In celebration of Thanksgiving, here’s a short story in honor of the brave and often delicious turkey, originally published at The Daily Cabal. If this whets your appetite, there are 172 more very short stories of mine in the collection Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.
“OK, I respect that,” I said to the other turkey, “but if we’re going to have a conversation, I need to give you some kind of name. Why don’t I call you Lashonda?”
“Gobble,” said Lashonda.
A chubby guy in rubber gloves and a rubber apron snatched me up by the feet and hung me upside down.
“Hi!” I said in Turkey, but of course he didn’t understand.
A second later he hung Lashonda up next to me, and we swung gently from side to side as the track we were hanging from carried us into the gloom.
“This feels strangely peaceful,” I said. “Who would’ve imagined? Hanging upside down … it’s so relaxing. It’s a little like grooming. I had an incarnation as a spider monkey once, and we were always grooming each other. Most relaxing thing in the world.”
Up ahead, there was a burst of gobbling that was abruptly cut short. The machine we were swinging from made a gentle creak-creak sound.
“Gobble gobble,” said Lashonda.
“You know, it’s funny you should mention that,” I said. “That’s what I’ve been wondering about: why a turkey in the first place? I mean, we’re raised butt-to-wattle in a pen, fed terrible food, and eventually carted off to be slaughtered. What’s the point in that kind of existence? I’m worried that if I don’t learn anything from this life, I’ll just have to do it all over again.”
We came around a bend, and I saw that the line dipped, lowering turkey heads into a silvery machine. There was an electrical noise somewhere.
“It’s not the same as being a wild creature or a human or whatever,” I said. “As those you can make choices. But what can you possibly learn if you don’t get to make any actual choices?”
Lashonda was silent. I wondered if she was scared.
“I’m probably overthinking it,” I said. “Right now, I just feel grateful, you know? Grateful to be hanging upside down, grateful to have a friend like you right when I need one … I don’t think I’ve ever told you, Lashonda, in the few minutes we’ve known each other, how much I appreciate your company and your level-headed attitude.”
The line began to descend, and all of a sudden the silvery machine was right in front of me.
“Have a nice life, Lashonda,” I said. Then something sparked.
Photo by cyanocorax