“Not much,” Timmy says. “He sleeps a lot.”
Lin spins Magellan like a top, until his silver diamonds become a blur. When Lin tires of his game, he stalks back inside. Timmy sees Lin has made a palimpsest of the sand at the bottom of Timmy’s driveway, where the word BASTARD had been crudely etched, with a subtle arrow pointing in the direction of Timmy’s house. Timmy isn’t a bastard, though. His parents just had a fight that has never been resolved. Timmy sets Magellan down on the lawn and goes back inside to get the rubber bone, which he saved up for and purchased in anticipation of a puppy. When he comes back outside, Mr. Ibanez—in his red tracksuit—is out for his morning jaunt, his terrier, Alan Turing, orbiting him on his leash like a moon around Saturn.
“Hi, Timmy! Whatcha doing?”
“Hi, Mr. Ibanez. Nothing.”
Timmy isn’t entirely sure what you are supposed to do with a turtle, so he throws the rubber bone. It bounces across the street and comes to rest in the gutter beside the Johnsons’ driveway.
“All right, Magellan,” he says, positioning him so he faces the Johnsons’. “Fetch.”
Timmy can’t cross the street without his mother, but in an unusual lack of foresight she never said Magellan couldn’t. The early-morning shadows have receded, but you can still see the salt-white moon, smooth and round as a stone in the sky. After a half-hour, Magellan has only ventured several feet and is veering left of the bone, toward a giant fissure in the street. Timmy decides to go back inside, watch TV, and dig into the last of his Halloween candy.
Just before his mom is due home for lunch, Timmy remembers that he left Magellan out-side and catapults himself down the front steps. The pet turtle is exactly halfway between Tim-my’s house and the Johnsons’ when Mr. Wu’s black SUV comes barreling down the block. A sharp crack splits the air, and Timmy stares at the spot where his pet turtle once was—now an unfamiliar tangle of splintered bone and shell.
Mr. Wu tumbles out of his SUV and pauses beside Timmy, taking a moment to appraise the situation.
He shakes his head. “Sorry, Timmy. I didn’t see your turtle there.” He starts to climb back into his car, but then stops. “If it had been a dog, I might’ve seen it sooner.”