And it is indeed a muzzle, not a nose, but a muzzle! It is a turtle's muzzle, or beak, but slightly softened, not nearly as sharp along the front as one would expect. He mumbles and says something and his mouth forms the words. I may not be able to hear everything, but I can tell he's speaking and no mask I have ever seen or heard of can mimic the movement of lips and enunciated speech. Still, as he rants, despite his observer's refusal to believe, despite my inner battle to accept what I am seeing, it's easy to see that he is definitely not a happy camper tonight.

The more I look and analyze him, though, I can see tears as they trickle down his face. Suddenly, my preoccupation to the impossibility of his existence changes to one of compassion.

My heart swells with concerned interest.

I watch as his silver trails of sadness reflect the waning late afternoon sun. I can just imagine the celestial orb hovering on the other side of my building, a second above the horizon of the cityscape, as one last finger of light grasps at the city in a desperate bid to stay aloft. I know it won't be long before my friend will be in shadow, lost to me until his next visit. So, I try to capture this moment, committing to memory what I had just witnessed, and then, I see him shudder. Unexpectedly, I hear a single sob break from between his lips, disturbing the white noise that is New York City. Almost immediately and in response, he draws his legs up hard against him, knees bent, heels tucked in tight. As he wraps his arms around his legs, he rests his forehead on top his knees. He then takes a deep, shaky breath before speaking again, almost whispering his apparent unhappiness. Thankfully, for whatever reason, a momentary hush falls across my neighborhood, an unusual nanosecond of silence, and in that moment, I can hear him quite clearly.

"They…they just…don't understand, none of 'm do," and he takes another deep, wracking breath.

He sounds so mournful and hopeless. I want to hug him. He also sounds very Brooklyn, but I remain perfectly still, unmoving. I hurt, though, the strain is becoming quite a burden, but I refuse to move.

Who are 'they', I wonder to myself, and what don't they understand? Is he talking about people - like me - or other people - like - him?

Suddenly, he moves, adjusting himself again, and he turns slightly in my direction. Fortunately, he's more interested in repositioning himself than in looking up.

I realize then that, if he even so much as glances at my building, he will see my partly opened window. Fearing discovery, I sustain my rigid posture more determindely, terrified of moving and risking discovery. Of course, I chastise myself for opening my window in the first place. What was I thinking? What gall I had, to believe I could do that, would do that, knowing that he was as regular as clockwork. So what if I wanted to cool my apartment. If he had chosen this place specifically and he believed my loft was still vacant, then his coming here was for solitude - and not to be a source of entertainment for me!

And, for a moment, I remember my own reasons for choosing to live where I do.

I can't help but feel chastized and shamed.

Just the same, not only do I realize how stupid I was for opening my window in the first place, I glare at my hand, as if it had leprosy. Moments before he had gone profile, I had placed it on the windowsill. It was an absentminded act and nothing more. Maybe it was when he turned profile? I know I was surprised and it was quite possible I had done it then. Yet, I also knew that it was the wrong thing to do, regardless. Now, any movement at all from me would certanly give me away. In fact, his peripheral vision alone might catch my presence, that is, f he glanced at just the right angle. Even a flick of my little finger would betray me and so - as painful as it is now becoming for me, as tired as my back is currently feeling - I remain motionless a little longer.

Minutes fly by and we both continue to sit at our respective spots and positions, one unaware of the other. I even try holding my breath, afraid the movement of breathing would startle him. It was the first time I had seen so much of him - and I wanted more!

I need more. He has become my drug, my - addiction!

As he drags an arm across his face to wipe away his tears, I continue to watch. My previous bout of shame is gone and I reaquaint myself with a greedy need to see more. I watch him take one hand and rub at his forehead, before reaching down to procure something from his belt. I had noticed he wore a belt almost from the beginning when he first started coming to the building, but I never understood what he used it for. It's not as if he's wearing pants. Nevertheless, the belt goes all the way around him, even his shell, and then it either ties or buckles in front. I'm not really sure. I do know that one side of him is called a carapace, the other a plastron…the parts of a turtle.

Thank you Mr. Evans for force-feeding me biology. I smile, remembering how much I hated that class, yet it seems I've retained something from the elderly man's teachings.

Nevertheless, the man on the roof definitely seems to be a 'turtle', real or fake, it doesn't matter. Weirder still, not only does he wear a belt, but he even sports elbow and kneepads. Why? I don't know, but maybe it's to avoid injuring the joints there? Aside from his belt, I notice he still sports his sharp and pointy three-pronged fork, hooked to one side. I know there's another one on the opposite side yet I wonder what he uses them for.

