Ned strained to flap his wings in the enclosed space. Tiny white feathers went flying every which way. His eyes darted back and forth furiously as he spoke to his fellow captive, Chuck.
"Okay, so are you all ready? Are you ready? He's there, I see him, he's coming towards me in a great shining ball of fiery light. Get ready now, we'll only have one chance at this, ready, set..."
"Ned, there's no one there."
"What? But the farmer - I see him right there, heading straight towards me... each one of his sixteen arms waving an axe. You're telling me you don't see that?"
"Ned, get a grip! You've got to chill, man. We're still in the truck."
"Okay, okay, gotta chill, got it. I'll take your word for it, Chuck. Help me around so I can get some air. The walls are closing in, man, the walls are closing in."
Chuck fought through the wings, wattles, and grossly over-sized bodies to get Ned to a part of the cage facing the outside. Wind rushed in as they flashed past hills, trees, and rivers. Eventually, the pick-up truck slowed, then came to an abrupt halt. Ned stared out through the wire mesh. His face became calm and thoughtful as he looked up at something that Chuck couldn't see from his position.
"I see it, man. I finally understand..."
"Stop talking crazy. It's time, Ned. Time for our plan. The truck's stopped, and I think they're getting ready to unload. Remember what you said - the farmer lets us out, and we go for the eyes. If we can't reach the eyes, we go for the jugular. If we can't reach that, we go for the knees. Peck, peck, peck and run."
Ned shook his head.
"I can't. I know now what I have to do."
The cages started flying open, doors worked by unseen hands transferring the turkeys into their new, and final, home.
The door to Chuck and Ned's cage opened with a protesting creak. Instead of jumping out, as he had planned so long ago on that gorgeous summer night lit by three and a half blue moons, Ned simply submitted. Chuck froze in horror, and was himself dragged out of the cage before he could put up a fight. The last thing he saw as he was taken away to certain doom was a large billboard. On the billboard, a family of bright-faced, laughing children and adults, cousins, aunts and uncles, cats and dogs huddled around a perfectly roasted and stuffed golden bird. In the background, a family member opened the door to invite a scruffy-looking neighbor to the feast.
"Bring joy to your holidays with Farmer Joe's finest free-run, homegrown, organic turkeys. Best in the business," read the sign.
Chuck shook his head mournfully.
"Poor Ned. He might have tripped one too many times off those funny things that the neighbor boy dropped, but he always had the biggest heart. He'd sacrifice his own life just to bring joy to someone else. Not even death can take away the beauty of that odd but noble bird."
Thanks to Mike Cane for his unique suggestions that inspired this story.
Did you like my tale? Want to read more lovely Turkey-Day inspired fare? Hop over to Marvin Wilson's blog to find links to his other victims - I mean, participants.
And to the wonderful people who offered suggestions, here is your challenge, should you choose to accept it: write a Christmas story on your blog! As you can see here, it doesn't have to be at all traditional, or even sensical to work. Gayle, perhaps something about a homicidal Christmas ornament? Mike, with all of your ideas, I'm sure you could work something in. And Larry, you must have a wealth of political tales involving former presidents and the Holiday Spirit! Of course, if any of you wish, you can choose a holiday more suited to your beliefs and tastes. And I'm sure Marvin will let us all know more about this dastardly cycle of holiday stories he's stared.