December 18, 2013 —
[Editor’s note: Part 1 of this story, which appeared in The River Reporter issue of December 5, 2013, continued the tale of the Turkey Bandit and how he freed 50 turkeys, ruining Farmer Hickory’s Thanksgiving. In Part 1, the Bandit awakes to find that his family, Hen and Junior, have been kidnapped. As we pick up the story, the Turkey Bandit is trying to attempt a rescue of his family from the farmhouse….]
The Turkey Bandit only made it a few yards before he found himself surrounded by two of Farmer Hickory’s snarling watchdogs. He raised his arms slowly in defeat as the dogs yipped and chuckled.
He kicked at the dirt with his boot in frustration. Of course it had been a trap. How could he have been so stupid?!
CHUNK! The yard was suddenly bathed in bright lights. The Bandit blinked as his eyes adjusted; these were new and improved security lights, he could now see fences of razor wires that were in mid-construction around the perimeter. He hadn’t noticed them in the darkness.
Seeing all the trouble Farmer Hickory had gone through to protect the farm was almost flattering.
“Take it easy, Turkey,” one of the watchdogs said, holding out a rope. “No sudden movements.”
“Great to see you fellas, as always,” the Bandit said, with as much of a grin as he could muster. He surreptitiously flexed his muscles as the two dogs cautiously tied him tightly and began to pull him toward the glowing farmhouse on the other side of the yard. As he relaxed, the ropes slacked ever so slightly.
With each step the Bandit willed a plan to enter his mind. Could this be the end? He thought about all those smiling young turkeys he’d saved over the years. He thought of his wife, Hen, and his son, Junior, trapped in the house.
Hen had predicted this very thing would happen to them. He could see her saying it so clearly and wished he had paid more attention. He had rashly assured her, promised her, that he would keep the family safe.
They stopped and stood in front of the house. The dogs pointed the Bandit toward the front door, his hands still bound as he climbed the steps one at a time.
The farmhouse was quiet as he stepped inside, silent even. The screen door hissed and then slammed behind him, startling him and echoing through the house.
Farmer Hickory was sitting casually at the table, smoking a cigar and reading the Almanac. “Glad you could make it,” he said without looking up.
“Howdy, Farmer Hickory. Love the new additions on the house. My wife tells me that razor wire is all the rage nowadays.”
Hickory smiled. “Is that what she said?” He clapped his hands twice. Immediately the Bandit’s wife and son were brought in by the watchdog duo. Hen and Junior looked tired, haggard. His wife was so angry that she couldn’t even look at him, as if her eyes were saying, “I told you so.”
“Hickory, this has got nothing to do with them; this is between you and me,” the Bandit said as he struggled with his restraints.
Farmer Hickory thought for a moment and then shook his head. “See, the thing about letting them go is that I promised my wife a fine turkey dinner, and that’s exactly what she’s going to get.”
The farmer raised a large knife from the table. Hen and Junior shuddered with fear. The watchdogs held them tight. The Bandit struggled more forcefully against the ropes, but they didn’t budge.
A ping against the window. “Don’t do this,” the Bandit pleaded.
“Who’s going to go first?” A louder ping against the window.
Hickory noticed it, too, and crossed quickly to the door.
Outside was a sea of turkeys as far as the eye could see. The flocks were swarming the lights and heading toward the house, the Bandit’s partner, Jack, at the helm as he directed the crowd to tear the farm apart.
Hickory was flabbergasted.
“I can stop this, Hickory, if you let me and my family go.”
Hickory nodded and sliced the Bandit free.
There was much to say to Hen and Junior, but that could wait until they were safe and sound back home. His family parted the sea of turkeys, and they all marched out of Hickory Farm.