The Donald

One of the miracles in our neighborhood is a sensational little world-class Japanese restaurant in the middle of nowhere. The food is all locally sourced – organic of course – and unbelievably delicious.

Apart from one table inside all the others are on the grass surrounded by bush and rainforest.   The owners are young and hip and sport stunning head wear. The kitchen is microscopic and the wait can be longish.

But there’s always plenty to entertain while you salivate.  On weekends there is a band and the rest of the time there is the Brush Turkey, a weird prehistoric-looking thing that is indeed some remnant dinosaur, dashing past on his way to presumably meeting another brush turkey.

But she’s gotta be hot! Literally.

That is to say the nest – or mound – he builds for her must be a perfect temperature or she will soon find herself a better man.  His mound must be bigger and more impressive than anyone else’s.

He is the Donald Trump of turkeys.  Only better looking.

The MacMansion he spends his waking hours constructing can be up to 13 feet across and 3 feet high. It is made from leafy stuff which he will keep adding or removing plants from until he has achieved a constant 95 degree temperature.  Only then will he bring his date home.

Once she lays her eggs in a hole a couple of feet down Donald will guard them and then leave them to hatch on their own and scramble their way to the surface.

You aren’t allowed to eat these turkeys. They’re protected. Unlike the poor old kangaroos which are available vacuum packed in the market. Despite its ultra-lean and healthy reputation this red meat hasn’t really caught on. The old TV show SKIPPY – THE BUSH KANGAROO about a problem-solving roo which we all grew up on has made it seem a bit indecent. You wouldn’t eat Rin Tin Tin after all.

The turkey, once almost hunted to extinction, became a very shy lad. Now protected, their numbers have gone ballistic and their brazenness knows no bounds. Any old backyard garden will serve nicely for a mound made from whatever happens to be lying around. Your bikini. The tent.

Urban ecologist Darryl Jones, an authority on the bizarre bird says that once a turkey has chosen your garden for his nest “it’s just about impossible to get rid of the guy. He has decided that’s where he’s going to put his precious mound, which is the most important thing in his world, and nothing will dissuade him. It happens all the time. People say ‘I’m sick to death of that bloody bird’, so they spend back-breaking hours spreading it all back out again. Next morning they wake from their exhausted sleep to find it all back in place.”

Yeah, Fuck You.

Among the new arrivals for lunch is a man on a horse.  I expect him to tether it to the rope that surrounds the dining area but instead he rides it right in among the tables and ties it to a chair. The Japanese owners come out at this strange sight and stand watching it from the steps. They may well have never seen a horse in a sushi bar before.

I expect them to ask the rider to please take it out. But when they approach him they are carrying a plate of food – for the horse.

All very well – but hey, we were here first!    mound turkey

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