We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Last month we asked writers to come with a short story detailing the holiday from the perspective of Tom the turkey. What we got was a whimsical tale of a turkey who just wanted to fly to the moon. Congratulations Alice Gerard for winning November’s contest! Thanks to everyone who participated. We hope you had fun with this challenge!
Check out the prompt and the winning entry below:
Tom was happily chowing down on some fresh sweet corn in his little backyard. The sun was bright and warm, even though the nights had begun to cool. His family had been giving him a lot of attention lately. And a lot of extra food. He clucked and fluffed up his feathers. I must be the luckiest turkey in the world! He thought. Surely those turkeys down the next farm over don’t have it nearly as well as I do.
Suddenly, his attention was drawn to a commotion at the farm house. It sure seemed like there are a lot of people running about today. I wonder what they’re up to? He asked himself.
Tom the Turkey
By Alice Gerard
And then he forgot because, well, turkeys have extremely short attention spans. He went off and did what turkeys do best. He flapped his wings pointlessly and, then, decided to fly. “Hey, I’m a bird. I’m gonna fly to the moon and back! That great big moon in the sky looks like a grand place to take a flying trip!” The only problem was that Tom couldn’t even manage a direct flight to the next farm, much less to the moon.
Tom decided that he would get to the moon a lot quicker if he made a running start. He started flapping his wings furiously, as opposed to pointlessly. That soon tired Tom out. He hadn’t even taken flight and he was already tired. Hmm, he thought. The lady who feeds all of the chickens and turkeys on the farm keeps talking about how much fun she has at Zumba. She has this contraption that she talks into and she talks to her friends who go to Zumba with her. She constantly says, “hold on a minute.” She sets the contraption down and feeds the birds. Then she presses buttons and she laughs. A lot. She’s always laughing or talking about how Zumba got her in good shape.
Zumba. I want to do turkey Zumba, thought Tom. Turkey Zumba would be the talk of the county, of the state, of the entire nation. Tom was enjoying these thoughts, having forgotten that he was planning on flying to the moon when, all of a sudden, that horde of people was practically on top of Tom. Wow. All of that attention. What’s a handsome male turkey to do besides fluff up his feathers and show himself off at his absolute best.
“You’ve been fattening that tom up really well,” said one man who also looked as if someone had been fattening him up. He had a round ruddy and very grizzled-looking face and the buttons on his shirt were straining to keep from popping off. “That’s going to be some prime meat. He will look great on the dinner table for Thanksgiving.”
“Dinner table? Why would I sit on a dinner table? I’d rather be out here when I am served dinner,” Tom thought. “Hmmm, but Thanksgiving. I could be thankful for some wild cranberries, weeds, lemon balm, apples, pears, hot peppers. I’m easily pleased with a good meal and very thankful.” Tom ruffled his feathers at the thought of a good meal.
The Zumba lady said, “Oh, yes, we are going to eat him for Thanksgiving. He will make a magnificent dinner.”
“Eat him??? What???” thought Tom, as a light come on, sort of like that proverbial light bulb that appears over people’s (and turkeys’ heads) in comic strips. “No! This can’t happen. It must not happen!”
“But, Mom,” said a younger version of the Zumba lady, “Why must you cook and eat my favorite turkey?”
“Cook and eat? What does cook mean? Is that bad?” Since turkeys never go into the kitchen, they have no concept of cooking food. Tom stopped fluffing his feathers. He became so nervous that he started pecking at his own chest. He pecked harder and harder and harder. It hurt a bit but he didn’t care. He was very upset that the Zumba lady was so excited about turning him into dinner, instead of serving him dinner.
The very round man with the ruddy and grizzled face looked at Tom as he pecked at himself. He took in a deep breath and three shirt buttons simultaneously popped off and flew feet in the air before falling into a drainage ditch and sinking to the bottom. “That bird has to have some sort of skin problem. Looks to be contagious. You can buy a bird from me. Forget this one. The meat will be terrible.”
At that, all of the humans stomped off in a huff, except for the younger version of the Zumba lady.
“Haha, what a good bird. And they say that turkeys are stupid. You’re no birdbrain, are you?”
Zumba Lady Junior tossed some radishes, mushrooms, and beets at Tom, who made a gobble sound. Well, to Zumba Lady Junior, it sounded like a gobble because humans are incapable of learning to speak Turkey. She went to join the other humans and Tom once again began running to get the momentum to fly to the moon and back.
Alice Gerard is a blogger and a free-lance reporter/photographer, who has written on a variety of topics, including environmental issues, interviews with 100 year old people, local history, and more. She has also edited newsletters for organizations, including a storytelling guild and a PTA. For more of her work check out her website: https://alicesgrandadventures.blogspot.com/.