Driving back from the woods, basking in the glow of my kill, I had a troubling thought interrupt my since of self-satisfaction: what the hell do you do with a turkey once you’ve shot it? I guess you eat it or maybe you stuff it or maybe you just plant a leather glove by it and blame the Juice, I have no idea. It was becoming painfully obvious that my guide had a busy day still ahead of him, and I was on my own to deal with my feathered foe once we reached our early morning meeting spot. Sure enough, a half hour later, back at my SUV, I found myself alone with my turkey.
Now I travel with two items always present in my rear cargo hold. One such item is the old golfing bag. Two, is the neon pick bean-bag chair I keep with me in case a tailgate spontaneously breaks out (or any other pause that presents the opportunity to sit). It is probably designed for teenage girls who go to their boyfriend’s soccer games but nonetheless, I virtually forced my then girlfriend to make it my birthday present (this can’t be why it didn’t work out, can it?) While transferring the bird from the guide’s truck to my ride, the look on my guide’s face concerning the pink chair spoke volumes concerning the prospect of another such adventure. Now, at this point, my bird is still bleeding a little from his tiny bird neck and face. This will not do, so golf towels are laid down in the cargo hold to protect my pink, non stain-resistant blemish of heterosexuality. As I drive back towards home, I begin frantically calling people in my phone book who I think may have some idea of what to do next.
I know that turkeys are good eatin’, but that involves some sort of field dressing. I don’t mind cutting the little guy up, but the only potential tools I possess for such a task are an old steak knife, a divot repair tool, and my kitchen sink. That is a problem couple with the fact I don’t know the first damn thing about doing it. Surely there are better options than this. I finally reach a gentleman on the phone who knows exactly what to do. Unfortunately, he is in Florida. However, he comes through in a major way. He sets me up with a friend of his who is in the know of exactly how to handle those who recently died in the throws of passion: A.C. Cowlings. Just kidding, but when his buddy called, a since of relief overcame me as now I didn’t have to engage in a game of dissection on my own kitchen counter. I had met his buddy before and he is interesting man to say the least. He told me to meet him over at the offices from which he operates several businesses in my fair community. I pulled around back and he opened my tailgate to get the first glimpse of the victim (and my pink chair). He pats me on the back and congratulates me with enthusiasm usually reserved for those who take home both showcases on the Price is Right. He snaps up my bird and proceeds into the building behind his business to get the party started.
I can tell right off, this building contains the home of two distinct hobbies. One is the necessary sinks, knives, and other tools necessary for turning anything dead into something that can be baked, fried, or grilled. The other is a collection of classic corvettes that leaves me speechless. In any other place, these hobbies taking place in a vicinity so close together might raise an eyebrow, but not here. My bird goes under the knife quicker than a waitress turned “entertainer”. He is whittling away at the insides of my turkey as if it were a contestant on the Swan, producing scrumptious pieces of flesh not scene since Star Jones Reynolds wedding night. I fear, even with his precision slicing, a piece of turkey flesh may soon land on the candy apple finish of the 66 vette not 2 feet away from this turkey autopsy, causing the knife to be turned on me. He offers the filets one by one, but I tell him to keep them as my Foreman grill could not do them justice. However, what I do get to keep are the spurs and beard that he eventually lops off and tosses in my direction. These are the trophy items you take back to the lodge (or in my case the gym) to show off to your turkey huntin’ brethren. He also took the tail feathers, which will soon adorn a plaque, along with the first two items of conquest, commemorating this most momentous event. As for now, the spurs and beard sit in an open Ziploc bag above my fridge (the ladies in particular find that quite the aphrodisiac). But in the near future, they will all come together in a tribute to my masculinity and virility to be displayed in home or office, I can’t decide.
The taking of my first turkey was quite the experience. While I had gone on such a hunt prior, this was the first time it ever proved fruitful. But this should not be the end of my hunting yarns as the gentleman who arranged for the disposal of my bird has issued me a challenge. It is called, locally, the Redneck Triple Crown of hunting, where three birds are taken from the three states that border my humble abode. So if you have a bird your friendly with somewhere in the hills of Appalachia, you better tell him to heads up. I’m coming for him. (Editor’s note: No women of questionable morality were actually used in the creation of this story)