“Drop it!” I yelled, running out the door in my bare feet. Sparky ignored me and kept going, off the deck, through our retaining wall of periwinkle. I could hear the mama turkey crying out in alarm behind me.
“Put that down!” I screamed, as he turned at the corner of the house. “You asshole! I’ll kick your butt!” I couldn’t believe the magnitude of epithets that emerged from me as I scampered through the periwinkle in my underwear. I’m an animal rights person. I’ve kept a part time job at a local humane society for over seven years. So maybe it was the smug look on Sparky’s face as he continued to trot flippantly around the side of the house. I chased after him until I nearly slipped on the embankment. I was running a losing race; the only way I would catch him was by wearing shoes. I went back into the house and quickly donned a pair of shorts and my sandals, rushing out the front door this time. I finally corralled him next to a large oak tree and screamed at him once more, to drop it.
He did, and backed off long enough for me to give him a mama-cat’s smack and yell, “No!”
I really don’t like it when he kills things he’s not going to eat, and I make every effort to discourage him. He left a dead teenage turkey on the front porch once, and another time, a baby rabbit. Not only is it very sad for me when he does this, but the little creatures are hard to bury during the summer, when our clay soil essentially becomes cement. And collars with warning bells usually last for about half a day around here before disappearing into the woods.
The baby bird dropped onto the ground and I thought she was dead, when she twitched and moved her tiny wings. Sparky took a step forward and I pushed him away, yelling, “No!”
I picked up the little bird, thinking I’d be hosting another cement-burial soon, and she began to panic, peeping and quivering. She kicked at my hands with her tiny feet, trying to escape.
“She’s still alive!” I cried, heading toward the woods. I went up into the brush and let her go, hoping she’d peep loudly enough to attract the attention of her turkey-mom. She scrambled away. I turned and Sparky was right behind me, so I picked him up and brought him into the house, locking him in the bathroom. I went back outside and found a couple of our other cats milling around, so I brought them in too, hoping I could give mother and baby the chance to find each other. The mother seemed to be wandering around the area in a daze, and I worried if the baby might have already died of internal bleeding, or shock.
I went back inside to finish my half-eaten bagel. Sparky was not to be ignored, pawing and crying at the bathroom door, until I decided he’d had enough punishment, so I let him out and went back to the news. It was an exciting and happy morning, with marriage equality as the headline.
A few moments later I heard the kitty door flap open, and turned to see Sparky trotting across the kitchen floor, chest puffed out, tail erect, with the baby turkey in his mouth.
I roared at him to drop it and he ignored me, heading into the bedroom. I went after him and he dropped the bird on the floor next to the bed. She lay still and I figured, this is really it. I started to get the small plastic wisk-shovel to ready her for burial, when she twitched again, lifting her head. Sparky perked up again too, so I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and brought him back to the bathroom, locking him in.
The baby turkey lay on the floor quietly, so I picked her up and gently cooed to her. She came back to life and struggled again, trying to free herself with both wings and feet as I stroked her softly, heading back outside. “We’ll find your mama, “ I told her.
This time I went to the north side of the property where the brush is thicker, and walked further into it, regardless of the burrs. I let her go and she ran peeping into the woods again. I stood guard until she was far under the brush, then herded the remaining cats, who’d apparently crashed through the kitty door in hot pursuit, back into the house.
This time I heard multi-generational squawking, so I went back inside to let nature take its course. The cats stayed in the bathroom for another twenty minutes while I got busy with other things.
I haven’t seen a return of the baby turkey, in the house or on the welcome mat, which often happens when Sparky insists on presenting his prey. He may have lost interest, or else the mom and baby reunited while he was in the bathroom, and headed further into the woods.
I hope they found each other.