Turkeys continue to terrorize Rosewood residences. This morning an elderly couple reported a flock descending on their yard and pecking the husband, Mr. Jack Long, into unconsciousness. Mrs. Sarah Long called the police, but by the time they arrived the gang of birds had moved on. Police continue to scour neighborhoods near Long Pond, but heavy woods hamper the, so far unsuccessful, search. More news as it breaks.
Phineas McGirk felt sick to his stomach as he swiped the browser on his phone shut. He had been checking the Rosewood Independent's website religiously since Saturday. At first, there had been nothing out of the ordinary. A couple of articles about the High School's Thanksgiving football game, some recipes, the usual preholiday fluff.
Then on, Monday, everything changed. A man was assaulted by turkeys in his backyard while raking leaves. A woman was trapped in her minivan in her driveway for twenty terrifying minutes as the turkeys battered at the windows, trying to get in. On and on the reports went, each more terrifying than the last.
The authorities were helpless. Bernie Sinclair, Rosewood's Animal Control Officer and big-game hunting enthusiast, had gone missing on Tuesday after entering the woods alone with his shotgun.
Bernie's final words were, "It's them or me."
Everyone assumed the worst.
Phineas couldn't help feeling guilty even thought the real culprit was sitting behind the counter of his store Pets, Pets, Pets wearing a bored expression as she typed on her phone.
"Did you see that there was another attack?" Phineas asked.
Geraldine looked up at him, her black lipstick and pink hair flying the flag of teen apathy. "Why are you so fixated on turkeys?"
"Why? Why? Because we..." Phineas realized he was shouting and dropped his voice. Not that it mattered. As usual, Pets, Pets, Pets was empty except for him, Geraldine, and the animals.
"Because they're our turkeys," he whispered. "Actually, they're your turkeys."
Geraldine didn't even blink. "You were the one who said to be creative."
It was true. Geraldine was Phineas's only employee, and he had wanted to get her more engaged. So he had given her a budget and told her to "do something creative."
Phineas never regretted three words so much in his whole life.
"What I don't understand is, why turkeys?"
Geraldine shrugged. "People buy chickens for Easter."
"They buy chicks, because they're cute. Who wants to buy a full grown wild turkey at Thanksgiving?"
"Everyone buys a turkey."
"Not ones they have to slaughter themselves. And not from a pet store. Pet stores are where you come to buy something furry that loves you. Like a Guinea Pig or cat or a ferret. And I emphasize ferret there, not weasels, which is what we seem to have in stock. Twelve, I might add."
Geraldine's face remained expressionless.
Phineas sighed. "I just wish I knew how those turkeys got out of their pen on Saturday. I swear I locked the gate."
The bell on the door tinkled and an old man with a huge bandage on his forehead tottered in.
"Pardon me, do you sell weasels?"
Phineas stared at the man so long that the old man repeated his question.
"You said weasels, not ferret, right?" Phineas said.
"And you know there is a difference between them?" Sometimes people said weasels when they meant ferret.
"Yes, I want weasels. Do you sell them?"
"Umm, yes, as it so happens we do," Phineas replied, a little confused.
"Great, I'll take two. The biggest, meanest ones you have." The old man took out his cell phone and placed a call. "Hey Joe, yea it's me, I found a place that sells them downtown. I don't know, some little hole-in-the-wall called Pets, Pets, something. What? Sure, I'll bring 'em by on my way home." He hung up.
"Make that four."
"Four? You want four weasels?" Phineas was flabbergasted.
"Son, I don't have a lot of time. Do you mind closing your mouth and getting me the animals?"
"Oh, sure, and, you said you want them large and, er, mean?"
"The nastiest sumbitches you've got."
"Oh, okay. I also have cages and food,. Those are for ferrets but they should work fine for weasels. We also have toys..."
"No food, no cages. These boys are going to be free range and eat just fine."
Phineas frowned. "I don't understand."
"Weasels are the natural predators of turkeys. My daughter spotted it on the Facebook. And, in case you haven't heard, we've got a hell of a turkey problem and those bastards deserve what they're going to get," the man pointed at his bandaged head. "Now, you going to sell me the weasels or not?"
Phineas boxed up the weasels, getting bitten five times in the process, and charged the man's credit card. Each weasel cost twice the price of a turkey.
As he was leaving, the old man said, "I'm going to tell everyone I know that you have these guys. You're a life saver."
As the door closed behind the old man, Phineas turned to Geraldine. She was typing away on her phone.
"You posting on Facebook?"
After a moment of silence, Phineas said, "I wonder what eats weasels?"
Without looking up, Geraldine said, "Foxes. We're getting a shipment of eight on Friday."
"Huh." Phineas thought for a moment, then said, "I suppose a raise is in order."
Geraldine finally smiled. But only for a second.
THE END copryright 2014 John Lance