June 25, 2021

Cryptozoo: Dire Turkey Food Fight

The table is set for an elaborate feast but the halls are quiet, eerily empty. You make your way slowly, quietly through the great hall, sword in hand. You aren’t sure what you’re up against, but you’re not about to be caught by surprise. 

There is a sound from the far side of the chamber, scratching and then a throaty gurgling sound. As you creep closer you make out a hunched, hulking figure, scratching around at the stone floor. But you step wrong as you approach, your heavy boot scrapes the floor, makes more noise than you wanted. The thing spins to look at you, and you’re face to face with… 

Oh shit, is that a six foot turkey? 

Despite what that bratty kid from Jurassic Park may think, regular sized turkeys have a well-earned reputation for being aggressive, so a dire turkey would be an absolute nightmare. Sure, we may think of them as stupid looking birds that basically just exist to be eaten once a year, but wild turkeys are big, fast, and mean when they habituate to humans. 

Turkeys are intensely social animals and adhere to a strict pecking order, and if this pecking order is called into question they quickly assert their dominance. If they decide they rank above you in the social scheme, they will basically never stop coming for you. 

Turkeys also tend to attack shiny objects or their own reflection, so if you’re sporting some fancy metal armor, chances are high that your fowl foe will be pissed off as soon as it sees you. 

Don’t be fooled by their awkward appearance–turkeys are fast and strong. Wild turkeys have been clocked running 20mph, and unlike their domestic counterparts, they can fly, as fast as 55mph in short bursts. 

There are all sorts of stories of wild turkeys terrorizing cities and suburban neighborhoods, of mailmen who carry metal pipes to fight back attacks and birds stopping traffic as they attack cars and motorcycles. They’ve been known to peck, claw, chase, and hurl themselves at anyone they’re trying to dominate. 

What I’m saying is, if you encounter a dire turkey, be ready for a pretty brutal fight to the death. 

If you’re going to take on a dire turkey, you should definitely go prepared. I suggest concoctions that feature the following ingredients: 

Brussels Sprouts

This much maligned veggie has some pretty witchy roots. Maybe you remember your grandmother cutting little crosses into the base of each sprout before cooking–this stems from some very old traditions. Early European Christians thought that leafy vegetables were hiding places for tiny farm demons, and cutting a cross would drive them out. Whether or not there are tiny demons living in your brussels sprouts, they are definitely packed with Vitamin K, a natural coagulant, which could definitely come in handy if you’re facing down a creature that will slash and peck at your flesh. Folklore also says they help prevent illness and hangovers if you eat them before drinking, so, bonus. 

Potatoes

You should probably consider carrying potatoes in your adventure pack just because they’re a source of complex carbs and vitamins essential to health. The Inca cultivated potatoes as a dietary staple for good reason. They’re compact, easy to dehydrate for travel, and great for helping regulate blood sugar. But bring along sweet potatoes and you get a few more benefits. Sweet potatoes are high in magnesium, which helps combat stress and anxiety, and they also have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities. Not a bad combination if you’re gearing up for a fight.  

Cranberries

These native North American berries have long been used by Native American tribes on the East Coast. They were eaten fresh, dried, baked into breads, or sweetened with maple syrup. They were also prized for their medicinal properties. Cranberries immobilize e.coli bacteria, prevents it from latching onto surfaces and reproducing. Native Americans used cranberries as a natural antibiotic, and anyone who’s slammed cranberry juice to help combat a UTI has experienced its medicinal qualities. This little berry could help restore your health after a turkey fracas. There are longstanding arguments if it’s most effective consumed fresh or preserved and packaged in a metallic vessel, so just do what feels right. 

Green Beans

The humble green bean is an excellent source of nutrients, and when you combine with a creamy mushroom soup and crispy friend onions… You see where this is going, right? This is a bit, these are all Thanksgiving sides. Do I have to keep going? Anyway, bring green bean casserole with you because it tastes good, and who doesn’t need a good casserole after a turkey fight. 

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