When Turkey's Attack on Thanksgiving Day
A True Life Story of Thanksgiving Terror
What should you do, what can you do when Turkeys attack? Do you know what to do? Well our friend Johnny knows now, for he lived a true life story of Thanksgiving terror. Yet first I should give readers some preface and warning about the subject matter of this story. What to do when turkeys attack, what would you do? Some of you may be disturbed by the nature of this article, for the simple fact that it is a true story. So if you are easily frightened, have a heart condition, or a bizarre over the top love of turkeys , then I suggest you do not continue reading. This article may not be for you ( but if you have a sense of humor, you should really try to keep reading, for turkeys almost never attack anyone, almost never ). This story takes place on a Thanksgiving weekend, when I arrived at a large ranch in Tuscon, Arizona. I was there for a large pagan gathering with several of my close friends, all of us there to attend a full moon ritual that was being held that evening. The ranch was very big and fairly secluded off in the desert in the Southern Tuscon area. It was a ranch which raised Emu, Lama, several types of pheasant, and in a huge circular corral they raised Turkeys. I want to be clear about something, the owners of the ranch were a very nice couple who had been ranching various animals for many years. The events of this day should have no negative reflections on them or their business as a couple. Yet due to the nature of the days events, their names shall not be used here. In fact all the persons described have had their names changed in this story, either to protect the innocent or to save others from unwanted attention or to add further insult to injury. This will all be clear to the reader soon enough.
A few things contributed to the events that day. First my group of friends arrived earlier than the planned festivities.This was because our group was invited by the one Tuscon resident among us, a soft spoken gentleman named Johnny. Johnny wanted to get there early, partly because he worked long hours as a physical therapist and was ready to have some fun now that he was on vacation for the holiday; he also wanted to get there early because the daytime hours prior to the full moon night time ritual was a large nudist gathering. Now before you all get the wrong idea, this was not some perverted festival of naked humping and sex orgies; this was a large pagan gathering of mostly families and older adult persons, so the nudist part was being held in a very roomy enclosed outdoor pool area which was separated from the rest of the common ranch area. Second and in case you have not already guessed it. Our friend John wanted to attend and participate in the nudist gathering, which is why he opted to ride along with our group carpool - so he could get there early, bit the real reason was to enjoy the nudist part of the gathering before his significant other arrived later that evening after they were done with their holiday shift at a local hospital. This was a detail that was not made clear to us until later. Third was the one that that could have averted the events about to unfold. Johnny rushed into the ranch mansion happily skipping along. He was inside and ready to undress for the nudist pool party, before our group of friends had even had a chance to get out of our vehicles and unpack our things. By the time we had, Johnny had already been inside for several minutes and was now exiting the doorway he had entered less than exuberant, being followed by a naked and more than well endowed woman who seemed to be comforting Johnny. Apparently Johnny was less excited to participate in the nudist pool party, when he realized there were not just a few women attending, but women of young and older years, some families, and it was not the type gathering he had expected. Fourth is important to bring up now, although for the most part it had little to do with the days events. Johnny was and is a gay man. He is older, has been common law for some years with his significant other, and well basically Johnny was not prepared to share the pool party with quite so man earth mother goddess women all naked and glistening in the Arizona sun. Despite the ranch owners naked wife pleading with him to come back to the, he declined and could not even look her in the, umm 'eyes'. The rest of our group went inside, some of the gay some of them straight, some joined the gathering, and a few went with the clothed ranch owner husband to the other side of the compound where he was barbecuing and setting up for the big afternoon cook out for the hungry gatherers that day. Fifth, was the only other unforeseen factor that contributed to the days events was one that none of us could have known before hand. Johnny had held a long fascination and love for Turkeys since seeing one once as a child. I was about to find this out, as I walked side by side with my friend Johnny that afternoon.
