Wild Willie and I had just settled in for halftime munchies at Turk’s cabin when the phone rang. Turk grunted something about the caller’s lineage, snapped up the receiver and barked, “What?” He listened for a moment, turned and rumbled, “Some hose-head wants to know if I still have Ralph.” He hung up with a snort.
I froze and Wild Willie went pale twisting his head toward Turk so fast that it took two of us to pull a hot wing out of his nose after he regained consciousness. Turk hadn’t mentioned a word about Ralph in over two years and we both thought that the curmudgeon fowl had assumed room temperature.
Why were we so upset? Simply put, I held Ralph in the same high regard that I would a prostate the size of a regulation hockey puck, and he just plain scared the Duct tape-patched Jockeys off of W.W.
Let me explain.
Turk owns a farm and on that farm he raises a meals-on-the-hoof-n-claw menagerie. He is a bit of a survivalist and has enough goodies stored in his underground root cellar to feed himself until New Year’s Eve 3010. He raises chickens, pigs, goats, rabbits, ducks and a few turkeys. It was from the latter flock that Ralph rose from an abnormal egg to become one of the nastiest creatures lumbering around the planet.
He was an avian porker and an eating machine that ballooned up so much that he became a colossal breast with feet. He assumed the personality of a piranha on crack and was devious enough that he managed to avoid the annual Thanksgiving ax until he became so ancient and gristly that the only edible part of his body was his beak.
Everyone thought that when Ralph suddenly disappeared a few years back that Turk must have finally given up and taken him out with an anti-tank weapon. It was either that or he was sold to the Macy Corporation for use in its Thanksgiving Day Parade as a full-sized float.
Looking back, Ralph had been a pain in the butt ever since he hit teen turkeyhood. At first we all thought it was cool when he developed an attitude and a strut that sent the turkettes swooning and other young toms ducking for cover. We were even more impressed when he kicked the cur hair off a couple of raiding coyotes and flat mugged a young marauding eagle.
He had a great gig going as the ultimate guard bird until he went rogue, turning into some sort of adolescent gangsta gobbler jackin’ up every visitor to the ranch.
Wild Willie was his first victim and barely escaped with his manhood intact. The poor guy still talks two octaves higher when he has a flashback. Ralph even tried to take me out when I brought Turk’s Harley back after a fall run to Soldotna. I had just turned around in the yard when the feathered zeppelin crashed down on my neck from the porch roof.
Needless to say, for a couple of minutes there, I thought I was going to end up as Ralph’s afternoon delight. Elbows, wings, dirt-n-things flew until Turk managed to get a chain around the frenzied fowl’s neck and dragged it off with his pickup.
Since we weren’t the only ones attacked as the turkey terrorist grew up, a contract was finally put out on Ralph’s head. That’s when he mysteriously disappeared and Turk hadn’t mentioned him, until now.
“Ralph? Did you say Ralph? I I thought that cretin was compost!” I sputtered.
“N-n-n-n-nooo way, Dude. Say it ain’t so, man,” Willie whimpered. “I wouldn’t go near that $@&%*tch in an armored personnel carrier.”
“The bird’s been rehabbed fellas,” Turk confided. “I’m putting him up for adoption as a free-range turkey stud. Want to say goodbye?”
We cautiously approached the barn coop and were shocked. Ralph had slimmed down to baster size and was as quiescent as a bunny on ’ludes. He just sat there and stared at us. I was impressed until he smirked.
Yesterday, Turk gave Ralph to a card-carrying PETA neighbor who’s been squabbling with him for years about his meat-eating habits. I thought it was a great peace offering until Turk muttered, “I’ll give that relationship till around the midholidays. Then one of those two hemorrhoidal infrastructures is gonna end up as the other’s buffet centerpiece. Either way, I win.”
It’s been said that “revenge is a dish best served cold.” If so, Turk is a master chef.
Nick C. Varney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if he’s not dodging the Animal Liberation Front that’s desperately trying to give back his repugnant dog Howard.
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