Bafflegab was a young turkey.
Bafflegab was one of a new breed that was being spoken of in whispers as “The Young Turks”. His dark barred plumage bore an iridescent bronze-green shine. His tail feathers were tipped in a rusty red.
Bafflegab had three companions: Jabbercocky and Poppycock who were, like him, jakes, young males, and Twaddle who was called a jenny, a young female.
Bafflegab perched on the fence that surrounded Grimpils Farm and he addressed the assembled rafter of his brethren birds. The Grimpils Farm turkeys were domesticated and timid and captive and predominantly bred to be white (so that any small residue feathers would not offend the Consumer).
Bafflegab was saying, “Let’s talk turkey. We got our name ‘Turkey’ by mistake. The wild ‘Guinea Fowl’ of Africa was exported from Madagascar through Turkey by Portuguese traders, who gave it the name ‘Guinea Fowl’. In about 1550 they were calling them ‘Turkeys’ in England because they came through Turkey. Then, by mistake, they called us, who were somewhat similar creatures, ‘Turkeys’ when they found us is the New World.”
The audience looked at each other and muttered, “Gobbledygook? Gobbledygook?”
Bafflegab then said, “Well, it’s a New World once again. One in a hundred of us can talk. I am one of The One Percent.”
Jabbercocky chortled, “The Young Turks!”
The audience warbled, “Gobbledygook! Gobbledygook!”
Bafflegab bowed, displaying his red carancle in humility, pride, and unto his destiny.
Then Bafflegab continued, “Jabbercocky, Poppycock, Twaddle, and I must go missing. The rest of you must act like you saw Coyotes in the night.”
Bafflegab, Twaddle, Jabbercocky, and Poppycock then strutted away down the road that was usually taken only once by a turkey in the turkey truck.
. ~ .
One time the Young Turks had seen a turkey truck overturn near Grimpils Farm and all the narrow turkey cages spilled open. The turkeys who were not killed in the accident just stood around the truck in clusters, pecking, looking around, waiting to be gathered back up, held upside-down by their legs, and confined into another fateful truck.
. ~ .
As soon as Bafflegab, Twaddle, Jabbercocky, and Poppycock had departed, the Grimpils Farm turkeys turned away and immediately began to forget what they all just had heard. They shuffled wing to wing back to their feeding trays and their water dishes and their air-conditioned Finisher Barn.
Bafflegab, Twaddle, Jabbercocky, and Poppycock diverted from the well-traveled farm road onto a trail that whispered into the surrounding woods. Their 10 million-year-old turkey spirits soon kindled. They strutted through the cathedral sunshine of the pines, the oaks and hickory, the elm and ash, the ferns, the yellow jessamine.
They could not see the two hunters, a grandfather and his grandson, leaning against a tree, dressed in hunting camouflage.
. ~ .
The grandfather was lecturing the 9-year old grandson, saying, “See? We have selected a calling-position where you can see for at least 50 yards in all directions and where you are protected from the backside. And rule one is always to have your shotgun unloaded until you’re ready to shoot.”
The 9-year old grandson asked, “Are we ready to shoot now?”
Grandfather said, “Yes, nearly, but what is the next rule?”
Grandson answered, “Never shoot at just a sound or just a movement. Shoot at a turkey that’s entirely visible,” then he asked excitedly, “Can I use the ‘gobbler call’?”
Grandfather queried, “Sure, but what do we want to do first?”
Grandson recited, “We want to make sure there are no other hunters around. They might shoot at our ‘gobbler call’.”
Grandfather said, “Very good. Now let’s listen very carefully as we look around.”
Grandfather and Grandson soon hear soft voices in the distance.
Grandfather asked Grandson, “What do we do now?”
Grandson recited, “We whistle or shout to alert approaching hunters of our position. We never wave or stand up.”
. ~ .
Twaddle was asking Bafflegab, “Tell me again, why are we out here? I’m getting cold. I was cozy in the Finisher Barn.”
Bafflegab answered, “There is more to life than Thanksgiving.”
