Billy Bob Jones the Turkey | Teen Ink

Billy Bob Jones the Turkey

November 22, 2014
By Anonymous

Author's note:

My little sister was "drawing" a story about turkeys and I thought, "It's almost Thanksgiving...maybe I'll write a story about turkeys too!"


(A Thanksgiving Tale)
Once upon a time there lived a turkey. This turkey’s name was Billy Bob Jones. Some may say this is an extremely unoriginal name and what on earth were that turkey’s parents thinking when the named their poor son. However, Billy Bob Jones liked his name. It came along with many fun nicknames, like Billy, Jones, Billy Jones (he didn’t much like Bob) and BBJ (a personal favorite).
Billy Jones was a very good turkey. He was raised by good turkey parents and went to Mass every Sunday. He was homeschooled for six months with his thirteen turkey brothers and sisters and had a very refined vocabulary. After this, he, as well as all of his siblings, moved out to build nests of their own. Most of them had found their own place along the river bank to settle and have a family. A few of his brothers and sisters had sought a life deeper in the safe side of the woods, away from the farm, though still returned for an occasional visit with their newly-found partners.
Billy Bob Jones had built his nest beside the river like the majority of his brothers and sisters. He had not yet met the “turkey of his dreams” as most of his siblings had, but he assured himself the it hadn’t been long since he moved out from his parent’s nest and, in his opinion, you couldn’t rush these things.
Billy Bob Jones loved the river. He loved the rushing sound of the water gurgling over stones, rocks, and logs. He had seen it in the early spring, when it began to melt and trickling water carved paths through the ice. These rivulets gradually widened and before he knew it the water was a gushing torrent, swollen with spring rains and melted snow water.
In the summer, as BBJ was growing, the river had been a source of cool water to drink from and fun moments to enjoy with his family and other turkeys. In the fall, leaves and sticks had tumbled through the air only to be caught like flies in a spider’s web in the river’s rushing current where they were sent swirling downstream. Though he had yet to see the river during the long winter months, Billy Jones had heard that it would often freeze over, held in a graceful sweeping motion, as if it were put on pause and waiting for the world to come alive again.
Our story takes place in November. This was Billy Jones’ first November and he was delighted by what he saw. The air was crisp, cold, and clear. Before the sun rose, the ground was coated in silvery, glimmering frost that was cast into sparkling glory when the first rays of dawn streamed through the trees. Lacy ice was forming on the edges of the river that crackled cheerfully when he pecked at it. It was near the middle of the month and the snow was starting to fall. Only small amounts at first, but enough to give the world an appearance of having been sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Now Billy was not an extremely foolish turkey. Of course, to some degree, all turkeys are unintelligent, but that is another story entirely. The fact was, BBJ knew about Thanksgiving, and he knew that humans were dangerous, and he knew that they were to be avoided (especially hunters), and he knew they lived on the farm on the “unsafe” side of the woods, close enough to be a potential danger. But Billy chose not to worry about them. He was adventurous (though some might call it “foolish”) and had sneaked over to the farm to watch the animals and people living there quite often. He would watch cows lazily munching grass and wandering through the fields, pigs lying in the dirt, dried mud clinging to their skin and flies buzzing about their heads, and fat chickens clucking and strutting about.
He had never seen domestic turkeys, but had heard from his Wise Aunt Marge (who had visited with Old Uncle Jeremy and fourteen cousins during the summer) that they were fat, dumb, and utterly useless. (Now this opinion may have been biased, because Wise Aunt Marge, though wise, was extremely proud of her wild turkey genes.)
Allow me to get back to our story. It was late November and the third Thursday of the month was rapidly approaching. Billy Jones’ brothers and sisters along with their husbands or wives had retreated into the safe side of the forest to take up residence with those already living there until this holiday had safely passed.
But Billy B. Jones was not interested in hiding from the humans. In fact, this holiday only made him more curious about them and so he didn’t bother retreating—he was wondering what they would do that would be so out-of-the-ordinary that everyone ran away to hide.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Billy Bob Jones was going for a stroll through the woods. He was on his way to check on the farm and see what preparations were being made for this so-called “Thanksgiving.” The ground was draped in a substantial layer of snow by now and fluffy flakes were drifting gently down to earth. He trotted along, clucking quietly. When he reached the outskirts of the woods, Billy Jones flapped his wings, scrambling and flapping his way up to the top of a large oak tree. The branches were bare, so he could easily see the farm laid out before him.
There were no animals out in the field surrounding the barn. The ground was cloaked in a blanket of fluffy, sparkling snow. Behind the barn, the farmhouse was conveying a cheerful atmosphere. Smoke was streaming from the brick chimney and the windows were glowing warmly in the evening twilight. If Billy Jones leaned forward, he could just hear laughter and human conversation coming from inside. More vehicles of different shapes and sizes were parked outside than usual, undisturbed in the silence of the snow-covered world that surrounded them.
Billy Jones, if he could’ve smiled, would’ve. Even though he knew that humans were cruel and would be eating one of his own kind in only two days, he couldn’t help but realize that they probably didn’t know any better and they couldn’t be all that bad. Then he realized how foolish he was being and flew back home. When he arrived at the river, which was laced over with ice, he landed in his nest and closed his eyes.
Billy Bob Jones was awakened by a sudden, violent, echoing crack, and his eyes were open in a moment. He squawked loudly, then quickly realized how thoughtless this was and lowered himself down into his nest so he couldn’t be easily seen. He listened intently for a few moments, taking in all around him—shrieking birds flapping away, the low hiss of the river passing by beneath the ice, snow falling straight down through the windless, cold air, speckling his beak and feathers in white. The sky was draped in thick, gray clouds, but he could tell it was morning time.
