If you were sitting next to me now, you may notice that my cat Timmy has moved a step higher in intelligence. He has decided to team up with the turkeys to achieve the highest level of disturbance possible. This conniving increases chances of meeting his goal and believe it or not, he’s making progress!
It’s 8:30am and Timmy’s desire is to be in the house. Someone must have accidentally locked him out while leaving for work. And what’s worse – Penny, his sister cat, gets to stay indoors alone! So there’s a small demonstration going on outside; and the turkeys, by no fault of theirs except a troublesome biological impulse, have gotten tangled in it.
About six months ago, my family decided to acquire a couple of turkeys. What’s there to it? Just keep them fed and you’ll be repaid with a mobile bevy of plush, colourful feathers roaming your compound. So – two was a good number because my Mom wanted chicks, you know, a trail of fluff balls cutely following the mother turkey in a neat file – we bought them. I don’t know if turkeys are meant to be reared in cages but the plan was to start them off there. So one Saturday morning, two little turkeys were shuffled into a cell while two dozen chickens looked on with lively but – experience will teach you – very short-lived interest from the neighbouring cells.
Chickens want only two things in life – food, and water. So after the whole feathery exercise, they cocked their heads and went back to eating their feed. Occasionally they would jostle over the best parts of the corn, wheat and chaff blend in their trays and when it was all eaten, they would spend all of their mind power dreaming of the various flavours as they impatiently awaited a jolly human who would empty his/her feed bowl into their trays and fill up their drinkers with water, then they would contentedly repeat the cycle. A chicken has a simple life.
Turkeys on the other hand are a whole different story. They spend the first few weeks of their existence worrying. They eat only a little; they are more concerned with securing the food, pecking chickens who dare pinch from the turkeys’ portions. Turkeys worry about scarcity; they fret about the weather, about the economy, about the falling prices of crude oil. You should see them restless in their cells. They pace around worrying about the future of their chicks; will they inherit a world better than this? That’s why turkeys are paranoid, aggressive, and bald.
As they get bigger and outgrow the cage, they start to take matters into their own talons. Man you know they’re taking matters into their own talons when tufts of chest feathers transform into two unassuming metal plates. Turkeys standing abreast (each one now inexplicably twice its size), face you squarely and approach in slow, sinister steps.
You may be awoken one morning by the screams of your little brother as black and white feathers of wrath leap into the air and attempt to peck at his eyes. The proud things flare their feathers all day and make puffing sounds meant to intimidate any human who’s not already deterred by the graveyard sound made by the dragging of spread wings on a sandy, concrete floor. The next thing, they turn their backs and flee when a big enough human approaches, pleading a tactical retreat and a rethink of their strategy. You can’t blame them, they’re just trying to protect their progeny, secure their futures. Too bad they’re both males; when there’s no one left to oppress, they fight each other.
Turkeys talk back! I tell you turkeys talk back! They make this clamorous clucking sound whenever they hear a loud voice, a laughter, a bang, a screech, or a cat meowing. It sounds like a flock of geese stampeding; it sounds like mockery coming from an embattled soul. It was this strange phenomenon Timmy eagerly exploited this morning. “Meeooow – cluck cluck cluck!” “Meeeeoww – cluck cluck cluck!” “Meeeeoooww – cluck cluck cluck!” – the chorus was heavenly. A short pause exhales ah it’s finally over… Ha jokes on you! Cats never stop. Never. Forget it they don’t. “Meeeeooowww!!” again “- Cluck cluck cluck!!”… endlessly. It was a waiting game and this human lost it. I had to get up from the bed and go open the door for Timmy. I was impressed by his persistence; I gave him a soft pat on the head. What else could I do?
Right now the white turkey is standing in the doorway and staring at me as I type. He’s the less aggressive one. The black-green-and-gold one is busy rummaging the boxes and bags outside. Can’t trust those humans, he thinks, Can’t trust ‘em, never trust em’. Turkeys are the only good things left in this world. We better take over and it’ll be all turkeys, only us. Turkeys! They both know they’re not allowed inside. The white one is still probing, turning his avian head this way and that to get a better view. It makes one wonder, maybe turkeys actually want to feel among, but their fear makes them aggressive.