I’ve had a few requests to pull this passage out of the longer post: The Time Has Come, The Walrus Said…(29 Jan) and publish it as stand-alone. I suppose it can best be described as “The Peabody Affair.” which occurred sometime in 1963. For those of you who may not have read the original, which I know is a bit longish, perhaps this will pique your interest.
Thanks for reading
Those were happy times for the most part, and we lived in a very small garage apartment owned by some friends of my grandparents. My mother had a beautiful voice and would sing a cappella constantly while cooking, doing dishes, or just mucking about the apartment. My musical talents have obviously come from my father’s side.
The elderly couple who owned the apartment and the very large house and yard surrounding it were called Benbow. They were very nice people and apparently very, very good friends of my grandmother; hence our living there for what I now must assume was cheap rent. I liked them well enough I suppose. They had a ranch somewhere close to Fremont and I do remember going there at least once for the ‘roundup.’ There were horses, cows, dog, cats, varmints, barbecue, (Not barbecued varmints!) and a nice creek to go skinny dipping in. All right there in the Bay Area. Amazing to me now, but then, that was many years ago…
What I didn’t like about the arrangement was the fact that Mrs. Benbow had a pet Tom Turkey, named ‘Mr. Peabody.’ This bird hated little boys. And he was passionate about it. Mom would give me a cookie and tell me, “Now, go play outside and let me finish cleaning the house.” I feared the outside while holding cookies. Mr. Peabody would lie in wait for me, and as soon as he saw me with cookies or anything resembling cookies, he would launch his attack. With a strongly developed sense of self-preservation even at that tender age, I would drop the cookies and flee (Read: Run Like Hell) back to mom, complaining about this evil bird. She would just laugh and tell me to get over it, or “Why don’t you just play somewhere else?” Easily said Mom, but impossibly done. “Remember? I can’t cross the street???” Grrrr…. This was not the proper response from someone who was supposed to love me above and beyond all things on Earth.
One day as I was warily munching a cookie, I saw Mr. Peabody circling, sizing me up for the attack that was certain to follow, but this day I did not flee. Something had come over me and instead of running for the apartment I ran for a large stick I had noticed on the ground just outside the door. Someone, or Some Thing had put that stick there for a reason and I was quite certain I knew what the reason was. I grabbed the stick and confronted Mr. Peabody. Now, most of the turkeys I have known are not terribly bright and Mr. Peabody being no exception kept charging me with his wings flapping, his beak squawking, and his talons kicking up dust as if he expected this to be just another easy victory for him in the never ending Cookie Wars.
I smacked him full force right in the side, “dusting him off” so to speak and releasing a small cloud of turkey feathers from him and a large “Whoop!” from me. This shocked him for an instant, but then he rejoined the battle in earnest and came at me again complaining even louder than before. With new found courage and drunk from the power that only MWTD, Massive Weapons of Turkey Destruction can provide, I stood my ground and let him have it again. This time he grew some intelligence and ran from me. He actually ran from me! I couldn’t believe it. Of course I had to chase him now. Memories of all the times of torment and of all the cookies lost flooded my mind. I was going to have my satisfaction. I chased that poor bird all around the yard, giddy with my newly found manhood and laughing manically the whole time. Mr. Peabody ended up running into the entrance to the stairwell leading to our apartment and promptly got stuck behind the water heater. As much as I hated that turkey I did not want him to die stuck behind that appliance in that awful way. I tried in vain to poke him out, but had to give up when called in to supper. Panic had started growing in my mind at that point, as I knew I would be blamed for the untimely end of The Gracious and Good Mr. Peabody even though I am certain there had been no witnesses.
Well, the damn bird did end up dying there and horribly so I am sure, and at the time I was somewhat remorseful, but as I look back on that experience, no longer am. May he rot in Hell. And even though relentlessly interrogated and upon more than one occasion, I never confessed to the murder of the Beloved Mr. Peabody–Until this day. And I am confident I can trust you not to drop a dime…