Tom Turkey goes to Therapy with the Little Red Hen
Setting: Doctor Little Red Hen’s office
Characters: Doctor Little Red Hen, Tom Turkey
Dr. Hen: Welcome Tom! Try to make yourself at home. There’s some crickets and corn there on the desk if you feel hungry, and a box of nosewipes there on the lamp table should you feel the need to blubber.
Tom Turkey: Ththththank you, Ddddoctor Hen. Ggguuubbbllllmmm.
DH: Try to control your wattle, it’s making kind of a pornographic sound. Why are you so nervous? I have never intentionally harmed a patient.
TT: Oh, it’s not you, Doctor. Gggooooobbbbble, urk.
DH: Oh, you poor thing. Lookie there, you’re shaking like a leaf, your feathers are falling out, dropping like snow all over the furniture. Buuugaaak! Now calm the hell down, you’re making a mess of my Antoinette loveseat!
TT: Sssssooory, ma’am, but I’mmmmm…I’m just consumed with irrational fears and I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, and…..
DH: Go on, son. Nothing to fear here.
TT: I keep having this horrible recurururrrring nightmare.
TT: Okay, Doctor Hen, this isn’t easy, you see, I’ve never been off the farm before and I think Farmer Joe may be looking for me.
DH: You’re safe here Tom, (she reaches out to pull open her desk drawer revealing a Smith & Wesson 357 Magnum revolver) Farmer Joe won’t try any funny business here. Now, tell me about the recurring dreams.
TT: Okay, in the dream, I’m very warm, like being suntanned, and lying on the beach all shiny and brown…Ummm, sniff.
DH: That sounds rather pleasant. A beach vacation is always nice.
TT: Oh no, Doctor Hen, this is no vacation! I look down and my feet are missing! My feathers are gone! Goooobbblllllle! Guuuccckk! Sniff. And…And down there, between my legs is, gulp, DELICIOUS SMELLING STUFFING WHERE MY GUTS SHOULD BE! Ooohhh! This is so awful. And I’ve had this nightmare every night for the last month. How Doctor, how do I make these irrational fears go away?
DH: Okay, kid. Let’s get a couple of things straight. First, no self-diagnosing. You pay me big bucks for an hour of my time because I’m an expert in the arena of mental health, so I will offer you a diagnosis. Second, you DO realize you are a turkey, a tom turkey, right?
TT: Umm, yes.
DH: Then, if you fully understand the implications of being a tom turkey, there is nothing unusual about the situation. You’re quite normal, the nightmares are to be expected. Anything else?
TT: Uh, Please Doctor Hen, no offense. I just thought that horrible recurring dreams about being cooked golden brown, oiled and stuffed, might be based on irrational fears, you know, like having Roastaphobia.
DH: There are rational fears, and irrational fears, also known as phobias. Trust me, I have a fear of Phil Collins music and there is nothing irrational about that! You made the Roastaphobia thing up. There’s no such thing. You are an ordinary turkey simply going through some psychological stress as you sense your ignominious death approaching. Soon Farmer Joe will chop off your head, pull out your guts, scald you, pluck you, place your most tasty innards back inside your body cavity, stuff and roast you, and you will end up as the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving table. Your fear of death is not irrational, it’s inevitable. Well then, is there anything else? Look at the time! You could save a hundred dollars if you leave now.
TT: No, nnoooo! Ppplease Doctor Hen. There has to be more, so much more to life. Please!
DH: Okay, but you cannot make up fake phobias. Do you understand?
TT: Yeyeyes ma’am. Gobbbbbllllle. You see, I came to you because I heard your story, how you built up an empire from the modest resources of a farm. How you worked hard, and became the world’s most successful baker. You escaped! You found something better than the farm, and ignominious death at the hands of a butcher!
DH: Lighten up kid. I hate drama. Farmer Joe’s just doing what farmers do. You were born on the turkey farm, you’ve lived there your entire life, and you never tried to solve the existential problem of being a turkey until now, on the eve of your demise. Why do you suddenly reject your established social construct? Why the change of heart? Hmm….Sooo, tell me about life on the turkey farm.
TT: Well, Farmer Joe gives all of us turkeys a place to live, he brings the same food everyday. He tells us when we can get out of the pen and take a walk, which is problematic because some of the turkeys look up when it rains and drown themselves. Those guys are so declasse!
DH: Fascinating…(she writes a note to herself)…expansive vocabulary.
