Angie put the turtles' tank on the kitchen counter. "So, any other questions?"
Dave looked at the creatures who would become his pets for the next two weeks. "Just one. How do we tell them apart?"
"Oh, that's easy. Michelangelo has an orange nail-polish dot on his shell, and Leonardo has a blue dot. Thank you so much for watching Jessie's turtles while we're on vacation." Angie turned to her daughter. "Jessie, what do you say to the Anderson's for watching your turtles?"
Jessie sniffled, with a longing glance to her turtles. "Thanks."
Dave tussled her hair. "You're welcome. Don't worry. Sharon and I will take wonderful care of Leonardo and Michelangelo."
"Houston, we have a predicament."
"Dave walked into the room, holding a turtle. "Leonardo. I think he's dead."
"Why do you say that?"
"He hasn't moved in three days."
Sharon threw a sideways glance at Dave. "Um... he's a turtle. Turtles don't move much."
"Yeah, but three days? I looked online, just to make sure. I blew in his face, and I turned him on his back, and I tried to bribe him with food, and... besides," Dave sniffed, then turned his head, offering the turtle to his wife. "He stinks."
Sharon sniffed. "Phew! I think you may be right. We have a bit of a predicament on our hands."
Dave raised an eyebrow. "A bit of a predicament?"
"Okay. Fine. A predicament. Maybe even a... rather sizable predicament."
"Actually. I think this is more than just a predicament. This is a problem."
"Uh, Dave? You're the one who called it a predicament in the first place. Besides, isn't that what a predicament is? A problem?"
"Well, yes, I suppose. But I generally think of a predicament to be a small problem. Or even a slightly humorous one. But this is neither."
Sharon thought about it for a bit. "Actually, I'm pretty sure a predicament is any problem, no matter how big or small."
"Whatever. But arguing about the definition of predicament isn't going to solve this predicament... or whatever it is, now is it. So let's think."
"Well, it's obvious. We just tell Jessie that we're sorry, but it was Leonardo's time to go to turtle heaven."
"I don't think so. She nearly cried when she left them with us, and it's just for two weeks. How to you think she's going to respond when she finds out Leonardo is never coming back? I think we should buy a new one."
"She's going to know it's not really Leonardo, you know."
"He's a turtle. They had to put colored dots on them to tell them apart. And you think she's going to notice?"
"I don't know, Dave. Kids can tell these things. If you do it, I'm out of it completely. This is your idea."
"Okay. Okay. Fine." Dave grabbed the car keys from the counter. "Uh... Sharon? Do we have any blue fingernail polish?"
"Have you ever seen me wear fingernail polish at all? Let alone bright blue fingernail polish?"
"Good point. I'd better buy some of that too."
Dave bit his lip, as he painted a blue dot on "Leonardo's" shell. "There. Good as new. She'll never know the difference."
The next day, Angie returned to pick up Leonardo and Michelangelo. "Thank you so much."
Jessie stared at the tank, her head cocked to the side. "Mommy, Leonardo doesn't look quite right."
Dave held his breath.
Angie picked up the tank and walked towards the door. "Oh, don't worry, Jessie. I'm sure he's just sad because he missed you so much."
The door closed and Dave let out a sigh of relief. "Mission accomplished," he mumbled under his breath.
Dave walked over and picked up the phone. "Hello. Anderson residence."
"Hi. Dave? This is Angie. I have a question for you. When you were watching Michelangelo and Leonardo a few weeks ago, did Leonardo act... strange at all?"
"Strange?" Dave chucked, as he pulled at his collar. "He's a turtle. I mean, all he does is eat, sleep, and sun himself under the heat lamp. Why do you ask?"
"Leonardo just laid eggs."
Fictional, though I'm sure similar true tales could be told
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