Tick Tock Turkey and the Mysterious Egg

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Turkey Egg By Michael Brett. Continuing the adventures of the scruffy time-traveling turkey (see The Disappearing Sandwich).

We return to Egg Island to answer the age-old question: which came first, the turkey or the egg? Future Dog and Jen Penguin solve the case of the mysterious egg, while Tick Tock Turkey goes in search of sea worms for his Lunchfast.

Read by Natasha. Duration 25 mintues

On a sunny but rather cool morning on Egg Island, Tick Tock Turkey was thinking about food, as usual. He flapped up and down the beach, squawking and muttering and looking crossly at the sundial, where the long thin shadow of a stone egg pointed out the time. Not far away, in the pleasant shade of a gently curving palm-tree, Future Dog quietly got on with her morning yoga, carefully balancing on her hind legs and tail, breathing deeply.

‘I can’t believe it’s only an hour since breakfast,’ said Tick Tock Turkey. ‘I’m so hungry, I know that can’t be the real time. My tummy says it’s definitely lunchtime, so that stupid sundial must be broken.’

Future Dog, who was very familiar with Tick Tock Turkey’s impatience, laughed.

‘Are you laughing at me?’ squawked Tick Tock Turkey. ‘The cheek. I’m about to starve to death because of a broken sundial and you think it’s funny.’

‘I’m not laughing because you’re hungry…’ Future Dog peered over her sunglasses. ‘Starving is never a laughing matter. Not when it’s real, anyway. I laughed because the sundial can’t be broken.’

Sun DialTick Tock Turkey flapped his feathers. ‘What do you mean? That sundial is slow! It’s not working! It’s wound down! Someone needs to wind it up! In fact, I don’t remember anyone winding it up ever. Or changing the battery, or anything.’

Future Dog eased into her next yoga position. She balanced on her head with her legs stretched out wide, her tail wagging elegantly from side to side. ‘Tick Tock Turkey,’ she said, calmly, ‘do you know how a sundial works?’

Tick Tock Turkey gobbled, a little offended. ‘Do I know how a sundial works? Do I? Well everyone knows how a sundial works don’t they? The big dark hand points to the time. It goes round, and you know what time it is. And that is how a sundial works.’

Future Dog carefully lowered herself from her headstand, stood up, let out a deep breath and said, ‘Tick Tock Turkey – the sun is bright and makes the shadow, the sun moves through the sky as the world turns around, and the shadow pteoints to different places as the day goes on. It doesn’t need to be wound up, it doesn’t need a battery, and it works as long as the sun keeps on rising and setting and moving across the sky. And that’s it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have yoga to do!’

With that, Future Dog rolled up her yoga mat and walked away up the beach.

‘Alright, keep your fur on,’ said Tick Tock Turkey. ‘I know about the sun. Everybody knows about the sun. And if this sundial is so brilliant then how come it stops working in cloudy weather? It’s a cheap one if you ask me. If Egg Island ever floats past a clock shop, we should get a new one.’

Future Dog paused for a moment, as if she was about to say something, but then carried on walking. She found a shady spot beneath a big turkey statue, unrolled her yoga mat in the sand, and carried on with her exercises.

‘Alright,’ said Tick Tock Turkey to himself, ‘so it’s not lunchtime yet. And it’s only an hour after breakfast, so it’s too early for brunch. No bother – I’ll have lunchfast. It’s never too early for lunchfast.’

Tick Tock Turkey scratched his tummy feathers with his wing and licked his beak with his tongue. ‘What do I fancy to eat? Hmm. Worms. Well, I had worms for breakfast. So that wouldn’t do. It’s not on to have the same meal twice. But I love worms so much. Hang on – those were earthworms that I ate earlier. There’s nothing to stop me having a different kind of worms for lunchfast. How about seaworms? Yes. I haven’t had seaworms for ages. That’ll do nicely!’

Tick Tock Turkey scrambled up the beach to his small nest by the edge of the jungle, pulled on his swimming trunks, and ran back down to the shore, gobbling and squawking excitedly at the thought of all those delicious, salty seaworms.

He was just about to dive into the frothy waves when he remembered something. ‘Oh yes,’ he said, ‘I mustn’t going swimming with the time watch on.’ He unbuckled the strap of his time-travelling watch and placed it carefully on a stone in the sand. ‘Future Dog says it’s not waterproof. She’d go mad if it got broken. Broken like that stupid sundial!’

Tick Tock Turkey chuckled, but not too loud – he didn’t want to spoil grumpy Future Dog’s yoga. ‘I should be careful anyway,’ he said, ‘after all, it is the only time watch in the world.’

Then Tick Tock Turkey took a deep breath and dived in.

He gave an enormous squawk, and jumped straight back out onto the beach. He stood there, his eyes popping out of his head, shivering, clicking his beak, with his feathers dripping cold seawater onto the hot sand.

