Baster, a turkey's tale

Before I get into a tale of turkey woes, I’d like to give a shout-out to my email buddy and equally unhinged humor writer, A.E. Poynor.


He has just published his first mystery novel, “Somewhere West of Roads,” which is a cool read especially since he didn’t use any really big words that confused me. Plus the action is based on the Kenai and west side of Cook Inlet where the word “odd” was first coined in reference to the local residents.

Congrats A.E.

All of those years of writing “Of Moose and Men” for the Clarion sharpened your vital raconteur skills when it came to avoiding dangly particippy things, misplaced modifiers that have the propensity to suddenly morph into faulty parallelisms and humiliating apostrophe errors. That accomplishment alone, besides the fact that you concocted a really darn good yarn, should send the literary hordes stampeding to the book section of and local vendors who are astute enough to carry the tome.

(By the way A.E., your check better not bounce.)

OK, since it’s that time of the year, let’s get on with the turkey tales.

As with any cross section of the community, each eccentric in my band of four buds has their own way of celebrating Thanksgiving ranging from visiting relatives to what they prefer to stuff their gullets with when the big day rolls around.

Mort, who still lives with his cantankerous and moderately disturbed sister, Bertha-the-Bizarre, (she has a visage that appears to have worn out two bodies and a turbo-snarky personality to match. Except for holidays, if her industrial size broom is parked in the carport, no one will go near the place) always serves spiral sliced ham and so much sweet stuff that three hours after dinner his guests tend to develop a crust on their skin that would attract bees if it wasn’t below freezing.

Wild Willie simply makes a stew out of whatever he’s run over during the past week while my bride and I still enjoy the traditional, steroid pumped, store-bought critter with breasts so huge we could use them as extra table leaves.

Turk is also a gobbler guy and, after swearing off ever raising his own turkey again following the debacle with his psycho bird, Raging Ralph, six years ago, he weakened and decided to give it another shot when a neighbor gave him a free poult.      

Wrong move.

Turkeys are not especially bright but Turk’s little tom had an IQ 20 points below an Oreo and grew into a wickedly mean lump of feathers that took immense pleasure in terrorizing the small homestead, including Turk if he had his back to him.

“T” named the creature Baster to keep things in perspective and avoid any unseemly attachment prior to its scheduled browning.

As the bird grew, he became more and more of a nuisance and it took all of Turk’s will power not to wring the beast’s neck and serve it as a mutant squab during a regular Sunday dinner rather than wait for it to pork up a bit.

Turk finally blew a fuse when Baster nearly stomped his girlfriend’s mini pooch into something resembling 4.75 pounds of kitty litter. By the time he finished paying the vet bills, “T” figured Ole Baster to be worth about $150 a pound and swore he was going to chew “that sumbitch real slow to get my money’s worth.”

To say the least, his significant other was not amused and either the bird had to take a waddle or she would.

Baster ended up in the back of Mort’s cement block tool shed for his final fattening and Turk changed his name to “Oven-Ready.”

It seemed like a great idea until Mort’s sis discovered the creature and became immediately enamored with the quilled cretin.

“It was sort of love at first gawk,” lamented Turk. He figured that Oven- Ready must have reminded her of her first and last boyfriend. Willie theorized it was mutual admiration for each other’s pronounced neck wattles. I assumed it was merely a dispositional match up for a couple of rubber-room candidates.

Whatever the reason, everyone got along until it came time to schedule Oven Ready to get his giblets steamed.

Bertha went nuclear when Turk arrived with a kindling splitter and announced the next time the gobbler laid down it would be in a roaster sans feathers and assorted life support organs.

The ensuing ruckus was better theater than the latest health care dust up and political fiascos erupting around the country. I was amazed. Bertha’s innovative name calling during squabble spawned words my editor wouldn’t repeat to himself much less let me write about.

Fortunately a non-contusion generating compromise was reached and Oven Ready lives on as a pet and guard gobbler for Bertha.

I hope the brainstem with feathers realizes that he’d better be on his best behavior because B.B. has an appalling temper. If he ever decides to throw a snit and take a shot at her, backup-beeper enhanced, kiester with a cantankerous peck, Mort won’t be serving ham again when Christmas rolls around.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t busy trying to figure out how to ninja into the kitchen to purloin a piece of his wife’s caramel apple pie and other Thanksgiving goodies without losing an opposable thumb.


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