by Raji Singh

Our Founder, James Thaddeus “Blackjack” Fiction ‘Tell our stories, Raji. If you don’t, it will be as if we never lived.’ These whispering cries of joy and sorrow rise from the bookshelves and portraits in the Fiction House. I cannot refuse. (Artwork enhancements by: Joseph Rintoul)

Our Founder, James Thaddeus “Blackjack” Fiction
‘Tell our stories, Raji. If you don’t, it will be as if we never lived.’
These whispering cries of joy and sorrow rise from the bookshelves and portraits in the Fiction House.
I cannot refuse.
(Artwork enhancements by: Joseph Rintoul)

In celebration of National Pet Month, we’d like to refer you to what your pet REALLY needs! (Repost)

*     *     *

Want to find the best mate for your Rex or Ol Tom?  Here at Fiction House Publishing we’re considering a new idea, online matching for critters.

“Run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.”

“Trot it around the track.  Will it make the finish line?”

No!  Madison Avenue testing cliche’s are not good enough here!  Our pets are too important to be left to an advertising committee.  Got to go right to our creatures to discover the Mr. or Ms. Right for them.’

Here is how I believe my lifelong friend, Turt, would fill out the forms to find his perfect soul mate.  (with a few of my own minor insertions to embellish his desirability)

Have some fun.  Try answering along with the questions with your pet-friend in mind.

Question 1.  WHO AM I? 

Call me, Turt (for that is what is written on my shell).  I am a titanic, half-land – half-sea creature.  A Trumpeter.  From the island of Jericho.

My friend Charles Darwin termed my species, turtus trumputus.

~ ~ Editor note:  see Darwin’s The Beagle Has Landed, page 81, verse 19, line 22, ‘He is no turtle, yet they call him Turt.’  Fiction House Publishing, 1838.  (soon to be added to FHP online library.)  ~ ~


Hatched.  In what two-legs call the year, 1800 I’m still strollin’, floatin’ some 200 years later.  I’m crusty, but spry.


My tribes’ trumpeting sounds.  They turn heavenly harp as they scythe through thin grass blades and then scale the lushly forested mountains.  Just one word two-legs have for the ascending crescendo – BEATIFIC.

~ ~ Darwin – from his journal:  ‘After studying fossil remains on Jericho Island, and reading the Captains’ logs from a multitude of exploratory ships, I have come to the conclusion that, for millennia, the population of Trumpeters was in the hundreds of thousands.’  ~ ~


That’s E-Z.  Those of my halcyon shell-ing days:

a. Smelling the baked pungency of seaweed marinated with jellyfish and crab corpse as I crawl the warm crystalline beaches of Jericho.  (What sweet Terry-pin wouldn’t just love such a moonlight dine!)

b. My first foray into burbling and swirling tide-pools.

c. Staring for hours at the mirror-clear estuary, and seeing myself swimming there for the first time.

d. Watching a shell-ing my age and size being scooped by a flyer and taken away, forever.  The glee I felt because it wasn’t me.  (So wrong a feeling, I now know.)


Indeed.  Her name is Captain Polly.  Strictly platonic, ladies.  Who among creature or two-leg can say they’ve a 200 year long pal-ship, despite OUR rancorous beginnings – of wanting to ‘murtilate’ each other.  (Read of how we met in Chapter 27 of Raji Singh’s Tales of the Fiction House.)


Fin-claws.  I can crack lobsters in the fronts, and coconuts in the rear – simultaneously.  Ladies, I am distinguished but I am no weakling.  For you more mature ladies – my top shell may be slightly greyer, but, upon your swaying oyster bed, I’ll be a stay-er.

Beak-snout.  Ditto that vice-wrench capability.

Shell:  So voluminous, if hallowed out, heaven forbid, could hold a hundred Captain Polly’s.

Tattoos:  I shall show you them, ALL, EVERYWHERE, when you’ve gotten to know me more intimately.


Sl-o-o-o-w moonlight strolls on a Johannesburg beach with a shell-endowed bachelorette Terry-pin.  Purpose:  Romance, sl-o-o-o-w and steady.


Riding out a rambunctious typhoon in the Gulf of Mexico.  So vivid the sights, sweet Terry: ‘See the seahorses gallop to the safety of their coral corrals…’  Few greater physical pleasures than swirling plankton being swept along your under-shell.

Sliding down South America’s Iguazu Falls.  Nothing beats the slapdash spirit of onrushing waters.  Come, swim with me, sweet Terry.  And feel my spirit.


Pirates of the late 1700’s who decimated my picaresque island for the bounty that was Trumpeter shell, eyes, meat.  Clubbing, splitting us open; gathering us into gunnysacks, buckets.  As a shell-ing, I watch as my ma and fa are… auugh… To this day, I cannot think about that final dreg raid.

     ~ ~ Editor note:  see, Tales of the Fiction House for a full account.  ~ ~


Am I the last of my species?  That is why I travel.  Searching.  Is there another of my kind out there.  Somewhere on the earth or in the sea?

‘On new shores I trumpet my anxious call, then wait, fearing there are no more of my kind to hear.  I listen.  No answer.  With fin-claws, I scrape the sand.  I sniff.  No familial soothing dank pungency to assure me my own were here or still might be in existence?  My blare resonates with my melancholy.’

The dreg raid haunts me for the first few decades of my life.  To this day I only ‘live with it.’  I can never forget.


The day I encountered my first Fiction.  The ‘throw ‘im back’-size four-year-old was appropriately called Carper by my friend the ancient Mariner.  Carper was an orphan-foundling as I.  We bond – closely as any creature and two-leg can.

~ ~ editor note – read the account of Carper, my g-g grandfather and his now best friend in Tales…~ ~

YOUR ALTRUISM:  (I mustn’t be modest.)  Watching over the Fiction line for well over a century and a half.  Their guardian, their protector – their ‘watch-trumpeter’.

This completes the online dating form.  Please add any information you’d like that a future mate might find helpful in selecting you.

HOW I GOT MY FIRST, MY FAVORITE TATTOO:  The renowned artist, Kunta, the two-leg who found me, took me in,  carved his African village into me when I was a shell-ing and he a tad-ling.  I’m proud to still wear it.

© Raji Singh 2012

(Read more of Turt in the novel, Tales of Fiction House. Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. My novel is available at Amazon, (Kindle and Trade Paperback) and Barnes and Noble.)

©2014 Raji Singh

About Raji Singh

I am a writer, a foundling anchored by tale-telling and imagination. Read my history in Tales of the Fiction House, available at and Barnes & Noble (This is a portrait of my great-great grandfather. He's a handsome devil and I am his spitting image.)
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