‘W-what t-the egg?’ he gobbled. ‘It’s f-f-f-f-freezing!’

Future Dog heard Tick Tock Turkey’s cries right across the beach, and she casually strolled down to see what he was up to.

‘F-f-f-Future D-Dog,’ said Tick Tock Turkey, his beak looking a little bluer than usual, ‘t-the w-water’s so c-cold. I’ve n-never kn-nown it s-so c-c-cold!’

‘Hmm,’ said Future Dog. ‘I think Egg Island might be drifting southwards. Now we were already quite far south, if I remember correctly, so that would bring us into much colder water. That must be it.’

Future Dog looked out to sea and squinted through her sunglasses. ‘It also explains all those penguins swimming out there.’ She pointed to a few cheerful penguins splashing and diving not far from the beach. One of them was sitting on a little block of ice that floated in the water.

‘Penguins?’ said Tick Tock Turkey with a frown, ‘I didn’t spot them before.’

One of the penguins bobbed to the surface and waved. ‘Hey there!’ she called. ‘Welcome to the south! You two should come and try some of these seaworms, they’re delicious!’

Tick Tock Turkey was furious. ‘That is so not fair,’ he huffed. ‘Stupid penguins with their stupid warm coats that let them swim in freezing water. I hope the seaworms make them sick.’

‘That’s not nice,’ said Future Dog. ‘You know, Tick Tock Turkey, I went for a swim this morning before I started my yoga, and the water was lovely and warm then. We must have been much closer to the equator. It isn’t the penguins’ fault you missed out. And you know what they say – the early bird catches the seaworm!’ She smiled.

‘Very funny,’ said Tick Tock Turkey. ‘But I’m not having it! I’m not letting them have all the food. I’m not going to swim in cold water either. What to do?’ He scratched his head.

‘There’s nothing for it,’ he raised one wing high in the air, ‘I’m going to use the time watch!’

‘Here we go again,’ said Future Dog.

‘That’s right!’ said Tick Tock Turkey. ‘I’m going to go back in time, to when the water was still warm, and I’m going to gobble up all the salty seaworms I can find before those pesky penguins turn up.’

Future Dog sighed. ‘Very well. I suppose a turkey’s got to do what a turkey’s got to do. Just be careful. I’m going to play tennis with Blobert, so I won’t be around to help if you get into trouble.’

Tick Tock Turkey squawked. ‘Trouble? It’ll be easypeasy. And you’re playing tennis with Blobert? He’s just a blob. He can’t play tennis.’

Tennis Dog‘I’m giving him lessons,’ said Future Dog. ‘Anyway, just use the time watch carefully – don’t get it wet. We’ll see you later for lunch.’

‘Don’t hold your breath,’ said Tick Tock Turkey, fastening the watch on his wing, ‘I plan to have so much lunchfast I won’t be needing lunch. Not tea either, or dinner, or pudding or supper, or even bedtime bickies. I’m going to stuff myself enough for the whole day.’

As Future Dog wandered off to find Blobert for their tennis lesson, she heard behind her a very loud WHOOSH. There went Tick Tock Turkey, zooming into the past in search of a feast. And Future Dog had seen it all before.

Later that day, after the tennis lesson, after lunch, when Blobert had blobbed off somewhere else to do whatever it is that blobs do, Tick Tock Turkey was nowhere to be seen, or heard.

Future Dog was worried. It seemed that Tick Tock Turkey had gone into the past, and not come back.

‘Oh dear,’ she said. ‘I shouldn’t have left him on his own.’ She felt sorry that she’d laughed at him. But then he was a very silly bird. And now he could be stuck in the past, perhaps forever!

Future Dog hurried down to the seashore where she had last seen Tick Tock Turkey. There was no sign of him. She shuddered. Poor Tick Tock Turkey could be anywhere, and anytime! If he was too clumsy with the time watch, he could have gone back much too far. He could be in a prehistoric world being frightened by dinosaurs! Or, in his excitement, he could have wound the watch the wrong way altogether and ended up far in the future! Future Dog knew all about the future, but poor Tick Tock Turkey wouldn’t have a clue!

The penguins were still splashing around in the cold sea, gobbling their seaworms, and performing trick dives off their miniature iceberg.

‘Help!’ called Future Dog. ‘Did any of you see my friend earlier – the turkey?’

One of the penguins swam in to the beach and waddled up the sand.

‘Hello, I’m Jen,’ she said. ‘The turkey did you say? You mean that scruffy-looking bird? Oh sure, he fiddled around with a watch and then he vanished, whoosh, into thin air. Just like that. We all thought it was the weirdest thing.’

‘And he didn’t come back?’ asked Future Dog.

‘Nuh uh,’ said Jen Penguin, flapping her flippery wings. ‘He never did.’

