Wednesday morning, we arrived back where we’d heard the turkey. Shelly had the bright idea that I should make turkey sounds in the hope it would lure the bird to us. I protested
vehemently until she kicked me in the shin and threatened to aim higher with her next shot. I grasped the logic of her argument, and we continued wandering around the area as I gobble-gobbled like an idiot.
Shelly told me to keep my ears peeled and my eyes on the lookout for clues. She didn’t say what clues she hoped to find—an arrow scratched in the dirt pointing to the picture of a turkey, I suppose. With no real plan, we randomly widened our search to wherever we could walk unhindered by the live oak, sagebrush, and wild buckwheat that grows around here like rust on iron.
My throat had grown horse by the time we smelled trouble. Quite literally, we smelled rotter stench wafting in the air, my turkey calls having undoubtedly alerted them to our presence.
We realized our options for flight were severely limited by the dense brush that nearly surrounded us, and we took the only route that led away from the smell. The narrow clearing took us uphill. We had to backtrack several times when, upon choosing a wrong fork, we found ourselves at a dead end.
Progress was slow, and I was getting tired. The only reason we were fleeing was because we didn’t know how many had caught our scent. So far, I’d managed to spot two through the tall brush, a number we could easily manage. We came to an oak tree with branches low enough for me to scale. I didn’t have to climb very high to see the trouble we were in. Rotters were advancing on us from every direction. Just beyond the rise a couple hundred yards off, a tile roof poked up. The brush thinned out somewhat in that direction. It seemed our best bet.
I dispatched two rotters in our path with the machete, and we slid down an embankment to a cement driveway that extended past the side of the house. We found the front door locked, and I wasted precious time fruitlessly trying to kick it in.
A rotter tumbled down the embankment, and landed with a sickening crunch on the driveway. A broken bone had torn through her thigh, and she hobbled toward us with gnashing teeth and grasping arms. Shelly smashed a large ceramic pot containing a dead geranium down on the rotter’s head and laid her out flat. I finished her off with the machete, and we ran to the back of the house.
The back yard consisted of an expansive patio with an empty swimming pool in the center and a wrought iron fence along the back and far side of the house where the hillside sloped steeply away. A sliding glass door offered a way inside the house. I found it locked and rattled the handle and glass in frustration. I would have preferred to close the door behind me once I got inside, but beggars can’t be choosers. I threw a lawn chair at the glass. It bounced harmlessly off.
Several dead rounded the corner of the house and made straight for us. I picked the chair up, determined to break into the house. I struck the glass one blow and froze. From within the house, rotters emerged from unseen rooms and pressed upon the glass door. Luckily, I’d not managed to break the glass.
Shelly shot two rotters in the head at point blank. It was too late to worry about drawing attention with the noise. I looked around. What with the embankment and the drop-off, Shelly and I were effectively cornered.
“Try to find a way onto the roof.” It seemed our only hope.
“If we had time, we could pile furniture up and climb.” Shelly sounded as scared as I felt.
Something brown streaked from the top of the embankment and vanished from sight into the pool. Three rotters followed and fell from the top of the embankment. Two landed on their heads and did not move from where they hit the cement. The third was messed up pretty bad and crawled our way by the movement off one leg.
“Something’s in the pool. Check it out while I put this one out of its misery.” I ran to the rotter as Shelly inched toward the pool, leaning forward to glimpse what was there. It took but a moment to carry out my chore, and I turned in time to see Shelly jump back and scream as the brown thing lept out of the pool and shoot past her.
The words erupted from Shelly and me simultaneously. “It’s the #%$@ing turkey.”
The turkey ran to the far end of the house and disappeared. We raced after it and found a door, ajar and concealed behind a wall of wisteria. We ducked inside, found a light switch, and were relieved to find ourselves in a garage, unoccupied but for the turkey and a late model Camaro. We locked ourselves inside and were safe for the time being.
Inside the garage was another door that led into the house. After a search of the car failed to turn up a key, I was designated the group’s key finder. Luckily, the door to the house was unlocked and I was able to slip quietly inside. I could hear the rotters rustling about the room with the sliding glass door, and I literally tip-toed into the kitchen. Luck was with me, and I found the keys on the counter.
I snatched them up and turned to make my exit. Had I paid more attention to my nose, I probably would have smelled the rotter that had entered the kitchen before I heard it groan. I hadn’t enough room to swing the machete, and hurled myself over a kitchen island, scattering food crusted dishes and pans clashing and clattering across the floor.
I made it into the garage and slammed the door closed behind me. Shelly sat in the driver’s seat with door open. I tossed her the keys. “I guess you’re driving.” I scrambled into the passenger seat, as the Camaro roared to life. Shelly pressed the remote control device clipped to the visor, and the garage door rolled open on its tracks.
We arrived home in short order. Shelly popped open the trunk and stuffed the turkey under her arm. She’d zip tied the bird’s feet together and had no difficulty making it cooperate. I hooked the horn for several seconds while Shelly took cover behind a large pepper tree. The noise created enough distraction for us to climb to the roof and reenter the house.
That’s enough adventure to last me for a good long time. Funny thing how the big hunters were saved by the very turkey they meant to eat. There’s no telling if we’d have found the garage door on our own before overrun by rotters.
In conclusion, this promises to be a most wonderful Thanksgiving, if the smell coming from the kitchen is any indication. I truly never expected to taste turkey ever again.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.