Bob hung over the rail of the ship and tossed his cookies into the choppy ocean waters that rocked them back and forth.
“Are you gonna make it?” Woodruff asked.
“No worries,” Bob said. “I think that was the last of them.”
“Good, those cookies were making the turkeys crazy.”
“Gama’s triple peanut butter, walnut, pecan delights have driven lesser fowl to the brink of insanity.”
“You can say that again.”
“I didn’t say that in the first place.”
A rumbling of gobbles drew their attention back to the crowded deck of the creaky old ship. Woodruff and Bob turned to face the rafter of turkeys that spread from aft to bow and port to starboard.
“This is our best idea yet,” Bob said.
“You said it.”
“No I didn’t.”
“We’ll just stay out at sea for the weekend and then nobody will be able to eat these birds,” Woodruff said. “It’s foolproof.”
One of the turkeys flew up to the top of the mast and perched atop the old crow’s nest.
“Harold, get down from there.” Woodruff called.
“You named him?” Bob asked.
“I named all of them.”
“There’s got to be a hundred turkeys here.”
“One hundred and sixty-three turkeys.”
“And you named them all?”
“Yep,” Woodruff said proudly.
“What’s this one’s name?” Bob asked as he pointed to a plump bird with a long red gizzard.
“And this one,” Bob pointed to the next closest turkey.
“Turtle the turkey?”
“He prefers just Turtle, ‘the turkey’ was his father,” Woodruff said.
A particularly rough wave rocked the ship and Woodruff and Bob had to grab hold of the rail to keep from falling overboard. Harold glided back to join the rafter with a thud. Woodruff shook his head chidingly at the adventurous gobbler.
“Without the cookies, do we have enough food to last the long weekend?” Bob asked.
“Oh yeah,” Woodruff said. “We’ve got two hundred pounds of cranberries, and three hundred pounds of pumpkin seeds.”
“Is it the best idea to stuff the turkeys we are trying to keep from being eaten with cranberries and pumpkin seeds?” Bob asked.
“I didn’t think about that,” Woodruff said, scratching his head. “The only other thing we have is a mix of dried breadcrumbs, onions, celery, and sage.”
“Let’s go with that,” Bob said. “Better sage than sorry.”
“Beh gah!” Harold shouted.
Woodruff and Bob ran to the wildly pointing turkey on the starboard side of the wooden sea vessel.
“What is it Harold?” Woodruff asked.
“Beh gah!” Harold repeated.
“Pirates?” Bob said. “Where?”
Woodruff pulled a monocular from his sash and extended it toward the starboard horizon. The white sails of a giant ship came into focus, hurtling toward their position. Flapping in the wind off her stern was a black flag with a skull and crossbones at the center.
“They’re pirates all right,” Woodruff said.
“Hoist the main sail!” Bob ordered. “Stand aloft! Look lively! Batten down the hatches!”
“They’re turkeys, Bob.”
“Well, what do we do?”
Woodruff furrowed his brow as he studied the approaching ship. He looked around at their feathered shipmates and back to Bob.
“We’ve got to hide the birds,” Woodruff said. “Help me get these turkeys below deck.”
Woodruff and Bob worked quickly to herd the gobblers down the stairwell into the hull. They pushed the last turkey out of sight as the pirate ship pulled alongside them and a grappling hook hedged into the railing. A short stumpy man with an eye patch swung on board.
“Argh,” the stumpy pirate shouted as he waved his hook at Woodruff and Bob. “Avast, I hereby claim this ship and all her booty.”
“You’ll never touch my booty,” Bob said.
“And who be you?” the pirate asked.
“I be Bob,” he replied. “And who you be?”
“Black Friday’s me name,” the pirate said. “And there ain’t noth’n more heinous on heaven or earth.”
“No argument here,” Woodruff said.
“Now, I’ll be taking your ship,” Black Friday said. “And you’ll be walk’n the plank.”
“You can’t have the Aprilposy,” Bob said.
“Aprilposy?” Black Friday questioned.
“It’s a Mayflower tribute boat,” Woodruff explained.
“That’s ridiculous,” Black Friday said.
“You’re ridiculous, Black Friday!” Bob shouted.
“Avast, ya scurvy dog,” Black Friday said as he unsheathed his cutlass. “Meet me saber, Monday.”
“Meet my pan flute, Sylvia,” Woodruff said as he hurled the wooden cylinders at Black Friday. With only one good eye, the pirate lacked the depth perception to judge the distance properly and took the pan flute right in the eye patch.
“Ow!” Black Friday yelped.
“Now!” Bob shouted.
Woodruff and Bob charged forward and grabbed hold of the pirate. Woodruff fastened the grappling hook to Black Friday’s pantaloons as Bob unfurled the main sail. The momentum of the ship pulled Black Friday off the deck and sent him off the edge. The pirate ship sailed away with its captain dangling from a rope just above the waves that lapped against her hull.
“Huzzah!” Woodruff and Bob rejoiced in unison.
“No booty for you, Black Friday,” Bob said.
“Beh gah?” Harold squawked as he poked his head above deck.
“He’s gone, Harold,” Woodruff said. “You all can come up now.”
One by one the turkeys all hobbled up the staircase into the open air and quickly filled the deck.
“That Black Friday really snuck up on us,” Bob said.
“Tell me about it,” Woodruff said. “Had to act fast to save our booty.”
“Hey Woodruff,” Bob called over the noisy gobbling.
“Yeah, Bob,” Woodruff replied.
“How do you make a pirate angry?” Bob asked as he took hold of a rope and pulled himself atop the railing. He put one foot in front of the other like a trapeze artist, with his arms raised to his sides for balance, as he made his way up the wooden rail.
“You take away the ‘p’.”
Woodruff shook his head and Harold gobbled his displeasure at Bob.
“Oh come on!” Bob said. He turned his body parallel to the rail and raised his arms. “That’s good stuff.”
A strong wind swept across the deck and blew some loose feathers and Bob right over the side of the Aprilposy.
“Bob!” Woodruff shouted as he raced to the railing. “Bob overboard!”
Bob rose up and down with the titanic ocean waves as he drifted away from the ship. Woodruff watched helplessly from the deck. Harold scuttled out onto the plank and looked down at the deep blue sea.
“Beh gah!” Harold called. The turkeys banded together to form a giant chain as Harold hurled himself off the plank. Bob grabbed hold of Harold and the turkeys pulled him back aboard.
“That was amazing!” exclaimed Woodruff.
“I know,” Bob said. “It was like a barrel of turkeys.”
“Beh gah,” Harold replied.
“Thank you, Harold,” Bob said. “You are one brave bird.”
“He’s one tough turkey,” Woodruff agreed.
“Tough in demeanor,” Bob clarified. “I’m sure he’s very tender in an edible sense.”
“Bob!” Woodruff rebuked.
“What?” Bob said. “I was trying to pay him a complement. I’m not sure where turkey’s self-worth comes from.”
“I’m sure it’s not from being food, right Harold?” Woodruff asked.
Harold shrugged his shoulders, “Beh gah.”