He has a daily routine of standing in front of oncoming traffic, keeping commuters from their jobs working for the man. When the morning rush is over, he disappears into the woods and then returns around 4 o'clock for more of the same. A regular Public Enemy Number One.
He is a wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, whose gastroliths in his gizzard make him physiologically capable of swallowing and digesting danger, whose bitterness toward everything in general makes him an agent of chaos in a world controlled by money and power in the hands of the few who know that for each minute the commuters are late for work, this turkey has robbed them.
This earned him the admiration of locals, who know the value of their time, and thus named him by adding the honorific Mr. to the front of what he does. Gobbles. Mr. Gobbles.
But his disregard for authority drew the ire of government agencies, and no one thought to question why? Could it have been that he lost his beloved mother as a fledgling? That his father believed in the adage "spare the stick and spoil the chick"? That his upbringing among an encroaching urban environment could do nothing but leave him feeling trapped and rebellious? Could it have been that he was drawn to Johnnycake by the outlaw example of no less than Gentleman Johnnie Dillinger?
Officials from the Ohio Wildlife Division make several attempts at catching the turkey. Six or seven Wildlife workers try, but all fail. "It won't let us surround it," they say. “He’s clever.”
An ODNR officer puts a large dog cage filled with bird feed at the end of a driveway. Police reports are made. A shoot to kill directive is ordered. Within two days, the turkey is gone and does not return. "It's like he knew we were trying to get him," they say.
Rumors brood that Mr. Gobbles is locked up in Lima. A wildlife official says he can't confirm whether the turkey is still alive. Yet one eye-witness claims to have seen someone fitting his description: Wings dark and boldly barred with white. A bronze-green iridescence to his plumage. Tail feathers broadly tipped with rust. A bare head and neck that varies from red to blue to gray. Turkey. The witness says Mr. Gobbles was standing defiantly on one leg in front of the Biograph Theater in Chicago. Standing with a woman of low moral character, who wore a red dress.