Live Turkey

Once upon a time there lived Turkey; Turkey had the attribute of being a crotchety git. Most of the creatures in the forest thought this was because Turkey was getting on in age, but Fox knew better. Turkey had the kind of constipated look on his face, lips puckered like an asshole straining, that said he was a grumpy gus ever since he was a hatchling, surveying unimpressedly the world he had been born into, believing himself to be above all of Creation.

Seeing the other creatures: Bear, Deer, Beaver, Goose, thriving and frolicking in the forest pissed Turkey off. Turkey, being an ignorant son of a bitch, thought all the other creatures were turkeys too; saw the world in a bichromatic shade of black and white of “with or against me”; and would not be satisfied until he shat on the work of all the “other turkeys.”

Turkey judged the dam Beaver built, saying it was poorly made, constructed from shoddy materials, and that it was stupid for a turkey to build a dam anyway. Turkey woke up Bear from hibernation, calling him a lazy turkey, saying Bear should be more productive; when Bear roared his disapproval at being woken early, Turkey said, “You’re doing it wrong. It’s ‘Gobble, gobble,’ you sorry excuse for a turkey.” Turkey mocked Goose, saying that it was a jive turkey indeed that took to the air – better to stay close to the ground the way turkeys were meant to.

One day Raven, hungry from a sojourn, paused in Turkey’s forest for a tasty meal of Rat. Turkey saw Raven gulping down the rodent and quipped, “That is not what turkeys eat. And your feathers are too dark!”

Raven slurped down the tail and belched softly, replied, “Did it occur to you that perhaps I am no turkey?”

“Nonsense!” Turkey retorted, “all that is are turkeys!”

Raven was unimpressed by Turkey’s short-sightedness, but was diplomatic and responded, “Not all turkeys can be as resplendent as you. You must be kindly to us lesser turkeys.”

“I need be no such thing,” Turkey rejoindered, but was content in having his ego prodded. Turkey fanned out his tail feathers and started to strut away. Raven called out to him, but Turkey was too busy preening to hear the wisdom, which was this: “There is an old adage – ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your fucking beak shut!’ You pompous git.” Raven flew off to find friendlier climes, making note to himself to avoid turkeys in the future.

The next day found Turkey mocking Deer for her funny turkey gait. Fox discovered the scene, which left the poor doe in tears, and devised a plan to make Turkey pay for his hubris. Fox approached Turkey humbly and prostrated himself before the bird (repressing his urge to devour the fool), and said, “Oh great Turkey! The turkeys of this forest have held a consortium and have elected you our King!”

Turkey preened but scolded Fox, “Why was I not invited to this consortium?”

“We wanted it to be a surprise,” Fox replied slyly.

“Well,” Turkey gushed, tail feathers in full swell, “I practically rule this forest anyway, but it’s nice that you buffoonish turkeys had the sense to give me a proper title.”

“Not just a title, m’lord,” Fox said, “but a crown as well.”

“A crown?”

“Yes, so that all who see you will know you to be King of the Turkeys.” Turkey began gobbling excitedly. “We shall hold the coronation at the Grand Oak Stump in the center of the forest. Go there and lay your head upon the stump. Rest it there until the crown is perched upon your resplendent head. And keep your eyes closed until you feel its weight upon you.”

And so Turkey excitedly raced to the tree and waited, precisely as Fox had requested. Meanwhile, Fox snuck onto the Woodsman’s lot and stole one of his few chickens, in plain sight, while the Woodsman was cutting firewood. The Woodsman chased Fox with his axe in tow and was eventually led to the center of the forest. He saw Turkey, laying his head on the stump, and not being one to look a gift turkey in the mouth, shrugged and raised his axe, taking off Turkey’s head in one fell blow.

Fox watched while enjoying the tender flesh of the chicken he had slaughtered, munching away at the theatrics of the scene, content in his reward for his cunning. Bear saw all the plot and watched the whole grift; he told Deer and Deer told Beaver and shortly the tale of Turkey’s end resounded through the forest, gossip and a warning against pride and idiocy. Shortly thereafter the reign of Turkey was forgotten – until another Turkey took his place.


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