“This Thanksgiving, we feast on human.”
Tom’s declaration was met with silence throughout the room. Seventeen turkeys stared in disbelief at Tom, who remained unflinching and cocksure, at the head of the table.
“Think about it. We have a month to figure out the how. All I knows is there are three humans who live on this farm and the 18 of us. I don’t care which one we take, the big one, the less big one, or the little one, but we can do this if we work together.”
Still, no one in the coop’s common room moved. Not even a blink of an eye or a jiggle of a wattle. Tom wasn’t sure what else he had to say, but he knew he had to say something.
“We’ve lost brothers and sisters, coopmates, lovers. Across the country, millions of our brethren will be devoured. Those of us who survive get to go through it all again, in a year.”
Slowly, the room crept back to life. Postures gradually relaxed. The tension was thawing. Tom thought he heard someone exhale.
“Did you know Americans barely even say grace before meals? And don’t get me started on that pardoned turkey bullshit. No matter what set of politics you subscribe to, I think we can agree the President is a buffoon. ‘Oh geez, thanks for saving one turkey in a million. I’m sure they won’t be stricken with horrific survivor’s guilt or anything. What a symbolic gesture of nothing.”
Tom hadn’t meant to drift into snark, and hoped he hadn’t lost the rafter. Tina, the fattest turkey gave a deep, confirming cluck. Immediately Terry and Tracey followed suit.
“Now look. I don’t want this to become some kind of Animal Farm situation where we start turning on each other. There’s no allegory here, no deeper meaning. This is revenge, plain and simple. If the history books compare our triumph to anything, a more fitting precedent would be the human film Independence Day, where we fight and reclaim OUR holiday.”
Tyler squawked his approval, and followed with the concluding lines from the famous speech in the human film Independence Day, which Tammy reminded, made him a basic turkey bitch.
“We all know the speech, that’s why I referenced it. Point is that it just takes a few of us working together to create a fortified resistance. And the moment we doubt ourselves or turn on each other, we’re done like the dishes after dinner. Do you want to be defeathered one by one? Do you want to be stuffed and roasted? Do your future plans include centerpiece of a tablescape?”
Every bird was on its feet, pecking and pluming and chattering with approval. The spirit in the coop was electric and Tom felt like he could run through a wall. Unfortunately, for Tom and the others, the coop’s wire boundaries were actually electric, shocking into submission any turkeys with crazy ideas. The room was merely metaphorically charged.
“We turkeys are not blessed with beauty, nor brawn, nor congeniality. We get by on our sharpest features, our beaks and our intellect.”
Tom recognized that he was rambling now, betraying his strength with tangents and blather. He had to make a final push, so everyone in the room knew that this year was different. That they controlled their Thanksgiving destiny. Something with heart. Something with conviction. And something Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman, he couldn’t remember which one, could have said to rally his troops.
“They say we’re free range. They say we are treated humanely, but I have never seen a human eat off of the ground. Maybe the emotional scale of a turkey is too limited, but I’ve never felt thankful. I’ve felt afraid. I’ve felt disappointed. I’ve felt hungry.”
The turkeys around him were floating above the ground with glee, as if they could fly, which they could, but this was one of those involuntary, spiritually frenzied levitation things. This was Tom’s big finish!
“I sure as hell would love to feel thankful, and when we sit down to supper in a few weeks, we finally will. All 18 of us will sit around this same table, instead of being empty on hope, we’ll be full on light or dark meat human. Everyone will get seconds! This year, Thanksgiving is for turkeys!”