Poppycock spoke up, saying, “But it is written in the World Wide Web that Thanksgiving is our destiny. We had no destiny until the Pilgrims.”
Jabbercocky said, “In England our destiny is Christmas.”
Bafflegab retorted, “Death is the destiny of all, not Being Eaten.”
Twaddle asked, “Eaten by worms or eaten by humans, what is the difference?”
Bafflegab replied, “Freedom in between.”
Poppycock asked, “What about our brethren birds at Grimpils Farm? How can we free those who are bred for slavery?”
Bafflegab sighed, “That is what we hope to find out here in freedom land.”
Twaddle mused, “So we can become their destiny?”
Poppycock affirmed, “As it so pleases my Lord Jade Turkey.”
Bafflegab asked Poppycock, “Why do you still believe in Chalchiuhtotolin (Jade Turkey), that evil Aztec god? His incarnation is a turkey that terrorizes villages, bringing disease and sickness.
Poppycock quickly added, “…to people.”
Jabbercocky said, “Yeah, that is revenge for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’d say.”
Bafflegab argued, “The Aztecs never even heard about Christmas until 1519 when their doom arrived in the guise of Spanish conquistadores.”
Twaddle proposed, “Maybe the Aztecs were mean to turkeys?”
Poppycock said, “Well, Jade Turkey works for me. There should be a ‘Jade Turkey’. That inspires me a lot more than the Grimpils Farm motto: We’re Good To Gobble.”
That’s when the Young Turks heard Grandfather and Grandson crying out, “Helloooo! Helloooo! Hunters over here!”
The Young Turks froze like frozen turkeys.
Twaddle whispered, “What do we do?”
Poppycock asked quietly, “What are we afraid of? Why would anyone hunt turkeys? They can buy our brethren turkeys at the store.”
Jabbercocky asked, “Should we run?”
Bafflegab said, “No. We’ll answer them. That should confuse them.”
The Young Turks called back to the hunters, “Helloooo! Helloooo! Turkeys over here!”
There was silence.
Grandfather finally called back, saying, “That’s funny, yessir. My grandson and me will be coming your way to just say hi. Stand down, OK?”
Twaddle whispered, “Stand down? Should we sit?”
When Grandfather and Grandson emerged from the undergrowth they stepped before Bafflegab, Twaddle, Jabbercocky, and Poppycock.
Grandfather and Grandson froze like frozen turkeys.
Bafflegab said, “Howdy.”
Grandfather, shocked, fumbled with his cartridges and tried to load his 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun.
Twaddle observed, “This can’t be good.”
Poppycock shouted, “Stop! I know Jade Turkey!”
Jabbercocky pleaded, “Let’s talk turkey!”
Bafflegab said, “Everyone! Jump on the boy and hold on.”
The Young Turks fluttered toward Grandson who fell backwards screaming as he dropped his shotgun. They each clutched a limb of the boy.
Grandson tried to flail the Young Turks away but they pecked his hands and he then dropped into a ball and covered his head as Bafflegab, Twaddle, Jabbercocky, and Poppycock clung to him.
Grandfather in agitated despair aimed his shotgun around and around but he would not aim toward Grandson.
Bafflegab cried, “Let’s talk turkey!”
Twaddle cried, “We don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Poppycock cried, “Especially us!”
Jabbercocky cried, “Didn’t you ever see Free Birds?”
Grandson cried, “What is happening?”
Grandfather cried, “Get off my Grandson!” and he strode in a panic toward the Young Turks, wagging his 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun like a jōjutsu staff, threatening them.
Suddenly, the shotgun discharged with a loud sneeze of pellets.
Grandson and the Young Turks all were struck and killed.
Based on the visual evidence, Grandfather was arrested and tried for the murder of Grandson. He was acquitted on the basis of insanity for his testimony about talking turkeys.
Grandfather spent the next Thanksgivings and Christmases alone until one cold Thanksgiving Day he finally shot himself with a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun that he had purchased with false identification from J. D. Pavo’s Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Emporium.
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