All the way down

“You promised me we’d see the dinosaur!” Michael whined. “This is a just a stupid turtle. I hate stupid turtles!”

The boy’s mother gestured helplessly at the imposing Archelon fossil. “But look honey, look how big it is.” The Giant Sea Turtle fossil was indeed large, towering over Michael and his mother, nearly twice the size of a full grown man. He remained unimpressed.

“I don’t care that its big, it’s stupid and I hate it. This trip is stupid and you’re stupid.” Michael despised his mother. He hated her weakness, he hated her fatness, he hated her stupidity. Why couldn’t he have a better mother?

“But Mikey, the other boys and girls are enjoying the tour, why don’t you try…”

“DON’T CALL ME MIKEY! MIKEY’S A NAME FOR IDIOTS!” Michael was starting to shout now, and in the echoing museum it drew attention. People had started to stare, peering down their noses at the beleaguered mother, clearly holding her personally responsible for the behaviour of the boy.

“Sorry, sorry, Michael, I forget sometimes. But, please look at how much the other boys and…”

This only enraged the boy even more. Raising his voice even further he shouted, “I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE OTHER KIDS THEY’RE JUST IDIOTS AND RETARD-“

A hard punch to the back of his head from his father stopped Michael mid-slur. It was swift and brutal, and it was like an explosion went off in his head. Brilliant reds and yellows burst in front of his eyes, and the sounds of excited children in the museum disappeared into a temporary deafness leaving only a dull ringing. His mouth started to fill with blood, he had bitten his tongue.

Blows to the back of the head were his father’s favourite attention-getter/warning/punishment for his son and he was generous in handing them out. His father was an expert at delivering the strike under the eyes of any observers, so only the boy and his mother knew what had happened. His mother was as useless as ever, of course, meekly pleading to “Be gentle with Mikey, he’s just a boy!”.

Michael’s whole life seemed to be punctuated by a depressingly regular series of internal explosions of light, sound and pain. After a particularly hard punch had knocked him out cold last summer, he had started experiencing the fireworks and occasional hearing loss even when his father was not actively beating him.

Listen you little shit,” his father had a painful grip on his shoulder and hissed in his ear, “do what your mother tells you. Look at the damn turtle, look at the damn kids or you’ll get another thrashing when we’re in the car.”

Michael was turned to face the exhibit. Pins and needles were gathering in his hand as his father’s grip cut off the blood flow.

Michael looked. Angry and in pain, he held back tears from his eyes so that the other kids wouldn’t see and taunt him. He hated other children and in turn they had little time for him. He hated their smallness and he hated their physical weakness as he hated his own small, weak body. He hated their smiles, their laughter and their obvious joy, as he hated his own inability to ever experience these things.

Childhood was a prison to be burned to the ground. Childhood was a hell. Why couldn’t they see this?

The tour started to move to the next exhibit, and his father released his shoulder. As his parents moved off with the group, Michael stood alone at the turtle exhibit, dabbing at his bitten tongue with a hankie. The turtle, frozen in time, stood on its end, exposed shell structure like ribs and weird bones that reminded him of nothing more than the gears and cogs of some giant machine. He spat at the fossil, spit thick and almost black with blood. God-damn stupid turtles, he thought, god I hate them so much.

Away from the crowd, alone, Michael daydreamed about dropping baby turtles from a great height, a tower, or maybe a skyscraper.

Drop.

Fall.

Dead.

Dropping turtles. Falling turtles. Dead turtles.

Watching the turtles, all the way down.

Michael smiled a rare, distant smile.

His reverie was broken by his father’s angry call. “MICHAEL BENJAMIN BAY, YOU GET YOUR ASS HERE NOW!”


Ok, so this was another short fiction written in response to a picture posted by Jacopo della Quercia. Full disclosure – I haven’t seen the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and I have no particular beef against Michael Bay. But I’m well aware of the level of hate he receives for ‘intentionally ruining people’s childhoods’, as if that something even possible to do retrospectively.

So this piece is purely a ‘What if’ piece:

  • What if every negative thing people say about Michael Bay is true?
  • What might cause someone to hate childhood so much they must ruin these memories for everyone?
  • Why does Michael Bay hate the turtles?”

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Cheers

KT

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