So here is how it went down. Everyone else had kind of made him mad, poking jokes that he was scared to get naked with the straights - which is probably the funniest thing you can ever hear a gay man say to another gay man. So Johnny wanted to just go walking around the ranch and get some air. Now I felt bad for Johnny, and to be honest I was a twenty something straight young man, but even I did not have the guts to let it all hang in front of all those healthy vegan pagan women and their parents, grandparents, and still retain my confidence as a man. I am not that kind of extrovert, so Johnny and I walked together quietly.
We had ventured about an acre from the main compound and were passing the big circular corral that was closest to the main compound. Which was when out of the blue, Johnny goes from a somber silence, jumps in the air, claps his hands, and yells at me loudly , "Oh my goodness, Turkeys! " Without blinking, I watch as Johnny goes skipping along toward the tall wood and wire fenced construction ahead of us. Now, I know that this is not just a gay thing, but it was at this moment that I notice that Johnny is wearing very high heeled cowboy boots and I also had not earlier noticed that he was wearing what appeared to be a very expensive new white leather jacket and matching pants. Okay, I have to admit, until that day I had never seen Johnny giggle or skip anywhere before. That day he did both at a high speed pace and leap frogged himself over the corral gate like fairy flying over a castle wall, not that it has anything to do with being gay, but Johnny sure made the stereo types make sense to me for just one second.
Anyway that is not important, while Johnny had total disregard for his safety, I on the other hand had a little more experience with farms than Johnny. Now generally most animals are not dangerous, but I had already noticed how large the corral was that Johnny had jumped into and it was large enough to house a very large number of animals. I raced towards the fencing, just in time to hear the first sounds coming from within the area. Before I even was close enough to see fully what was going on, I knew now was my gut already knew. I head two things, Johnny let out the most girlish shriek of terror I had ever heard and I also hear the sound of gobbling from all over the corral. It could only be one thing, Turkeys...not one, or two, but several dozen or more. From where I was peeking through the fencing, I could see Johnny standing face to face with three very fat Toms ( or alpha male turkeys that can usually be found in any group of Turkeys ) and was backing up slow and backwards. He could not see what I did, that from other areas of the circular corral other Turkey Toms, Hens ( female turkeys of various ages ) and poults ( younger turkeys, especially ones without plumage ) were curiously gathering around Johnny from all sides. For those of you that have never been around a large amount of Turkeys, it is easy to see why they are often thought of a mindless animals ( this is not really the case, intelligence is not the issue with Turkeys, it is about being reactive and having a pecking order in large numbers). If you are ever in a similar situation, here are a few things that Johnny did wrong, besides jumping into a fenced in corral without checking what he was getting himself into. Now Tom turkeys gen rally are more talk than action ( which is where the term Jive Turkey comes from ), but their goggling is an alarm or intimidation gesture that usually will scare off predators. Johnny took this as aggression directed at him, and started clapping his hands and yelling at the three big Toms to leave him alone. During situations of great excitement, these action provoke the gobbling to a fury which not only was attracting other Toms curiosity, but also was causing the hens to come out of their roostings chattering in unison. The noise was incredibly loud in a very short time. As the Toms were now being provoked, others were gathering in numbers behind them, and Johnny was starting to feel more afraid. He was still backing himself up without turning around, he also was still unaware of the more than a hundred various sized turkeys which had him completely surrounded, and when he accidentally stepped on a large Hen which was pecking the air behind him. He completely escalated the situation. Johnny stepped on the Hen, freaking out he spins around, sees that he is surrounded now, and kicks the large mother bird in the face. He screams loudly , the Hen falls side ways on the ground, and the circle of turkeys closes in round them both. Another fact about turkeys, They have a social pecking order, they will peck at anything strange, and are known to peck injured turkeys in a group sometimes to death ( hence the term Hen pecked comes from this action ). The pecking is a instinct developed to hunt for food in the wild, and is a natural side effect of their evolution. Johnny did not know any of this that day, he kicked the Hen, and assumed the turkeys were closing in for the kill. Actually most of them were headed for a pecking on their injured female turkey, but since Johnny started kicking and swinging his thin less than muscular arms wildly at everything in sight. Very quickly he had hit so many of the animals that he worked them into a frenzy. One more curious fact about turkeys that Johnny did not know. Turkeys usually will not attack anyone, but they have very quick to blood pressure. Red faced turkeys are burning a lot of calories just to move and are hot to the touch which means they are angry, in contrast blue faced turkeys are often sick or even sad in temperament. When they get red faced with blood pressure, turkeys do not react calmly and will chase you. These turkeys had quickly gone from curiosity or confusion to angry.
