Saturday, January 30, 2010

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind - Or, I Wonder if This is How Steve Irwin Got His Start

I don't exactly live in the middle of nowhere. The New Hampshire town I live in is populated by roughly twenty-five thousand people and if you feel the need for glitz and sophistication you can be in Boston in about forty-five minutes, give or take. Okay, maybe "glitz and sophistication" is overstating it a little, Boston's not exactly New York or L.A., but you get the idea.

But there is plenty of wildlife in our little corner of the universe. I have come very close to having up-close and personal encounters with deer more times than I can count in my vehicle and even came relatively close to a moose on one memorable occasion.

This past week, though, on my way to work, also known as the Evil Day Job, or How I Keep My Creditors Happy While Waiting For That Big Bestseller, I had something happen that was completely new to me - I almost ran over a wild turkey. Not a bottle of Wild Turkey, although that certainly would be tragic, but a real, honest-to-goodness, big-ass wild turkey! With feathers and everything!

This crazy bastard came stumbling and bumbling out of the woods - One thing about turkeys, they're really not very graceful creatures, especially when you consider their avian heritage - right in front of my truck as I rounded a corner about two miles from my house. I slammed on the brakes and this bird with ice-water running through his veins just kept right on going like I wasn't even there.

I figure he must have been like Riggs in Lethal Weapon. He's suffered some kind of horrible tragedy in his life, maybe his woman got beheaded at Thanksgiving or something, and he's pissed at the world and figures he's got nothing left to live for.

Anyway, I slammed on my brakes - Thank God there was nobody right behind me - and my truck screeched along the road, the suicidal bird disappeared from view, that's how close he came to my front bumper, and then he came out the other side, sort of half-flying and half-running, looking back over his shoulder at me in annoyance as he went.

I'm pretty sure he was studying my face in case we ever meet again.

Then, believe it or not, another turkey did the same thing when I was almost at work. Of course this turkey was driving an old rusty Buick with Massachusetts plates, but he pulled right out in front of me just like the other one. I almost hit him, too, although I wouldn't have felt half as bad about it.

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