Just when things seem safe, and I am hoping for a post facto presidential pardon (a turkey favor served at Thanksgiving) all hell breaks loose at the National Zoo. Bobcats are on the run, pandas are going postal; and a postpartum psychosis is inflicted on America by our-very-own Rosemary-Baby-birthed Donald Trump. Sometimes, it seems, the stars, and maybe the animals, are aligned against us.
I am not sure if Doctor Doolittle has risen from the grave, or an Orwellian version of Animal Farm has manifested. Crazy critters cry out everywhere.
Obviously, my mind is not what it was. Yet I remain steeled. If it were not for Indian Butch by my side--his constant mentoring and guidance in the Alaskan gulag--in search of a turkey totem--where we find grouse and a partridge or two for a bit of spiritual counseling--I would be lost. Butch's persuasive polemic on the power of the turkey foot gave me hope.
But it was his keen eye that probably kept us alive.
"What the hell is that?" he peered at an obscure scrapbook and yanked out a photo." The cover said Citizenship Merit Badge.
Fleeing Ketchikan, we had just broken into a rickety outbuilding on the outskirts of Tok Junction, a small Alaskan town, near the Yukon border, where there really are no outskirts. In fact, it was hard to see anything that resembled a town. Mostly, Husky dogs hunkered in the woods, tethered to spruce trees along a never-ending gravel road. Apparently, the shack was some kind of Boy Scout clubhouse. A few deer antlers, one with a broken prong, hung above the doorway. It was cold so I wrapped myself in a giant Boy Scout flag with Tok Junction, Alaska on it. It was nylon and shiny. I would have preferred wool.
"It's Kennedy, man," I observed the photo. "Just an obscure shot. You obviously have a knack for them. The TV behind the desk is not impressive."
Butch held up the photo. People were dancing around a desk in the White House. He gave me a knowing look and pasted his finger on the man to the left. "Devil is in the details," he warned.
"Looks like a fox trot," I said. "Little John John is kicking up his heels."
"Charles Del Vecchio!" he proclaimed. "The Devil, I said!"
"What?" I looked closer. "The Del Vecchio who tagged our turkey in the Washington Post? How can you tell? The philodendron on the desk?"
"Italian mustache!" Butch was shaking. "Ferragamo shoes! The swagger!"
"You've got a good eye. And good taste. But isn't devil a little severe?
"In Vecchio's world," Butch's voice hoarsened. "Eye-for-an-Eye-talian! Everyone dies."