Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Turkey's Thanksgiving


This is just a little holiday story I wrote to use with fluency strategies at a teacher's workshop in 2010, but since it's that time of year, I thought I'd share it...  

A Turkey’s Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was fast approaching.  This was the time of year when all of the turkeys in the farmyard began to get nervous.  Who would Farmer Bob invite to Thanksgiving dinner this year?
Archibald, the socially inept turkey, was supposed to meet with his brother today.  Archibald’s brother, Wilbur, the mildly demented turkey, was late, as usual.  Archibald paced around in a circle, stumbling over the same pebbles again and again.
Archibald and Wilbur had been mere chicks when their mother had been invited to Thanksgiving dinner at the farmhouse last year.  She had never come back.  Perhaps that was why Archibald had grown up to be socially inept and Wilbur had grown up to be mildly demented.

 
 ****




By the time Wilbur finally made his way over to Archibald’s corner of the yard, Archibald was already dizzy from his circular pacing.  His head wobbled as he spoke.
“Gobble, gobble,” Archibald said.
Wilbur nodded in agreement, with a gleam in his eye.
Turkey-Speak is a language with many subtle nuances.  Archibald had, in two seemingly simple gobbles, conveyed to his brother his fear of the upcoming holiday, his uncertainty about what atrocities might be being committed at the big farmhouse, and his desperate desire to run away.  He had also hinted that he might need to go to the bathroom soon.
Wilbur’s nod indicated agreement, but Wilbur secretly had other plans.

 
 ****



The unspoken fear around the farmyard was that – horror of horrors – the turkey Farmer Bob took to dinner on Thanksgiving was probably eaten by him and his family.  Wilbur shuddered.  Even Wilbur was shaken by such an idea.
Wilbur had spotted the axe a few months ago.  Farmer Bob kept it in a storage box, but he often left the lid open.  Wilbur had been trying to work out how to wield it in his beak for some time now.  At first, he had planned to kill Farmer Bob with it.  However, although mildly demented, Wilbur did not lack common sense.  He eventually realized that, since he was limited by his height, he would only be able to chop Farmer Bob in the shins.  This would probably not kill Farmer Bob.  It would probably just make him angry.  If Farmer Bob was angry at Wilbur, Wilbur would surely be the turkey that was plucked from the yard this year.
Desperate times called for desperate measures.  “Survival of the fittest turkey!” Wilbur assured himself.  And so, Wilbur had hatched another scheme. Farmer Bob had never struck Wilbur as a wasteful man.   If a turkey was already dead when Farmer Bob came out on Thanksgiving morning, surely he wouldn’t take a live one into the house. 

 
 ****



Archibald, the socially inept turkey, did not have any friends.  They all thought he was awkward,  goofy, or just plain weird.  He had no turkey to turn to but his brother, and now he was so relieved that his brother was going to run away with him!
Wilbur had told him to meet him in back of the coop at first light on Thanksgiving Day.  Archibald was so excited the night before that he could hardly sleep.
“Gobble!” Archibald said happily to himself.
The other turkeys in the coop groaned.  They hated when Archibald talked to himself.


   
 ****



Archibald met Wilbur behind the coop, by the big storage locker, at first light. 
“Gobble!  Gobble, gobble!” said Archibald.
Wilbur nodded, but pointed to the storage locker with his beak.
“We’ll need that fence cutting tool there to get through the fence.  Can you get it for me?” Wilbur said.
Wilbur spoke English, as all turkeys that weren’t socially inept did when people weren’t around.
“Gobble?” Archibald said uncertainly.
“Just under the axe there.”
Once Archibald had gotten into the locker and burrowed his head down under the axe to look for the fence cutter, Wilbur jumped on the axe with all his might.  It was messy and took several jumps, but he eventually severed Archibald’s neck.
“What’s this?!” cried Farmer Bob when he went out to the yard and found a headless turkey in front of the coop. 
His wife came running out.
“Oh, no!  It’s horrible!” she cried.
“I was just coming out to see if any of the turkeys needed their annual veterinary care, and someone has gone and butchered one of them!” said Farmer Bob.
Farmer Bob, who was never wasteful, then turned to his wife and asked “What do you think we should do with this poor dead turkey?”
“Well…” his wife said, trying to calm herself.  “I guess it’s almost a shame we’re vegetarians.  Perhaps we should give it to the neighbors for Thanksgiving?”