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Our Writings From a Past Life series may be winding down, but the action is just heating up. What follows is a gripping and violent tale set in what I imagine to be the North American continent, pre-honky. The history books are a bit vague when it comes to The Turky War, so I believe that young Duhr’s depiction of the final (and apparently, only) battle will soon become known as the definitive account.

First the story, then my exploration of the political and cultural ramifications.

Once indians were hunting wild turkey. But, they didn’t know there was only one turkey left in the woods. The turkey had bad luck because one indian named Cra Cra found him. He called the other ones, and they all went after him. But the turkey had lots of friends. They were coming to visit. They saw the indians chasing their friend. The indian and turkey war was on. The one who was living in the woods met Cra Cra. It was the best fight of all. Soon Cra Cra was hurt, and to finish him off a few other turkeys, the first ones best friends, bit him to death. That was the end of Cra Cra, but not the end of the indians. The turkeys soon were all dead. Except the one that was there before. Now because of the war his friends were gone.

First of all, I question the writer’s decision to misspell turkey in the title. And not only that, but the text refers to the war as the “indian and turkey war,” not just “The Turky War.” Yes, it was a chaotic time for Native Americans and turkeys alike, but this smacks of revisionist history to me. By titling the piece “The Turky War,” the author is making no attempt to hide his opinion on which side was the aggressor.

Let’s examine the story itself. Although this piece isn’t labeled, I’m assuming it’s nonfiction rather than historical fiction. There’s very little character development, and we’re never provided access to the internal emotions of any of the players, man or turkey. It’s a very even, very factual account. I guess the major question is, where do the writer’s sympathies lie?

The writer clearly aligns himself with the Native Americans. Here are a few reasons why:

Once indians were hunting wild turkey.

By including the “wild”–I mean really, were there tame turkeys on the American continent pre-colonization? (Are there now?)–the writer is clearly attempting to portray the turkey as out of control, raving and dangerous. Much like the white people’s future portrayal of the Native Americans as “wild savages.” Same concept, different brand of tyrannical shittiness.

But, they didn’t know there was only one turkey left in the woods.

It’s the comma, right? “But … but … they didn’t know. They didn’t! I swear!” It can’t have been the indians’ fault. They just plumb didn’t know.

Yeah, just like we white people “didn’t know” about the whole smallpox thing. Right. The turkey just “had bad luck.” And that “bad luck” is the only reason Cra Cra “found him.” Not “tracked him down.” Not “viciously stalked him through the woods until he could find the right angle from which to pierce the turkey with an arrow and then cook and eat it.” But “found him.” As if Cra Cra were just skipping along a wooded path tying dandelions in his hair.

Cra Cra and his friends chase the turkey, the turkey’s friends stumble onto the scene, and the “war was on.”

The one who was living in the woods met Cra Cra.

Note that the turkey doesn’t merit a name. Also note that although we’re told earlier that Cra Cra had “found” the turkey, here the writer says the turkey “met” Cra Cra, as if the turkey were the attacker.  During this “best fight of all,” Cra Cra falls. Nobly, of course. That’s what made it the best fight. If the writer had called it the “worst fight,” then he would be showing his cards. And he doesn’t want to show his cards.

So noble, regal Cra Cra falls, and the other turkeys surround him and bite him. Bite him! “… to finish him off a few other turkeys … bit him to death.” I’m not pretending that turkeys are pacific–turkeys peck and turkeys pinch. But the writer chooses his words carefully. Would you sympathize less with Cra Cra if the other turkeys merely “pecked him” to death? Of course. So instead, we’re basically told that the turkeys rip into Cra Cra’s flesh with their razor-sharp teeth, eyes rolled back in their turkey heads. It is a disturbing, bloody–and highly jaundiced scene.

That was the end of Cra Cra, but not of the indians. The turkeys soon were all dead. Except the one that was there before. Now because of the war his friends were gone.

(There really is emphasis on “gone.” See the text below.)

I will now close by rewriting that watered-down ending, based on what I imagine the author would’ve actually wanted to write, had he been free to do so:

“Yes, the satanic birds slaughtered our noble hero in cold blood, but thankfully there were hundreds, nay thousands, of other heroes waiting in the wings. The indians slowly and systematically put the turkeys out of their misery, for it was the only humane thing to do. Except for the turkey who started it all. The indians left him alive and alone so that he could dwell on what he had done. Because of him, and him alone, Cra Cra was dead and all the other turkeys were GONE.

Gobble gobble, bitch.”

Make sure to check back next week for another WFPL. It’s gonna be a doozy.

(Spellecheck underlined “doozy.” I know it’s not “doozie.” Come on, spellcheck. Step up to the plate)

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