*CLANK!* *tick-tick* *SQUEAK* *CLONK!*
“Don’cha love the sound of our new junkyard neighbourhood?” Mike Himmel said from the rusted bonnet of a car. His and Joe Sakana’s robot animal creations were each stationed in a shelter made of hollowed vans, automobile bodies and junk scraps. The boys had built all of this in the Swindon junkyard.
Snappy the alligator was outside his shed. He was showing his doctor’s stethoscope to Tonk, the rabbit. The earpieces were in Snappy’s ears as he held out the other end to Tonk.
“Beep!” Tonk spoke into the end of the stethoscope.
“OUCH!” Snappy jerked his head back. “That’s too loud. You mustn't do that when I am wearing this!” Tonk giggled and blinked his rubber gasket eyes.
Mayor Crick, the tall frog, was in his small campervan home greeting Ratchet the grasshopper from her tidy scrap-metal shack. Crick politely took her hand in his. Ratchet curtsied as he bowed.
“Amazing,” said Mike. “It’s like the robots have always known each other.”
“Right,” Joe said, pushing his thick glasses up his nose. “You think four robots is enough for our little family, or should we make some more? Maybe we’re lucky it’s so peaceful around here.”
“Quit worryin’ so much, Joey,” said Mike. “I mean, our turtle here has been patiently waiting for at least a week. I think it’s ready to get an electrical heart and join the other robots, don’t you?” Mike pointed at their large turtle sculpture. It had huge sleepy headlight eyes and a big lorry hubcap as a shell.
“Here!” Mike slapped one of the electrical hearts into Joe’s palm.
Within moments, goggles on, they had the turtle ready for robot surgery. A smoke puff rose as Joe pressed the soldering iron onto the wires. Then the electrical heart went into the chest of the turtle sculpture.
A rusty cloud rose. The turtle blinked its eyes and let out a metallic burp.
The rest of the robot crew had gathered around them to watch. The turtle robot wiggled its metal arms and legs.
“AAaaaaaG-uh...” the turtle croaked out.
“Let’s flip him over. Seems like he's struggling,” Joe said. Snappy and Ratchet held either side of the turtle’s hubcap shell. They flipped the turtle onto his belly.
A big puff of hot, musty steam shot out from beneath the shell.
“Ouch!” Ratchet said. She put her grasshopper hand in her mouth. “It’s hot!”
Then the turtle robot went limp.
“Did the heart not work?” asked Ol’ Crick the frog.
“Wadda shame! I was excited to meet them!” said Tonk.
“Easy, easy. Aren’t you rushing things a bit?” Joe asked. “Maybe we should give him a minute. Like, he’s a turtle. Turtles are slow. Maybe he just needs time to come to life.”
Snappy leaned in and listened with his doctor’s stethoscope.
“I’m afraid I don’t hear any life there, Joseph.”
“Ya lost yer touch there, Joe,” Mike said.
“I don’t really know what was different this time,” said Joe.
“I made him just like the others, from random car and bike parts.”
“Well,” said Mayor Crick. “It seems as though our new friend was not meant to come alive.”
“Oh, well,” said Mike. “Let’s take his heart out so we can use it on another robot.”
“I wouldn’t recommend that,” said Snappy the alligator. “We should let him rest in peace.”
“Oh. Like give him...a funeral?” said Joe.
“Most certainly,” said Mayor Crick. “All citizens deserve the same respect.”
“We can bring my flowers,” said Ratchet. She walked on her back two legs toward her shack. There were several pots of metal flower sculptures decorating her fence.
The next morning they began a peaceful, respectful funeral for the turtle robot. Mike and Joe carried small shovels. They led the group of robot animals through the woods surrounding the junkyard and down a hill to a stream. The group wore black funeral clothes. Tonk and Ratchet carried the turtle in a wooden box they had hammered together from scraps.
“The dirt’s soft down there. It’ll be easier to bury ‘im,” Mike said.
As they walked down the hill, Tonk’s foot caught a tree root.
“Whoa-oh!” Tonk fell forward and dropped his end of the heavy box holding the turtle.
“Aaagh!” yelled Ratchet as she lost her grip as well.
The box broke open and the turtle robot tumbled out. It slid down the hill on its large hubcap shell. The group could only watch.
“Oh, no! It’s headed for the stream!” Joe yelled.
The turtle landed in the water, belly up. The cool clear stream was shallow, but water still flowed over the turtle’s motionless body.
“Sheesh,” Mike chuckled. “Things keep gettin’ worse for this guy.”
Suddenly, they saw bubbles come up from the water around the turtle.
“Hey!” Joe yelled. “His legs moved!”
“Naw,” said Mike. “It’s just moving ‘cause the water is moving.”
But sure enough, the turtle’s legs did move. The turtle robot rocked on its shell until it flipped itself over in the shallow stream.
“Whoa!” yelled Joe. “See? Its legs were moving. I knew it, I knew it!”
“Well, don’t just stand there,” said Snappy. “Pull it out of the water.”
The boys and Tonk rushed down and approached the turtle. But they paused, amazed, as the turtle’s shell opened on a hinge!
Beneath the shell was an old, small car radiator. Water was gurgling and bubbling through it. A big puff of steam blew upward.
“¡Guau! That ees so much better.” The robot turtle finally spoke. “As I was trying to say earlier: Aaaa-gua!” The turtle closed his shell.
“I’m sorry?” Joe said.
“Water,” Snappy said. “Agua is Spanish...for water.”
“Of course!” Mike said, slapping his forehead. “Joe! You got that radiator from that old Spanish sports car, right? Wow. That’s wicked!”
“Sí,” said the turtle as he climbed the bank towards the group. He stood on his hind legs and put out a hand.
“My name ees El Capitan.” The turtle shook everyone’s hands. “Mayor Crick at your service,” the tall frog robot said. “We
are all very happy to welcome you to the neighbourhood. Perhaps we can help you build a place to live.” The Mayor pointed up the hill towards the junkyard village.
“No, gracias,” said the turtle. “El Capitan is not quite a social animal. I need to stay near the stream.”
“Right,” said Joe. “Turtles are amphibians.”
“They need water. Sorry...agua,” Mike smiled.
“Whatever you require...El Capitan,” Mayor Crick said, smiling with his rubber-hose lips. “Perhaps when you’re settled in you can come join us for a cup of oil.”
“Sí. That does sound good,” said El Capitan. “Right after I go for a swim.”
Benefits of reading Junkyard - Hubcap Turtle
This short story covers the friendship theme. Hubcap Turtle is written and narrated in the third person. We recommend children with a reading age of 6 - 10 years old for this story.
Who are the main characters in Junkyard - Hubcap Turtle
The main character in the Junkyard series is ten-year-old Joe Sakana and his best friend Mike Himmel. This is a sci-fi story series set in Swindon where the boys create robots that become characters. In episode 5 they create a robot turtle.