I still remember seeing this see a sea wobbling, gobbling, chattering, pecking heads swinging in all directions. Nearly the whole corral was a sea of read heads, except for Johnny's bleach blond head popping up and down. He was jumping around now trying to avoid their pecking from all directions. Turkeys were waddling at each other pecking at anything that moved. It was a frightening scene actually. The situation was digressing, as I saw several turkeys had fallen over now and were being pecked at. Johnny had made ad run for the fence that had originally leaped over, but now noticed a fatal detail that before had been oblivious too. Since turkeys can leap ( their version of flying ) the ranch owner had constructed the corral so that it was deeper by several feet from the inside that it was to jump the fence from the outside. This kept the turkeys from leaping out when raising them. Johnny tried to scale the fence anyway, but his high heeled boots made climbing harder than you might expect and this was added to by the weight of two big Toms whose beaks had been luck enough to catch the looped leather belt straps of his pants. I gasped as I watched Johnny disappear into the goggling and chattering madness.
Johnny screamed for help, but I had already started running knowing what I had to do. I made my way to the mansion and was yelling for someone to help me. The owners came running from either side of the compound, the cowboy denim dressed husband with barbecue tongs in his hand and his naked goddess of a wife with only her long braided hair as a weapon. I was out of breath, scared, and worried that I was too late. All I could get out of my mouth between hyperventilating breaths, was one word, " Turkeys..."
Amazingly the two owners were quite the team. Without any other explanations, the husband raced outside and his wife raced to the other side of the household. When the ranch owner got to the corral , I was later told by the couple over dinner...the solution was very simple. Turkeys have very low tolerance for being frightened, in most circumstances they are more likely to have a heart attack than be directly aggressive to anyone. Johnny had just done everything possibly wrong that you could in the situation. The owner had jumped the fence only the barbecue tongs in his hands, landed feet first into the frenzied mass of turkeys. Then like some Greek god of horticulture, he rushed the biggest Tom he saw facing him running unrelenting. This scared the Tom and caused him to almost double over in a backwards motion falling into the other turkeys behind him. This repeated itself like dominoes, and in a few more well chosen aggressive moves toward the gobblers and chatters, Toms and Hens that surrounded them; soon the entire frenzy was reduced to a full on retreat by all of the animals. Soon Johnny was visible to the ranch owner, his leather clothing torn to near shreds from pecking and scratching, his hair was matted with dirt and mud, one boot was gone completely never to be found, and the other boot was across the corral from him next to the one and only casualty of the onslaught. The alpha male, the giant Tom that had first raised its plumage toward Johnny, and the bird that he had first seen causing him to get so excited and revert with so little caution to the whims of his inner child. The Tom, who apparently was the oldest of the ranch couples turkeys ( his Christian name was Thomas, after the apostle ) lie dead nearly on his backside, head cocked to the left almost touching the ground, his nostrils dripping the last of his life drool, and died trying to get one last peck at Johnny's right footed boot. He carried it back with him to the mansion, it was so full of holes you could see through it like it had been hit by a hundred tiny bullets from a hundred tiny rifles.
