A startling development in wildlife welfare has come to my attention. It began small, then snowballed into a danger of massive proportions. Now, it's as if that problematic snowball has crashed into a city full of people, burying them under a winter wonderland of terror.
This problem is turtle poaching. The turtle population has slowly decreased over the past 50 or so years, unnoticed by the general public. The problems began when two men stumbled upon a dream, an easy marketing scheme that would make them rich. It didn't matter to them that their deadly new enterprise consisted almost completely of the merciless slaughter of innocent turtles:
The Key Players:
Is it any surprise really, that a man like Kevin would use nearly all of his newfound fortune to buy a peddle-powered go-kart The answer: Resounding "no."
And isn't it even less surprising that a man like Jim would plunge into a world of alcohol and shirtlessness in a subconscious attempt to fill the void that all the women just couldn't fill?
And then there's little Dwayne, the boy who discovered the illegal market. He's shown above, making a deal, though his communication skills are limited by his lack of two front teeth.
The two men, Kevin and Jim, were trekking through the treacherous forests of southern Alabama, coon hunting. If you're not from the South, go pick up a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows, the most accurate portrayal of raccoon hunting ever written, though surprisingly devoid of alcohol. In case you've already started the book but have yet to finish, please read the following: At the end, his dogs die.
The men were tearing through the underbrush in their souped-up ATV, when Kevin, being the master hunter that he is, caught glimpse of movement from within the brush. The two men didn't know what it was, so they did what came natural: They removed their sawed-off shotguns from their black-market-purchased vehicle of war, and shot it.
Upon peering into the underbrush, Jim realized that their unlucky prey was none other than a turtle. The poor creature, besides the rather notable handicap of being dead, was in fairly good condition, so they gave it to their children to play with. The children made the turtle fight the family's blue tick hound, who quickly obliterated what remained of the turtle. (Note: The turtle would have had a fighting chance, had it been alive rather than dead.)
The children had found a new hobby. They put away their homemade squirrel traps and went turtle hunting. Thus, it was the in the minds of children that this industry made its foothold...The children hunted turtles, lobbed them onto lonely stretches of sub-rural highway, and picked up the shell pieces days later.
The playground market for turtle shell pieces was bigger than they could have ever imagined. They became instant black market gang lords, dealing in shell pieces. Their fathers quickly found out about these goings-on, and soon partnered with their children in the process. Together, fathers and sons branched out a black market network of illegal turtle shell products, backed financially by The Man, while loosely-organized hunting parties formed, tracking down turtles by the twos and threes. It was all very similar to the early nomadic wandering tribes of the Mongols. Seriously. You can look at them and feel the Khan dynasty's power permeating through their mullets.
The business has grown into a full-scare worldwide crime ring. Though you don't know it, chances are, part of the very chair you're sitting in has some form of turtle product in it. Turtle wax? You better believe that's got turtle in it. It's not called turtle wax for nothing, people. This is America, we don't do unnecessary things.
Most turtles can't escape the onslaught. But there are the brave few that make it out maimed and scarred for life. These turtles, however, enter a place that may be worse than death, known as The Turtle Rehabilitation Center. Turtle Rehab is a kind place, but most turtles can't cope with the pressures of recovering from their traumatic experiences. Most quickly turn evil and destructive, often causing multiple care-taker deaths. Sometimes, they may even turn the fangs on themselves.
And for every one of them that dies, a little piece of myself dies too.
Before - Docile
After - Clearly Evil
I started a petition in honor of the turtles, and with it came neighborhood-wide recognition of the threat turtle poachers pose. For some reason, I only got 4 signatures. In addition, Dan and I began a Turtle Trust Fund which, thus far, has grossed an earth-shattering 3.21 dollars. Being turtle friendly takes hardly any effort. Just give $0.10 per month to the Turtle Trust Fund and you can have the satisfaction of knowing that your money is being wasted on a fund that doesn't exist.
Foreign powers hate The Man as much as anyone, and dealings with an informant inside the Russian government have accounted for 85% of earnings thus far. It's supposedly blood money stolen from the Russian mafia, but I couldn't care less. Cash is cash. Wait, that sort of makes me a hypocrite, doesn't it? Oh well, go ahead and whine about it, and just know that my new Russian snipers are waiting for a clear shot.
The following is a message received from Director Kildon, former KGB. I swear, I really got this message.
[BEGIN DEVICE TRANSCRIPT]
<DIAL TONE> T,9,*70,0110,808-60-630627
SOURCE: LEVEL 1A CLASSIFIED, DELTA-CLEARANCE ONLY
FOR IMMEDIATE DELIVERY TO CODENAME: "Franz"
USING PRIORITY 1/SECURITY 1 TRANSMISSION
>>Decryption Code: <VV362346rrygrtgfTHGY3236246JHGBVI> Encryption Level: 1024-bit<<
I greet you from Moscow. With the recent signs of anger between the United States and the great Mother Russia, I have been unable to establish communication with your group, whom I wish to support. However, a new development has arisen, and I have now devised a way to communicate with you (damn, I'm evil). I believe we may have a new development in the KGB Technological International Turtle Protection Division. I cannot give you detailed information yet (security protocol, you know), but I can assure you, this is of utmost importance. If we can pull this off, turtles everywhere may be protected forever.
I urge you to burn this message upon receipt by your agency, much as Inspector Gadget used to do (that's where we get all of our cool KGB stuff from: Inspector Gadget). Yes, I do realize printing it out and burning the printout is pointless, but do it anyway. The burning part will be cool. If you laugh evilly in the process, it makes it even cooler. We spent $56 billion dollars figuring that one out.
Anyway, I shall keep in touch. Oh, just for your information, we bombed all the Japanese Pokemon production facilities, however, we feel they have an "underground" production facility. Anyway, Pakoman is now the official religion of both Russia and Japan. I don't know what religion they used to support, but now, there is a relatively massive 2 foot statue of a Pakoman in the center of every city, with a gigantic 2.1 foot statue in the center of each nation. And, just like the Great Wall of China, we tell people it can be seen from space, but really, it can't. Sadly, though, I must now leave. Goodbye, my comrad.
In the Name of the Great Mother Russia...
>>DATA CONFIRMATION CODE: DD949f<<
ENDING SECURE TRANSMISSION
[END DEVICE TRANSCRIPT]
You really ought to donate to the Turtle Trust Fund. If it were possible, I'd show you a video of myself walking through a remote African village full of wounded turtles, and then pick one up and say "Look at this one's face. Will you really turn away now, and condemn them to a life of poverty, disease, and chronic virginity?"
One final thought on a similar note, however. If 17 cents a month can buy a child in Ethowania clothes, school books, and medical coverage, why can't I give a kid a dollar a week and make him Sultan or something?