Today was an unusally warm November day and I was seven and half hours into my eight hour shift. All I could think about was gettin’ home to dinner and sittin’ in front of the television and relaxin’ with a cool one. My bones felt stiff being cooped up in this patrol car all day and my mind wandered as I thought about how uneventful and borin’ this day had been. My eyes were beginning to feel especially heavy as I began workin’ on the paperwork I had to finish before I could end my shift for the day.
I remember the time because I just looked at my watch when I was puttin’ the time on one of my reports. (That’s a bad habit of mine). When the report asks for the time of the incident, I find myself lookin’ at my watch. (Lot of good that does). There was only one half hour left of my shift when I happened to look up and saw two little boys, about 9-11 years of age, draggin’ some carcass up the street. One little boy was skinny with white hair and the other was short with dark hair. The white-haired skinny boy was strugglin’ from the weight of the carcus he was draggin’. Needin’ to know the story, I got out of my patrol car and approached them.
Whatcha got there boys?”
When the boys saw me, their eyes grew as big as saucers. I figured it was because I was a cop.
“We got us a turkey, Sir.“
The white-haired boy appeared proud of his hunted fowl but was a little afraid to tell me since he barely whispered and he was lookin’ down at his feet while tellin’ me.
Where’d ya get that turkey, son?”
I knew I had to get to the bottom of this and find out if this turkey was stolen. I hoped it wasn’t, after all, they were just little boys, (and I didn’t particularly want to write up another report).
“We got him down at the river, Sir.”
The white-haired boy looked at the bloody carcass, then with apprehension, back up at me. The shorter dark haired boy stayed quiet. I noticed the white-haired boy looked tired and was sweating from draggin that dead bird four miles.
“How’d you kill it, son?”
Neither boy had a gun and I was having a hard time picturin’ these two youngsters killing this huge bird.
“Uuhh, with my pocket knife, Sir.”
To begin with, I was somewhat speechless as the images of these two little boys killin’ this poor turkey with a pocket knife flooded my mind. But clearly, I had to get to the heart of the matter which meant I had to clear those images from my head.
“Looks to me like someone’s gonna be missin’ a turkey.”
It was obvious that both boys were terrified that I was going to arrest them. They couldn’t stand still and kept fidgetin’. Maybe it’s the time of year, with holidays comin’ up and all, but I felt sorry for them. They seemed so proud of themselves for havin’ hunted and killed the turkey for their family’s Thanksgivin’. (And, it could be I was tired and didn’t want to be bothered).
“Well, it isn’t a wild turkey so you won’t get in trouble for poachin’ but if someone calls in missin’ a turkey, I have to give you a call.”
The relief on their faces tickled me. I almost started grinnin’. Almost. I took down their names and ages. Both were only ten years old. I recognized the last name of the white-haired boy and knew his mother was trying to raise four youngins’ alone. I was happy to not have to write a report this time and to let it slide. I had a soft spot in my heart for these little boys, them thinkin’ they had done a good thing. And you know, who’s to say they hadn’t? Their family was going to have turkey for Thanksgiving.
I was grinnin’ as I pulled away from the curb, watching those little boys gigglin’ and punchin’ each other playfully, continuing their trek down the street toward home; both proud as peacocks of their man-sized prize. As for me, I was just glad to be goin’ home.
This is a true story. My ten year old little brother and his friend did kill a domestic turkey by the river and they were stopped by a policeman on their way home. However, I wrote this from the viewpoint of the policeman and that part isn’t true, except for the dialogue, which is true (according to my little brother).
Our family did have to eat that turkey for Thanksgiving (our mother made us), even though it tasted like it was full of sand, (which it probably was after being dragged for five miles). We all choked most of it down and told him what a delicious turkey it was (not). But, it sure is a good story.