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TurkeyMan: The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian Terrorist

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Deep in the woods of Alaska, I realized the jig was up. Thorne Bay was a logging camp, an island off the mainland, and remote enough that one can hide out as a part-time Indian terrorist, which is what I did. Cannibalized by coniferous rain forest, eroded by Inside Passage, accessible only by boat and float plane--it is the perfect anonymous archipelago.

"Wounded Knee? Hell, yeah!" I told the FBI Agent--"I ran into a stump!"

Parts of your life will always come back to haunt you. Certain atrocities never go away.

Was it you?--a little voice whispered--Did you break into the Smithsonian Zoo?--Like an egg-sucking weasel?--During the Wounded Knee Siege--And filch the most hallowed of American fowls? Kidnap the national turkey in the name of the American Indian? Like a two-bit terrorist!

"Absolutely not!" I said. "Why would I do that? Besides, it wasn't the Smithsonian--It was called the Washington National Zoo, back then."

"So you are familiar ?"--I heard the accusatory trip wire--"with the turkey case of 1973? Walter Cronkite has been wondering."

"S h*t"--I might as well admit it--it sounds bad--like I know stuff--incriminating stuff--that only an Indian should know." Obviously, the FBI had their antennae up.

"Little known facts pop into your mind, huh , TurkeyMan? All these years later? That's quite a coincidence. You're a regular walking encyclopedia. Regarding turkeys, that is."

TurkeyMan? My eye twitched. Sure, it sounds like I am guilty as sin--I probably did it--Look at the evidence. What else would anybody think? Luckily, guilty but insane is a legal defense--or is it?--I don't know, anymore.

But on a dark Sunday night--April 17, 1973, to be exact--when a terrorist kidnapped the National Zoo's only caged turkey--practically pilfered the Pilgrim's Holy Supper--under the nose of our nation's capital--and held it for ransom in the name of the American Indian--I have to admit--Somehow, I know about that. Every detail. Like I channeled it or something. How is that possible?

"He knows something"--I could hear a whisper--"it did happen at night."

"C'mon, man!" I implored. "What kind of idiot would do that, anyway?"

"Oh, I don't know. Something an Indian might do; you know, turkey feathers, a symbolic statement? Maybe a gobbler goblin?--the voice said with spittle-spewed sarcasm--When we catch him, there might even be a cage waiting at the zoo. Next to Nixon's pandas."

I knew Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing were not officially Nixon's pandas. True, the pair were presented to the zoo after Tricky Dick's visit to China, and delivered on April 16, 1972, almost a year exactly, curiously enough, before the day, or night, rather, that the turkey was"

"You say something, Turkey-Man?"

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Conceived on west coast, born on east coast, returned to northwest spawning grounds. Never far from water.

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