When Johnny arrived back at the ranch mansion. The ranch owner's wife was waiting at the ready to give him medical attention. Which apparently did not require her to put on any clothing, because nursing and nudity are not a conflict of interests. With hands over his eyes in embarrassment and modesty, Johnny was stripped down naked by the ranch owner wife when he was escorted back by her husband. He would have argued, but between being an RN and a holistic Wiccan healer, plus we were miles from the nearest hospital, and being her property where this had happened - she insisted that she apply immediate medical attention to all of his wounds. It would have done very little good to argue with her, as Johnny was badly wounded and bleeding all over his body and was himself a Wiccan - it certainly would have added insult to the most qualified person there to treat his injuries. In minutes Johnny was naked in the kitchen area, while the wife and two of her younger nudist friends were circled around him, one girl applying bandages to his feet and legs, one applying bandages to his chest and arms, while the wife was busily applying other immediate treatment to a very badly bleeding injury to of all places his buttocks area. The husband who was friends with Johnny, but more in association with his wife and her Wiccan coven , he felt no obligation to do less than immediately come back to the cook out staging area and tell all of Johnny's friends in our group what had happened. One by one I heard them start laughing out loud, make their was to he kitchen, shake their heads, then burst into laughter and add whatever insult each came packing to hit him with. It was nearly over, as the two younger blond girls were done with their nursing work, and left the room smiling at me walking by where I sat waiting with Johnny. My friend may be the stupidest person of the day, but I still felt he deserved a little sympathy. Yet there are some days your number just comes up I guess, and karma has its way with you.
Today was such a day for Johnny. My story ends with things mostly resolved. Johnny was going to live, pride hurt, body healing, but alive. The Tom who had not been so lucky was prepared that afternoon, to be a Thanksgiving weekend meal that would feed man kids at the nearby Boys and Girls Ranch which was nearby and always accepting donations, especially this time of the season. The ranch husband had the best story in years to tell all that night, and the next weeks to his family and friends. The ranch wife, was reciting aloud some ancient incantation and chanting as she had finished her healing ritual and was handing the burning sage stick to Johnny. She clapped her hands together, thus ending her ritual of healing proudly saying, " Blessed Be."
Also like it or not, as one of our groups gay and male comrades had said to Johnny minutes earlier, " Well at least you got to get naked at the nudist pool party after all." Alas here my story ends here, as the wife insistently gets on the tiled kitchen floor on both knees in front of Johnny, and she slaps him on the thigh when he tries protesting her assistance in putting on a fresh clean under pants. She is quite pleased with herself and jokingly sing songs the words, " Well it appears that my work here is now done. Now keep it in your pants from now on." She laughs aloud kneeling before Johnny in all her nude and giggling good humor. When just in time, the sliding glass door from the garage opens. In walks Joe, the late arriving guest of the day, and Johnny's significant other....I think I mentioned him earlier. I will skip the details, but Johnny gasped in horror, in full Monty, in the kitchen with a big busty naked woman on her knees and helping him finish putting on his tight white briefs. Johnny went blushing, his face was redder than any turkey head that day in the corral. He could not think of a thing to say. As Joe looks him up and down, rolls his eyes, and says, " Really...you couldn't have had her give you a bath by the time I got off work, I mean we both know that she hasn't been on her knees except maybe three minutes." Then helps the ranch wife up off her knees with one hand, and says to her, " Sweetie, you mind putting the stuff I brought from the grocery in the freezer to chill, my man and I need to talk."
The wife winks and kisses Joe on the cheek. " Of course. " For those of you in the dark, the ranch wife was also Joe's three years younger blood relative, his sister. I decided to make my exit with Joe's sister and see if maybe I could catch the two blond women that had been in the kitchen earlier, before they got dressed. Plus soon the cook out would begin. As the full moon was rising the evening to come. My story ends here, but Johnny still had some explaining to do. This was sure to be a Thanksgiving that he would not be allowed to forget for some time. As my group of still likes to call the incident when each year we tell the tale to friends and family each Turkey day, "What is one to do when Turkeys attack? Well our friend Johnny knows now, for he lived a true life story of Thanksgiving terror."
So the story comes to the ending. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. Gobble, goggle.