It's often said that truth is stranger than fiction. Well, this is most definitely one of those cases; it's not the sort of turkey story you're likely to hear on a typical Thanksgiving Day. During the summer of 2008, a volunteer for a charity group was driving about the "less-traveled" area of Martha's Vineyard. They were looking for a family in need of some baby things, as the wife was due to have a baby any day. Well, they happened to get off the wrong road, and wound up in a sort of deserted area.
Getting out of the car, the volunteer started walking around, hoping to find a hint as to where the house was that they were looking for. They didn't; that was because they were way, way off on the wrong road. Then, suddenly, they found themselves under attack! A wild turkey came charging out of the woods and began chasing the poor volunteer around their car in a scene reminiscent of a scene out of the movie Cujo. The volunteer ran and ran, and finally got back in the car. This did not dissuade old Tom though. No, no, no, this merely angered him even more.
So, Tom Turkey began to beat his wings against the car, truly scaring the daylights out of the poor volunteer. In an effort to drive Tom away, the volunteer began throwing the baby items out the window of the car. Unfortunately, this effort also failed. In a last ditch attempt at getting the crazed critter away, the volunteer picked up their cellphone and called the Island Police.
Not long after this, one of the Boys in Blue made an appearance, and also attempted to drive the insane bird away. Well, old Tom had his dander up; so he threw himself at the officer. The man did what any good policeman would do when under attack by a crazed assailant - he drew his weapon and fired!
And thus, Tom fell, mortally wounded.
Ah, but this was not the end of this tale (or should we say: tail?) of woe. No, no; now enter the local resident, a man who had been feeding old Tom the Wild Turkey for years and considered him to be like a pet. He was furious at the police officer for killing Tom, and he now attacked. At this point, the officer exercised a bit of discretion, and merely cuffed the man for assaulting an officer.
Later, the charges were dropped. Although the neihbor said he still planned to sue the Island Police for extreme emotional distress over the death of poor Tom.
And then came the final point. The neighbor asked that Tom's body be returned to him so that he could give him a proper burial. Ah, but such was not to be the case. No, an Island Judge ruled that to do so would violate the law about hunting turkeys out of season (as this all took place in summer, and turkeys were hunted in the fall).
Now the joke around the Island is that out there, out in the wilderness of the Island, Tom's spirit still dwelled, and he was watching and waiting for a chance at revenge. So, watch out, citizens of Martha's Vineyard; someday will come the sequel to all this. Someday will come:
Gobbler II: Tom's Revenge!
And yes, this is a true story.
Click here for more by AJ Robinson.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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