What I’m about to tell you actually happened. It did! I have photographic proof! Also, I have witnesses! Yes! A kind lady in the Times Union cafeteria witnessed the entire thing, as did similarly kind colleague in the newsroom, and I would, in fact, refer to them both as “kind” even if they didn’t corroborate my story and thus affirm my (admittedly wobbly) sanity.
So basically what happened was this: A vicious wild turkey chased me and PROBABLY would have killed me and/or eviscerated me and/or dismembered me with his giant turkey beak had I not escaped miraculously from his fowl clutches. Okay, that is a slight exaggeration, but this is my story, not yours, so sue me. (No. Don’t. I’m joking. I have no interest in being sued, I swear.)
I was out for my lunchtime constitutional, which consists of huffing and puffing up and down Old Maxwell Road and around a couple of nearby parking lots while windbagging on the phone with family and friends. In the winter, by which I mean a NORMAL winter, not this balmy all-expense-paid cruise to Cancún we’ve been having, I do this until my digits go numb and return to my desk feeling virtuous and cold.
I hadn’t been huffing and puffing very far, and was feeling neither virtuous nor cold, when I spied a couple of wild turkeys on the side of the road. This happens occasionally; they’re around. So, what the hey, I whipped out My Trusty iPhone, which I just now named Excalibur, and snapped a couple pictures of the closest one. He – and I’m guessing he was a he, as he was the larger of the two, plus he was working a chaw of tobacco and watching Spike TV in his boxers – seemed okay with this invasion of his privacy, or at least oblivious to it, until suddenly he wasn’t.
He started walking toward me. I thought: Oh, how nice! He’s a friendly fellow!
Then he kept walking toward me. I thought: Well now, that’s a leeeetle bit weird.
Then he kept walking toward me. I thought: OK. That’s more than a leeeetle bit weird.
Then I walked backward. Then, being a turkey, he started trotting at me. Then, being chicken, I started trotting backward.
I said: Hey! Get back, turkey! Hey! Hey!
And he said: SCCRRRACCCCKKKK!
I said: Hey! Hey!
He said: SCREEEEEECCCCK! SCREAAAAAACK! SCRAAAACK!
I panicked and said: Hie thee, evil turkey! Arrrrgh!
He said: SCRRAAAEEEEECKKKK!
As he kept trotting, I kept panicking. What to do? Should I climb a tree? Poke him in the schnozz like a shark? Not being schooled in Effective Turkey Evasion Techniques, I decided the thing to do was to start yelling ARRGGGH! ARGGGGH! GO AWAY, TURKEY! while making aggressive anti-turkey motions that might have been better suited for waving off a cloud of moths.
This had no effect on him whatsoever. He kept coming right at me. So I picked up a large stick and poked it in his direction, still countering his SCREAAACKs with my ARRRGGGHs.
Then he started running. I started running. I ran ALLLLLLLL the way down the little steps to the Times Union parking lot, thinking, Shit! If I get killed by a wild turkey on my lunchtime walk, I will never ever ever live it down!
And then the turkey stopped. He was stymied by the steps, apparently. A smaller turkey – wifey? – joined him there, and they howled angry SCRAAAAAAACKs from their superior vantage.
Duly freaked out, I went back inside and announced A TURKEY JUST CHASED ME! I HAD TO FEND IT OFF WITH A STICK!, recalling that this was hardly the first time I’d been attacked by rogue members of other species. (See my book Figuring Shit Out: Love, Laughter, Suicide, and Survival for detailed accounts of my dust-ups with Ecuadorian dogs and monkeys.)
But I survived. And this morning, pulling into the TU lot, I saw Mr. and Mrs. Sociopathic Turkey once again. They gave me the hairy eyeball. I gave mine back and kept my distance.