By Audrey W.
“Station 51, motor vehicle accident with possible injuries, 2131 South Hill Street, two one three one South Hill Street, cross street Oakdale Avenue, time out 12:10.”
The men of Station 51 pushed back their chairs from the table in the dayroom and got to their feet. The call had ended their chances of eating the barely touched sandwiches and potato chips on their plates. They scrambled out to their respective trucks and were soon on their way.
“Whata’ mess!” John Gage exclaimed as he and his partner Roy DeSoto pulled up to the scene in Squad 51. He looked out the windshield from the passenger side and shook his head. “Man, whata’ mess!”
Roy couldn’t agree more.
It was more like three separate motor vehicle accidents, as cars seemed to have collided in sets. Each pair of vehicles was in a different direction from the intersection, only the north bound lanes not involved. Other cars were stopped, pulled over here and there. Adults and children, the latter who seemed to be enjoying themselves, were all chasing after at least seven different large-sized turkeys as the birds ran in all directions to escape their pursuers. Two police officers worked to keep any moving traffic on course through the area without hitting any of the birds or pedestrians. The turkeys definitely were given the right of way, as were the ‘turkey catchers’.
“What in the world?” Captain Stanley wondered as he climbed down from the engine. He soon had his answer what in the world was going on.
Turkey races were being held at a nearby car dealership as a promotional gimmick with Thanksgiving just four days away. But turkeys being unpredictable and not too bright, they jumped the foot high ropes that outlined the course during one of the races and took off into the street from the lot in different directions. Vehicles approaching the intersection had to slam on their breaks quick and as a result, three rear-ended the ones right in front of them.
“I never thought they’d run into the street,” the dealership owner explained to the captain, while Hank’s men checked over the accident victims.
“Don’t you have any food or something to lure them into a pen?”
“Well, sure! Sure, we have turkey feed. My nephew was pulling his sister’s little plastic Barbie car filled with it around the track to get them to follow him. But they seem to have decided that open space and freedom is more important than the food.”
“Ahh, I see.”
“Do you think you and your crew can help get them back in their pen, too?”
Hank glanced at his men, all who were at the various pairs of cars involved in the accident.
“I’m sorry, but our priority has to be with the victims of the accident. I’ve got two paramedics who can administer medical aid if needed and three other men who are available to assist them if necessary. With the number of people involved in the accident, I can’t afford to release anyone to chase down turkeys.”
The owner frowned, then brightened with, “Can I use the hose on there?” He pointed at the engine.
Stanley shook his head. “No.”
As he made his way over to where Roy was examining a little girl who was in one of the back seats, he shook his head again as he thought, Can he borrow the hose. . .really?
No one was seriously injured in any of the collisions; however one five-year-old child would need to be seen at Rampart. Roy went along in the ambulance with her. Her parents went to the hospital in their car since it was just damaged in back and still drivable.
A police officer had the owners of the other vehicles involved move them off the street to make it less complicated for through traffic.
Johnny stayed at the scene to finally be able to assist with the turkey roundup. All but three had been caught.
Chet, Mike, Marco and the captain could jump into the fray as well.
A short time into the task, Johnny stopped where two young boys were standing, panting as they tried to catch their breath.
“Which way did that turkey go this time?”
“That. . .way!” One boy gasped out as he pointed toward the dealership lot that was across the street from them.
“Good deal, thanks!”
“One’s over this way again!” Gage hollered to anyone who would listen. He was already on his way to search and hopefully seize.
Chet, Marco and several other individuals headed to help. Hank and Mike stayed with other people in their effort to round up another of the birds.
“I see um!” Chet called out. “C’mon, Marco!”
They ran around the side of a car that was in a row of many, just in time to see Gage have to jump up to avoid being run into by the turkey.
“What’re ya doing, John?” Chet complained as the escapee disappeared from sight. “The idea is to catch him.”
“I know, but not when he’s charging at me. Besides, have you ever really tried to pick up a turkey? As in a live one? Especially one that big!”
Chet and Marco gave it some thought. Gage had a good point. What exactly were their plans if they caught it?
Johnny offered those plans.
“We just gotta chase it to the pen. That’s our only option.”
By now, others had caught up to them, including a couple of little boys and girls. The firemen directed the small ‘army’ to spread out in the lot. The bird had to be somewhere in there still.
As they made their way past the turkey pen, Chet caught sight of the other attraction for the event. Little piglets that were also there to race.
“Look, future pork chops of America.”
“Chet, that was bad,” Marco admonished.
Johnny just rolled his eyes at the comment.
“I can’t help it,” Chet defended. “I’m hungry.”
They spotted the turkey once again, in an open space to the side of more cars that were for sale. The three split up to corner it in three directions, with hopes it would run toward the only opening, in the direction of the pen.
However, it darted in Johnny’s direction again, and this time he went down as he lost his balance in trying to avoid it.
“He knows the weak link now,” Chet teased.
Johnny was more interested in checking out the damage to the palms of his hands. He’d instinctively put them down to break his fall. Pavement and skin didn’t match up very well.
They were just scraped, but the minor wounds still stung. He got to his feet and brushed his sore hands against his trousers to swipe off the residual grime.
In the meantime, everyone had by chance come to a halt to either re-group or to rest a moment. Those that had a line of vision to it, watched in stunned silence as the three turkeys all made their way to the pen, where their owner just opened a small gate and let them in.
“I don’t believe it,” Johnny commented, his gaze locked.
“All we had to do was stand back?” Chet couldn’t believe it either.
“That’s the trouble with turkeys,” they heard the owner say. “They’re very unpredictable.”
“I know one prediction I can make for those birds,” Chet remarked to his crewmates within earshot.
Marco shook his head. “Don’t say it.”
“Lemme guess,” Johnny broke in. “Future Thanksgiving dinners of America?”
“I’m hungry,” Chet defended again as they headed to where the captain and Mike were waiting near the engine and squad.
“I’m just wonderin’ who’re the real turkeys here,” Gage commented, his gaze on his scraped palms again. “The birds or the rest of us who just spent all that time and energy chasing after ‘em when all we had ta do was leave ‘um alone.”
He didn’t have to defend that thought.
This was inspired by my husband, when at the state fair recently we saw the little piggies and he said, "Future pork chops of America"...I could so hear that coming from Chet! lol They also had turkey races, though none got loose! :o)
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