Of course, BBJ took in all this information quickly and more importantly above all this he heard a loud, screeching squawk, not unlike the one he had emitted moments before. Another loud crack echoed over the quiet land and Billy Jones poked his beak over the top of the nest, peering across the river. A small female turkey was trying to fly away with no success. One wing was flapping frantically while the other lay useless by her side at an odd angle.
Billy was horrified, filled with many emotions he had never experienced before. Rage, fear, and a sudden urge to help the poor little turkey that was so desperate to live through her first winter. Yet another crack rang through the air, and the she-turkey shrieked and began limping towards the river bank. Perhaps in hopes of sliding down and hiding in the snow?
Luckily for her, this human hunter appears to have terrible aim, Billy Jones thought as he scanned the tree-line, searching for the person causing this terrible ruckus. Then he saw him, crouched behind a tree, clothed in grey and green and practically blending in with his surroundings. How resourceful…almost intelligent! BBJ was thinking.
The small female turkey had managed to slip down the bank and was lying, unmoving, against the ice of the river. The human muttered angrily and stood up, crunching across the icy snow towards the frozen water. Billy waited quietly, mind racing, wondering what he should do. The hunter was holding a long, slender gun in his gloved hands. His whole body was covered, other than his bearded face. Billy Jones made a decision and waited for the prime moment, when the man would be as close as possible to him without actually being able to kill the poor crippled turkey lying below.
When the moment came, and the hunter-human was looking triumphantly down on the she-turkey lying limp on the ice, Billy Bob Jones attempted a heroic, battle-cry-like squawk and sailed high into the air, flaring his tail feathers and flapping his wings. He looked down and glimpsed a shocked look on the hunter’s face before he began to raise his gun. But BBJ didn’t give him a chance to shoot—he flew straight and fast towards the man’s gun, hitting the weapon squarely and knocking it aside. Billy Jones flapped his wings in the human’s face to confuse him until he cried out, stumbling backwards and landing in the snow where he continued to blunder about as Billy Jones shrieked and squawked. The man flailed his arms about, struggling in vain to get this insane turkey out of his face. At last Billy relented and flapped back, retrieving the gun from the snow and flying high above the river.
Then he dropped it. It fell. The ice cracked. Then the ice broke. And the evil weapon was clutched in the unrelenting grasp of the icy river waters and swept away to who knows where. Perhaps it was taken farther downstream, or perhaps it sank where it fell, but the important thing was that the hunter couldn’t get it.
The man, still in his place in the snow, cast a look of bewilderment upon Jones, then stood and scurried away through the bare trees in the direction of the farm. As soon as he was sure that the human was gone, Billy Jones swished down to the place where the female turkey still lay. She was breathing, but very faintly. Luckily she was small, and Billy managed to get her onto his back and hop up to his nest, where he lay her down and pressed against her to make sure she was warm.
Slowly, she began to awaken. Then she suddenly jolted and gasped, “Is he gone?!”
Billy put a protective wing over her and said, “If I could smile comfortingly, I would. Did you ever notice how beaks are rather restraining? Anyway, he is gone. Looks like those humans will have to have ham for Thanksgiving this year. My name is Billy Bob Jones, by the way, but you can call me Billy, or Billy Jones, or BBJ. Whatever you prefer.”
The she-turkey huddled closer to Billy and sighed, “My name is Gianna Rose. You can call me Ana or Gigi if you’d like. Or Rosie.” She winced then as her wing shifted positions.
“Ana. I like it,” Billy clucked. “If you don’t mind me asking, what were you doing out of the safe woods so close to Thanksgiving anyway?”
Gianna lowered her head, as if ashamed, and muttered quietly, “We’re told how terrifying they are, but never get to find out for ourselves. Call it foolish, but I call it adventurous.” Then she added with an accusatory tone, “Anyway, what were you doing out here?”
Billy laughed a strange, turkey laugh and replied, “Same thing, actually. Humans scare me, but fascinate me to, and I often venture to the farm outside the woods to see how they live. I assumed them to be too clumsy and dumb to kill me, but I see now that they have their ways. So, as you can see, I decided to stay out here, in my nest, by the river that I love so very much. Where do you reside?”
Gianna seemed to chuckle at Billy Jones’ vocabulary but answered, “Not far downstream, actually. I believe we’ve seen your family before. Down by the river in the summer or exploring in the woods. I was only hatched in April, so I haven’t lived long, but I have a nest upstream.”
Billy Bob Jones couldn’t help himself. He asked, “Likewise! I was hatched this past April as well! Who is the lucky he-turkey with whom you share a nest?”
Gianna looked at him in slight surprise, then a smile shone in her eyes as she clucked, “I have none. No one that has come across my path has suited me, if you know what I mean.”
“What a coincidence, for I have had the same dilemma!” Billy cried in undisguised delight.
Gianna chirped, “My, I see what you mean by these restraining beaks! If only I could grin as a human child when one has stuck a tasty morsel in its chubby face! I would do so, oh I would! Billy Bob Jones, thank you. Thank you for saving my life. And for all you have done since—though it has nary been an entire day.”
Billy tried a grin, failing, but replied radiantly, “My pleasure, sweet Ana, my pleasure.”

And so it came about that Thanksgiving passed without a single turkey vanishing from the woods near the farm we spoke of, and that very Sunday Gianna Rose and Billy Bob Jones were married in the local Chapel and lived happily together through the long winter months and had a nest of their own full of chirping chickies when springtime came along. Gianna’s wing healed well, and from then on, they were sure to retreat a safe distance into the woods for the holidays, despite their abounding curiosity.
Although the moral of this story may not be the wisest, it is this: with foolishness, may come courage. At times we may have to step out of ourselves to do the right thing and help others, even if we do not know them.

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