Hi, friends, and I hope you’re still enjoying Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 The Tale Of Fatty Raccoon. I still am, and that’s why I got another chapter riffed and published this week. If you’re tired of me giving the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment to a harmless book that’s caused nobody any trouble, well, maybe you’re right. But it’s fun writing, too.
To catch you up: Fatty Raccoon and his family are facing the hard, cold winter. There’s not a lot of food left and what there is, Fatty’s eaten already. But Jasper Jay brought the news that Farmer Green has forty fat turkeys, ready for the eating. Are you ready for how Fatty hopes to turn this to his advantage, and how things maybe go wrong? I’m not sure you are!
> FORTY FAT TURKEYS
CROW: If the Twelve Day of Christmas *never ended*.
> When Jasper Jay told Fatty Raccoon about Farmer Green’s forty fat
TOM: Jasper was being a gossip.
> Fatty felt hungrier than ever.
> "Oh! I mustn’t go near Farmer Green’s house!" he said.
MIKE: You mustn’t?
CROW: He daren’t.
> mother told me to keep away from there. . . .
TOM: On the other hand, food. Well, she’ll understand.
> What time did you say
> the turkeys go to roost?"
CROW: It’s after the chickens come home to roost, but before the cows come home.
> "Oh! they go to roost every night at sundown," Jasper Jay
> explained. "And there they sit, up in the tree, all night long.
CROW: [ As Fatty ] And … turkeys just go into trees and sleep?
MIKE: [ As Jasper ] Yup! That’s totally normal behavior for turkeys!
CROW: [ As Fatty ] Of course as real wild animal I know this I just … wanted to know I got it right?
> They’re fast asleep. And you would have no trouble at all in catching
> as many as you wanted.
TOM: [ As Japser ] Assuming you want none! None is a many, right?
> . . . But of course, if you’re afraid—why
> there’s no use of MY talking about it.
MIKE: [ As Fatty ] I’ven’t given you cause to question my *courage*.
TOM: Mustn’t doubt it, really.
> There’s a plenty of other Raccoons
> in these woods
CROW: [ As Jasper ] I’ll find love with one of them instead!
> who’d be glad to know about those turkeys. And maybe
> they’d have the manners to say ‘Thank you!’ too."
TOM: Wait, why would the turkeys say thanks for having to meet Fatty?
> And with a hoarse,
> sneering laugh Jasper Jay flew away.
MIKE: [ As the devil from ‘The Undead’ ] ‘You’re stuck here!’
TOM: [ Getting it ] Ooooooooh, wait.
> That was enough for Fatty. He made up his mind that he would
> show Jasper Jay that HE was not afraid.
MIKE: He whips a can of spinach out of his tail.
CROW: [ Humming the Popeye fanfare ] Da-dadada-dah-dadah!
> And he wanted a turkey to eat,
TOM: [ As Citizen Kane ] ‘I think it would be *fun* to eat a turkey?’
> He said nothing to his mother about Jasper’s news.
CROW: Wait, you’re not getting the gang together for one last heist?
> But that very
> night, when the moon came up, and the lights in Farmer Green’s house
> were all out, Fatty Raccoon went stealing across the fields.
MIKE: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip ow a rock!
CROW: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip aaah the creek! Splash!
TOM: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip aaaaaaah the ravine aaaaaaaaaah!
> He was not afraid, for
MIKE: For the Angel of the Lord had spoken upon him.
> he knew that Farmer Green and all his
> family were in their beds.
CROW: The Angel said, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings and raw hot dogs’.
> And it was so cold that Fatty felt sure
> that Farmer Green’s dogs would be inside their kennels.
TOM: Awww, pups in a blanket, so cute!
> Fatty did not intend to make any noise.
CROW: Then he stepped on the clown nose.
> The turkeys were
> asleep—so Jasper Jay had told him—
MIKE: They nestle in after having a good game of Five Hundred with the neighbors and a small dish of pistachio ice cream.
> and he expected to grab one of them
> so swiftly and silently that the other turkeys would never know it.
TOM: [ As Narrator ] I mean, they’d know eventually, when they went looking for their friend and found him gone, but … look, I’ll come in again.
> When Fatty Raccoon came to Farmer Green’s yard he had no trouble
> at all in finding the spreading oak.
MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Found it!’
> He could see the turkeys plainly
> where they dozed on the bare branches.
TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Huh … uh yeah, turkeys. In trees. Wow.’
MIKE: ‘Man, and I thought peacocks in trees were something.’
> And in less time than it takes
> to tell it
CROW: Oh, never mind, it’s done.
> Fatty had climbed the tree. On the very lowest limb there
> was a row of four plump turkeys, all sound asleep.
TOM: [ Snoring in ]
MIKE: [ Snoring out ]
CROW: Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble.
> And Fatty reached
> out and seized the nearest one.
TOM: I seez him! He’s right dere!
> He seized the turkey by the neck,
> that the big bird could not call out.
TOM: Well, this just got less fun.
MIKE: Thanks, Arthur Scott Bailey, we needed a touch of ‘serial killer’ in this story.
> But Fatty was not quite quick
CROW: Man, predation is so much less cool when it’s not just lions running at antelopes and stuff.
> Before he could pull her off her perch the turkey began to
> flap her wings,
MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Wait, you’re reacting? You’re not allowed to react!’
> and she struck the turkey next her, so that THAT
> turkey woke up and began to gobble and flap HER wings. Then the next
> turkey on the limb woke up.
TOM: It’s a Rube Goldberg turkey roost!
CROW: It’s a 82-step process to butter a piece of toast.
> And the first thing that Fatty Raccoon knew,
> every one of the thirty-nine turkeys that were left was going
TOM: He knocked down ten, that’s a strike, knocked down another ten, that’s another strike, knocked down another ten …
CROW: That’s a turkey.
> And some of them went sailing off across
> the yard.
MIKE: Henry Cabot Henhouse!
CROW: That’s Super*chicken*!
> One of them lighted on top of the porch just outside Farmer
> Green’s window and it seemed to Fatty that that one made the greatest
> racket of all.
TOM: Ladies and gentlemen Ringing Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus brings you … the greatest racket of all!
MIKE: Eh, I’ve seen greater rackets.
> Farmer Green’s window flew up; and Farmer Green’s voice called
> "Spot! Spot!"
CROW: Stop bothering Lady Macbeth and chase that turkey thief!
> Fatty Raccoon did not wait to hear anything more. He dropped the
> turkey he had seized and slipped down to the ground.
TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Uh … no hard feelings, turkey?’
MIKE: [ As Turkey ] ‘Seriously?’
> And then he ran
> toward the woods as fast as he could go.
CROW: Just one more pleasant night wrecked by having Fatty show up in it.
> Farmer Green’s dog Spot was barking now. And Fatty wanted to
> climb one of the trees by the roadside. But he remembered, the narrow
> escape he had had when the dog had treed him near the cornfield. So he
> never stopped until he reached the woods.
TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Yes! That’s what I’m thinking! I totally didn’t miss the Turnpike!’
> Then he went nimbly up into
> the trees.
MIKE: So excited he climbs ten feet past the top of the tree.
> And while Spot was barking at the foot of the first tree he
> climbed, Fatty was travelling through the tree-tops toward home.
CROW: Ah, a good night’s work.
> He never said anything to his mother about Farmer Green’s
MIKE: His mom gets home saying she was going to grab a turkey but some fool went and unsettled them all.
> But the next time he saw Jasper Jay Fatty told him exactly
> what he thought of him.
TOM: Hey, this heist went wrong because of you, Fatty, don’t go blaming Jasper …
> "Ha! ha!" Jasper Jay only laughed.
CROW: Wait …
> And he did not seem at all
> surprised that Fatty had fallen into trouble.
MIKE: Hang on, yeah, did …
> To tell the truth, he
> was only sorry because Fatty had escaped.
TOM: I think … wait …
> Jasper Jay did not like
> Fatty Raccoon.
MIKE: It’s a third-act plot twist!
> And he had told him about the forty fat turkeys because he
> hoped that Fatty would get caught if he tried to steal one of them.
CROW: Jasper played Fatty! He played us all!
> "Wait till I catch you!" Fatty said.
TOM: You can’t hold on to a sleeping turkey, you think you’re grabbing a jay, Fatty?
> But Jasper Jay only laughed harder than ever when Fatty said
> that. He seemed to think it was a great joke. He was most annoying.
MIKE: I … *dang*.
CROW: Intrigue and subterfuge! I’m stunned.
TOM: Two characters in this chapter and now I don’t know which one to dislike more.
[ To be continued, someday ]