Free on the Range.

The men threw me in the trunk of a car. I thought they would kill me, they squeezed me so hard. Then it was dark, bumps and… (reading time 3 minutes)

Story and Images by Icarus Blake

On the range. Morning.

Do you remember your parents?

Vaguely. They took them away when I was a few months old. I just have a vague memory of warmth, and dark, lots of dark all around.

Who took them away?

The men. They were bringing food every day, and water. One day, they took mom and dad without saying a word. They were screaming, I remember those screams. Not much else.

When did you get to the range? I don’t remember seeing you off the trucks.

The men threw me in the trunk of a car. I thought they would kill me, they squeezed me so hard. Then it was dark, bumps and strange noises. I think I fell asleep and when they opened the trunk… I was at the range. Like paradise compared to the prison. I ran around like crazy and kept away from the buildings. Then I went over the hill and saw all of you chilling out in the grass. I hoped my mom would be there, but, honestly, I would not recognize her. That is probably when you saw me the first time.

Yes, I thought you were so skinny. And funny, like from a different tribe than us here. I think it’s when I fell in love with you. You looked brave. Different. Not like these other guys around here. They’re scared of the men. You go up to them instead, and look them in the eye, I like that. They fear you, I’ve seen them back up and talk to each other when you do that. I wish I spoke their language to know what they’re saying.

I just hate them. Really. Always the same food, and they are so abusive. And you, do you remember your parents?

I do. They were big and strong. They had fights, but I guess it’s part of love. But they got taken away too. Nobody gets old enough to die here. I wonder, maybe they move the adults to a different camp.

Watch out, here they come. Hey, no, not me please. They’re taking me, I love you. I love you so much. I’m so scared. No, no, don’t fight, let them take me. They’ll kill you.

Two men. Interior van.

Let’s go Joe. We’re late.

Yea, I know, just checking we got all the big ones. Boy, that last one was feisty. Did not wanna go, and his friend there was nipping at me. They get nasty when they grow so big.

You think they know?

I’d like to think they don’t. But some of them start hanging out together after a while. Like they make friends. It’s strange. In the end I think they just fear us. They can’t know nothing.

We should ask for more money. This is a terrible job. They are hard to catch. They stink.

Well, yea, it’s just before Thanksgiving that it gets bad. Nobody cares about free range Turkeys during the year. Most of them get sliced and packaged at the factory. These guys here are the lucky ones. They get to live outside for a bit. I don’t feel bad for them, they have it better than most Turkeys.


The Range House

The Range House


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