December 4, 2013 —
[Editor’s note: The Turkey Bandit was first introduced in the Letters Home column in 2010. The saga continues....]
Previously, we heard the account of the Turkey Bandit’s Hickory Farms rescue. The Bandit and his partner, Jack, had outsmarted the watchdog, shut off the alarm and freed 50 birds from their upcoming slaughter; to the Bandit’s delight it had ruined poor Old Farmer Hickory’s Thanksgiving.
The Bandit himself had had a great Thanksgiving with his wife, Hen, and son, Junior. The aunts and uncles had come down to visit, and the small coop had been full of life. He, of course, had stuffed himself silly and fallen asleep on the couch.
“Tell that old turkey we say goodbye,” he heard as he drifted off.
He was in and out of sleep as he watched Junior jump around the room, and he imagined the day when Junior would be old enough to take over the family business. The Bandit concluded that with a little bit of training Junior would be an excellent bandit.
“It wasn’t too far around the corner,” he thought as he rubbed a sore knee. Someday he was going to have to hang up his cape and a take off the mask. He’d retire someplace warm. “That’ll be nice,” he thought to himself as he dozed off again, knowing he would miss it terribly.
When he awoke he could tell immediately that something was wrong. The house was dark and quiet and empty.
The Bandit dashed to the top of the stairs. His mind was spinning. He checked the bedrooms. Disarray. Drawers opened. Bed a mess. He could see it now, replay it in his mind. The squawks, the screams, the feathers. They had been kidnapped.
The Bandit slumped to the floor, tears in his eyes. He couldn’t believe it. He had let his guard down only momentarily and the two most important beings in his life had been plucked from right under his beak.
The Bandit slammed the wall as hard as he could. How could he have been so foolish? He slammed the wall again. Silence. He took a breath. Another.
A moment of clarity: Old Farmer Hickory, of course, it was him.
The Bandit crossed quickly to his telephone and punched a few numbers in without lifting the receiver. A concealed compartment behind the couch slid open. His secret Turkey Coop. The door slid closed behind him.
The side of a hill slowly creaked open revealing for a moment the Bandit’s hidden coop from the outside. His fake taxicab lurched forward as the side of the hill receded back into itself.
The Bandit drove fast. He gripped the steering wheel tightly and concentrated with a passion and focus that only comes when your loved ones are in danger.
It was dark by the time he got to Hickory Farms. He parked on the side of the road as close as he dared and traveled the remaining distance on foot.
He slumped down next to the Hickory Farms sign and gazed through his binoculars. The farmhouse loomed dark in the distance. It was quiet. Just one upstairs light on. He checked the guard doghouse. Empty. The Old Farmer must be taking the dog for a walk.
“This was the easy part,” he thought to himself as he slipped through the fence and headed toward the farmhouse, he would sneak in and rescue them. Foolish farmer, he probably hadn’t expected him to figure it out so quickly.
He was about halfway between the house and the fence in the middle of an open field when it hit him like a bucket of gravy. It was a trap.
The Bandit turned and ran as fast as he could. In the distance he could hear shouting and he knew that the farmer had just released the dogs.
To be Continued...