Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble Gobble

Zack Morris was not a man to be trifled with.
Now this is of course not a statement that nobody ever tried to give the silent giant trouble just that it always ended poorly for them. With the body of a mountain and a thousand yard stare, Old Zack Morris ended most fights before they ever began. And for the few fights the people of Comal County ever saw that involved the old farmer, they winced at the memory.
You see Zack wasn’t a normal farmer with a crop that he planted. No, he was an egg farmer as well as a turkey farmer. Three barns of mother hens and a barn full of squawking turkeys had left the man a well of patience with a good deal of strength and a great deal of self-control. His colossal fingers could lift an egg from a slumbering hen without nudging a feather just as they could easily grab a turkey by the neck and drag it to the Chopping Block, kicking and screaming.
But late one October, when he was counting heads, he came across a turkey that was half-dead. It’s body torn to pieces, half the pieces gone, ole’ Zack cursed and swore at the thought of some pest getting into his livelihood. So he set up some traps around his home, baited with the remains of the turkey, and caught himself a half-dozen coyotes and an assortment of raccoons.
All of which were brought to the Block, and summarily prepared as Morris Many Stew for any brave enough to pay the old farmer a visit.
But within days he found, when rounding up his turkeys from the yard, another two dead along with a hen with a broken neck.
Outraged, he laid out twice as many traps, as well as a good deal of poisoned meat.
And thus he ate his infamous stew for nearly ten days, bits of coyote and possum, raccoon and skunk all salted and boiled in a fine broth. Every morning he’d hang up the iron traps in the turkey barn, after sharpening the serrated teeth to a wicked gleam. And every evening he’d lay them out once more, losing two or three turkeys a day slowly bringing the great man’s ire fully to bear, decimating the countryside of every predator foolish enough to sneak onto his property.
Old Zack spent the next few days going over the sales he’d made to various local markets over the number of turkeys they needed, pleasantly surprised that he had more than enough of the stupid birds, despite the recent string of deaths. Choosing to fill the order a little early, he made his way to the barn the next morning, his hatchet sharpened to a fine edge hanging neatly from his belt.
After doing another head count and finding two more dead birds, he began his grisly task. One by one, he’d grab a bird and bring it to the Block, gathering a basketful of heads and a pile of bodies waiting to be cleaned. As he took a break to drink from a bottle of water, he spied one of the turkeys he’d been quite proud of this season.
Standing nearly three feet tall, the great bird was at least sixty to seventy pounds. Maybe it was the new feed he’d bought for the birds, or maybe it was the weather, but this turkey was by far the largest Zack had ever seen. Taking his hatchet firmly in hand, he slowly made his way to the great bird, which amazingly enough, turn and fled into one of the stalls, as if it were hiding!
Zack tipped his hat and scratched his head, a wry chuckle escaping his lips. Why, he’d never seen a turkey with brains before!
Listening to the constant squawking and gobbling going on around him, Zack walked around the stall to fetch the giant bird, only to find the great beast had jumped into a great mound of hay. The stupid bird was still visible though, two feet sticking out from the hay pail onto the hay strewn floor.
Laughing, Zack moved into the stall and reached down to grab the great bird by one of its legs, intending to yank it out with one great pull.
What he got instead was a bloody stump of a turkey leg, as well as a raucous warbling cry that nearly deafened him from high above. Zack, confused and enraged to find yet another bird dead, looked up to begin hunting down the blasted bird.
Instead he was able to catch sight of his assorted traps falling from the rafters above, knocked over by a half-dozen hens. Zack noted, with a morbid sense of wonder, that each miniature bear trapped was primed and ready to snap.
And snap they did as the whole lot of them fell, some going wide and snapping shut harmlessly against the floor, while others landed on Zack and snapped into flesh and bone. One had fallen and landed where Zack’s forearm met his bicep, an awful position he’d adopted to shield his face from the falling onslaught of jagged iron maws. It snapped into his flesh with agonizing speed, pinning his arm in place.
Another three were littered across his torso and shoulder, all very painful, but in no way lethal thank goodness. Dropping his hatchet, Zack grunted and groaned as he limped over to the Block, peeling apart the mechanized mouths with as much care as his strong hand could manage. And slowly but surely, he began to peel the traps away from his body.
Until he was bodily slammed from behind, throwing him forward stomach first onto the Chopping Block, face first into the basket of heads, eye to glassy eye with countless dead orbs. Sitting atop him had to be the great turkey that had run away, warbling and croaking as it seemed to dance merrily atop his back.
Bucking back, he tried to throw the behemoth from his back, but failed as it sank its talons into his exposed back. Crying out as the muscle peeled away from the top of his forearm from his struggles, only then did he notice how quiet the barn truly was.
Looking around him, all the turkeys were now staring at him, their unblinking gaze unwavering as they seemed to give him the same look they had…
… when he was throwing seed out into the yard for them.
Old Zack Morris was not a man to be trifled with.
Nobody ever came out ahead when they tried doing anything against him, everyone in Comal county knew that for sure. So when the grocer came to his farm to find all the chickens and turkeys gone, the gate wide open, with the sticky red skeleton of the giant man over a rotting basket of maggot ridden skulls, you can only imagine how surprised everyone was. 

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