In any event, it is the way that he moves which fascinates me the most. It is - so fluidic, so unencumbered, the way his musculature bulges and stretches under his 'skin'. Is he real? Or, is he just someone in a form-fitting costume?

I had often asked myself this question since first sighting him, and never came to an absolute conclusion. If he is a turtle, then he is the most fantastic, amazing turtle I have ever seen.

If not, then he might very well be a pervert in a costume.

Still, before this evening, I had decided that I wanted him to be real. The idea of a pervert in a turtle costume was just wrong and on too many levels. Then again, he could be a real turtle and a pervert, too. I dismiss that thought entirely, though. I think the tabloids would have had something about a 'peeping turtle' before now.

As I watch the small movement of his arm, he takes from his belt a wad of material and then shakes it out.

His bandanna!

So that's what happened to it.

I smile and feel reassured that all is well with my little world on the neighboring rooftop. I watch as he ties his bandanna around his face the way he always wears it. Tugging the knot at the back of his head, he tightens it, to ensure that it will stay put. He then flips the long vibrantly hued tails over his near shoulder and then stands up. Stretching his arms high above his head and taking in a deep, cleansing breath, he begins to look around. Only, instead of a casual observance of his world, he seems concerned, now, the way one is when they've been lost in thought and suddenly realize where they are. It was then when he settles his attention on my window!

I suck in a silent breath, because in that same moment, I now know, beyond any doubt, that he is real. He is a turtle! He is a walking, talking, mask-wearing, fork-wielding, terrapin. I want to laugh aloud at the absurdity and wonder of it all, but I don't, I hold my tongue.

However, I wish my hand had taken that same cue. In that second that he looks in my direction, the moment his face narrows in concentration, he sees me. In response, my hand flinches in surprise. I didn't mean to do it, of course, it was quite instinctive, a reaction of my shock and bemusement.

Nevertheless, it doesn't matter, now, because quicker than the beat of my heart...he is gone! Just like that, as if he had taken wing. He disappers and I'm left wondering if had even been there at all.

I stood there, squinting at the scene outside through my window, watching the pigeons fly off, one at a time, wondering to myself if it had been a dream. Only the fleeting glimpse of scarlet remains in my mind's eye, an after image of his bandanna tails. It makes me want to weep, because now I know he will never return, never grace the rooftop next door again; never bestow me the gift of his unique and beautiful presence. I feel despair so thick, I am certain it will suffocate me.

Despondent, I leave my half-finished iced tea on the kitchen counter and retire to my bedroom to cry myself to sleep. I have never been so disappointed in my life. I know my days will now feel empty because he is gone, probably never to return. The roof will return to its ugly state of pebbles and stained chimney flues, with pigeons decorating the area in the only way they know how.

Six months pass without an interruption. It's been half a year since that last, fateful meeting and I was right, he never did return. Am I disappointed? Yes, I am, very much so. Would I want him to risk discovery - by me? Yes, of course. I would never hurt him. But, to want this at the risk of others discovering him, I'll accept his departure with a small satisfaction that at least I didn't go to the tabloids and tell the whole world about my turtle-man. At least I didn't shoo him away as I've done so many times to the birds he seemed to enjoy feeding.

Of course, it didn't stop me from journaling my experiences. I am a writer, after all. I'm not sure what I'll do with my musings, but for now, they are a reminder that something wonderful visited me for a short time.

As the days march on, I have resigned myself to watching the multicolored birds. They congregate right where 'he' stood, so many months before, drawn to the very spot where some kind soul had enough heart to feed them. Ironically, the flock of ungrateful and messy birds has become the only distraction for me these days. Like me, it seems they can't forget him, either.

I still don't like pigeons, never will, but - for a time, I will enjoy them, even appreciate them. Maybe I'll start feeding them, knowing that they were a privileged lot, a lucky few, who were allowed to stand close to something special, something I could only hope and pray will return.

I know he won't, though, he can't, he's far too precious in rarity to take the chance of someone like me seeing him. He was real, I am sure of it, an upright, walking AND talking turtle…a turtle who wore a red and carried an overstated fork - for protection maybe?

Yes, he would have to have some way of protecting himself. From what I learned in Mr. Evans biology class, other than the snapping turtle, most terrapins are benign, pleasant creatures.

In either event, it is obvious to me my friend had been unhappy and now, maybe more so, because I took away his privacy, his special spot in the city of New York. Someone had seen him. Someone was intrusive, opportunistic, and selfish, and I should have known better, since I did to him what so many others had done to me.

I am obviously not much different from anyone else living in the Big Apple, that's for sure and, now, my loft with a view, my expensive New York apartment, doesn't seem so special anymore.