Today is All Hallows' Eve but you would never know it out here, as today is just like any other, well at least in the construction area it is, as the rafters on the headquarters building were completed and all of the walls are up on both the hospital and chapel.
Our head cook, a Black Leg sergeant named Marion Louis Thibodeaux III, is of Cajun French descent and hails from Beaumont in San Jacinto Province. Without a doubt, the man knows his way around the kitchen. To make a long story short, last night upon hearing RSM Taggart and I speak of our adventures all thought it was humorous and when the part about the turtle came up, he jumped from his seat with his eyes wide and foaming at the mouth. He started talking rapidly in his French patois, followed by one of his trademark OOOEEEE’s. Everyone just looked at each other as he stormed out of the NCO Mess Tent.
This morning, he and Private Mistrot (mee-stroh) - the only other Cajun in the camp - were not at breakfast. About lunch time, Mistrot comes running into camp and talks to Sergeant Garcia with arms flailing in the air and next thing I know, he is following close behind Garcia as they run up to my position. Sergeant Garcia asks me if he can take Spot out towards the swamp to help Private Mistrot and Sergeant Thibodeaux. It seems that our crazy Cajun cook has got the turtle we saw yesterday cornered (according to Private Mistrot’s ramblings). This got the attention of RSM Taggart, and now we were all interested and had to see for ourselves how a 5’ -9”, 190 lbs. Army cook could have cornered a ten foot long, 900 lbs. Venusian turtle!
We were all on top of Spot, heading toward the swamp, and anxious to see what trouble our cook had gotten himself into. We were sure Mistrot had just got his story backwards, what with his somewhat loose grip on the English language. As we got closer to the spot we saw Sergeant Thibodeaux in a tree and knew that he was in trouble with his enormous turtle. The next thing that happened took us all by surprise, as the crazy Cajun cook jumped from the tree onto the turtle's back and stabbed the turtle in the neck repeatedly with his Bowie bayonet. By the time we got to the turtle, it was dead and Thibodeaux was a mess: exhausted, bloody and with a torn uniform that looked as though he had defeated the Kaiser's whole army by himself. For a while, he just laid on top of the shell staring at the sky. I could not believe how big this turtle was when we got right next to it. RSM Taggart and I were unsure if this was the same turtle, but I am no turtle expert. We eventually got Thibodeaux on his feet and drug the turtle by rope behind Spot all the way back to camp. The thick shell protected the carcass pretty well from the dragging across the jungle floor.
When we entered camp, everyone had to have a look, and were in awe that a turtle could get that big. Sergeant Thibodeaux has his work cut out for him as he has to cut the thing up for cooking, and only a few hours to do that in before the massive carcass starts to go bad in the heat and humidity of the Veiled Planet. I am tired from our adventure and look forward to a day off this Sunday.
[Editors Note: The Bowie Bayonet is a foot long and shaped just like the infamous knife of Colonel James Bowie.]