Robert Sommers from Blue Heron Blast read my post, "Annie" and suggested it could work ala Dashiel Hammet . He sent me the paragraph indented below and a few good lines. So here is the re-worked hard boiled style story.
I almost stepped on her this morning. A looker, she was round and curvy, about 15 x 12 inches of turtle beauty - parked on my back doorstep. I did a classic double take - what???
"She had a shell all right - from the pads of her feet to her oh so gorgeous turtle neck, she was all turtle. Counting her rings I could tell she was old enough to know better... I suggested we retire down to the local watering hole and share a head of lettuce. She said don't get too close bub, I could give you a bad case of salmonella." (Robert's inspirational lines)
I thought she had a lot of spunk, way too much for a turt just dragging herself out of the weeds. She laid her snappy repartee on me so fast it was obvious she'd been around the barranca at few times.
"Annie" she quipped,when I asked her name, looking up at me with eyes both sad and probing. "They thought they were so cute, saddling me with that moniker. As if I was going to burst into song any minute". She sneered and glided a little forward. "See ya around punk."
The whirring sound of a nearby chain saw broke the silence and then the whinnying of horses. A soft breeze blew across my deck. I drained the last of the scotch and thought about what was in this for me. She wasn't going for the lettuce but the warning? Lots of turts get the old salmonella and they have shots for it now. Was she worth the risk?
Just then it hit me. Annie. Hmmmm....I'd heard about a turt named Annie blowing the coop from the neighbors about two years ago. That Annie was pretty innocent - this one knew the ropes. I watched her move along ahead and then she did the old inside-the-shell routine. Wedged herself into the landscape probably to catch some zzz's.
I refilled my scotch and went after her. "Annie", I said, knocking on the sexy shell. "Okay so you're not interested in breaking lettuce with me, but I know someone with a whole shit load of carrots. Baby, take a look at the bright side even if there ain't no bright side." She stretched her neck out, looked me up and down and said, "Bub, I'm not buying any of what you've got to sell. Period."
That did it. I was striking out big time. One more scotch and I drove over to the hacienda on the hill. Quiet around there but first thing that hit me was the stone turt statue in the front. These people
knew turts...if Annie hadn't lived there they'd probably know where she belonged. Caution, I told myself. The problem with putting two and two together is that sometimes you get four and sometimes you get twenty two.
The guy answered my knock with a drink in his hand. By now it was 9:00 and the Bloody Mary's had given way to the hard stuff...the stuff that keeps this burg afloat. "Suppose you tell me all about it. Start as far back as you can." I rewound events back down the hill and by the time he was draining his glass, he decided that my Annie might be his Annie too.
Truth be told, I was sorry to put her into the old man's hands. She was going to be okay but I couldn't help but wonder if things might have worked out between us if she'd been willing to just get out her shell.