TT: Hu? Anyway, we all get used to being taken care of, you know. Most turkeys don’t want to leave the farm because they never have to work for their support. Farmer Joe just houses us, feeds us, tells us what to do, and, since you told me what happens to turkeys at Thanksgiving time, it is apparent that he also murders us. My change of heart about living within the confines of a totalitarian agricultural collective I suppose, comes from my fear of a bleak and meaningless end. The thought of giving up is intolerable. I have dreams, real dreams.
DH: Well, Tom, it does seem that you’re not an ordinary turkey. After all, you did manage to get past Farmer Joe, and you found your way to my office. That’s impressive. By the way, I love that cashmere Jacket. Is that Gucci?
TT: Why yes it is. (sits up straight and brushes the feathers off his jacket). Thank you. Ahhh, Doctor Hen. You see, already I’m feeling better. My wattle is no longer flapping uncontrollably! You’ve really hit on something. Is this what you would call a breakthrough?
DH: Down boy! I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but the existential problem remains that you are a turkey and tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
TT: But Doctor Hen, just like you when you were a Spring Chicken on the farm, harvesting wheat, baking bread, building a money-making colossus, I have dreams too. I don’t just have bad dreams. I have dreams of greatness. I have big, BIG dreams.
DH: Okay kid, we have fifteen minutes. Tell me about your big dreams.
TT: Well, I’ve always liked choochoos.
DH: God bless you!
TT: No, I mean trains, like the ones that pass by at night, down by the river. I love those trains. I always dreamed of having my own railway. I would call it Tom Turkey Transcontinental.
DH: (Thoughtfully) Do you fly?
TT: Hell no! I’m a turkey!
DH: No, I mean, on airplanes.
TT: Well, no. This is the first time I’ve ever left the farm, Doctor. Why do you ask?
DH: Bug, bug, bugaawwk. Thanksgiving is a time to do good things, give others something to be thankful for. Maybe, just maybe, I can give you something to be thankful for. Buuugawk.
TT: Gobbble, gulp. You would do something….nice….for me?
DH: I know this place, it’s hidden from the world….in Colorado.
TT: Uh huh.
DH: Gobbler’s Gulch. It’s where turkeys with dreams go. There are just a few brilliant turkeys there; inventors, industrialists, artists, Capitalists like me. Since most turkeys are idiots I believe the rare turkeys with brains AND big ideas deserve something better than the farm, I just might make this happen for you.
TT: Oh thank you Doctor Hen, that would be wonderful.
DH: I will have to make some phone calls. But we have very little time. You will have to leave on an airplane tonight, after this session. John Gobbler will be your contact. He will fly you to Gobbler’s Gulch.
TT: You mean, I will never have to go back to the farm? But what about a place to live, my three square meals a day, free medical?
DH: BUUUUGGGAAAWWK! Bugggaaaaaak. Are you freaking kidding me? Really? One more time, Tom. The farm is a prison. Farmer Joe takes care of you, yes, but you will never have anything more than feed corn and straw. Your moron friends will still drown themselves in the rain. And then YOU DIE! If you get cold feet now, you will be dead by morning.
TT: I’m beginning to see now. I existed on the farm, but I was never really alive. Yes, I understand. I want to live, REALLY LIVE! Gobbler’s Gulch, here I come!
DH: Atta boy! Now Tom, there is one hitch. Farmer Joe is still looking for you, he doesn’t want to let you go. We need to take precautions just in case you cross paths with him. It’s important he doesn’t recognize you.
TT: Do you mean, I need a disguise?
DH: Better than that, hypnosis.
DH: Relax, I’m just going to make you believe that you’re something other than a turkey. It’s temporary.
TT: Goooble. Okay, let’s do it.
DH: Sit back. Close your eyes, calm your mind. Breathe deeply and let it out. Again. Now…repeat after me, “I am the Walrus.”
TT: Uhh…I am the..what the hell did you say?
DH: Shhhh! Do you want to live or die? Once more, turkey, time is almost up. Now say it, “I am the Walrus.”
TT: I…am…the Walrus.
DH: Again, “I am the Walrus.”
TT: I am the Walrus.
DH: Good job Tom. Who are you?
TT: I am the Walrus.
DH: And what does the Walrus say?
TT: Koo, Koo, ka choob.
DH: God bless you!
TT: (triumphantly) KOO, KOO, KA CHOOB!
DH: Happy Thanksgiving, Tom! Enjoy your life in Gobbler’s Gulch. Say hi to John Gobbler for me! (to herself) Man, I miss that beautiful turkey, John Gobbler.
by Marjorie Haun 11/27/2013