‘Oh no,’ said Future Dog.

‘But we found this,’ said Jen. She stood aside to show a large white egg nestled in the sand. ‘It’s an egg. We’ve been playing wingball with it in the water. It’s not a penguin egg. It’s the wrong shape. I think it’s an octopus egg. Len Penguin over there thinks it’s a snake egg, and Sven Penguin thinks it’s a dog egg. What do you think?’

Future Dog looked at the egg. It was quite fresh. ‘It’s certainly not a dog egg, thank you very much. We don’t lay eggs. But where could it have come from?’

penguin‘Beats me,’ said Jen. ‘It wasn’t there, and then it was there. Weird.’

‘That is strange,’ said Future Dog.

‘Uh huh,’ said Jen. ‘Just like the turkey was there, and then he wasn’t there. Weird.’

‘Hmm,’ said Future Dog, thinking very hard.

‘It’s just like that old question,’ said Jen. ‘You know – what came first, the bird or the egg?’

‘Yes,’ said Future Dog, ‘it’s just like that. And in this case, the bird definitely came before the egg.’

‘Well,’ said Jen, ‘I don’t suppose you’d know about this, being a dog, but for us penguins, eggs and birds and eggs and birds tend to come one after another after another.’

‘I suppose that makes sense,’ said Future Dog, ‘but I can’t worry about that egg now. I need to find a way to get Tick Tock Turkey back!’

‘I couldn’t tell you how it all started, continued Jen, quite ignoring Future Dog’s concern. ‘I mean the very first bird or the very first egg. But from what my mum says, I know I began as an egg. You know, when I was little.’

’Eggs!’ said Future Dog, ‘That’s it!’ She slapped her forehead with her paw. ‘I think I know what happened!’

Jen Penguin flapped her flippers. ‘Go on, tell!’

‘Turkeys start as eggs - just like penguins,’ said Future Dog. ‘I thought my friend Tick Tock Turkey had gone back in time to this morning to eat seaworms, and never came back. And then this egg had appeared from nowhere. My conclusion is that Tick Tock Turkey never left!’

‘Nonsense,’ said the penguin. ‘You’re talking rubbish. This is why we penguins stay on the ice. Too much hot sun has driven you bonkers and you’ve gone dotty.’

‘Just bear with me,’ said Future Dog, ‘this sort of thing happens all the time round here. As I was saying, Tick Tock Turkey never left. He must have turned himself back into an egg.’

She pointed at the mysterious egg. ‘That is Tick Tock Turkey - before he was a chick. He hasn’t even hatched!’

Jen Penguin squinted at the egg, unconvinced. ‘Sounds daft to me,’ she said. ‘But just say it is true, then your turkey is going to have to grow up into a full grown bird all over again. What a drag!’

‘Tick Tock Turkey is trouble enough,’ said Future Dog. I can’t even imagine what bother a little Chick Tock Turkey could cause! Oh no. Poor Tick Tock Turkey is back in his egg and it’s all my fault. I never should have given him that watch in the first place!’

While they had been talking, the sun had been shining brightly on the egg in the sand. It had been getting warmer and warmer.

Then there was a quiet tap. Then again. Tap tap. And again. Tap tap tap. The tap tapping, so gentle at first, became louder and louder. Future Dog and Jen Penguin leaned in closely. They saw a small crack appearing in the shell. The crack got longer, and split into two cracks, and then three, until finally the shell chipped open and a tiny yellow beak poked through the hole.

The beak tapped at the edges of the hole and at last the shell cracked open. A very fluffy little turkey chick popped out onto the sand, chirping with a tiny voice.

‘It’s a boy!’ laughed Jen.

Future Dog looked down at Chick Tock Turkey and shook her head. ‘Dear me,’ she said.

Chick Tock Turkey waddled happily along the sand and pecked at Future Dog’s leg.

‘I think he likes you!’ said Jen.

‘But he’s just a baby,’ said Future Dog. ‘What a disaster.’

‘What’s that?’ Jen pointed her flipper to something lying in the broken eggshell.

Future Dog could just make out a red strap, and the dial of a watch. She barked in relief, ‘Thank goodness! It’s the time watch. We’ll have this fixed in no time!’

Future Dog took the time watch, fiddled with the button, and quickly strapped it onto Chick Tock Turkey’s little wing.

‘He must have put it on the wrong wing after his swim. That makes it work the other way – instead of travelling back in time, he made himself go backwards. Now keep clear – this is going to be noisy!’

Suddenly a cloud of sparks and light fizzed around the chick. There was a gust of wings and feathers and then a very loud SHOOWH!

And there stood Tick Tock Turkey, utterly befuddled.

‘What?!’ he squawked. ‘What happened? Where did I go? I dreamed I was inside a little warm room. Then it started bouncing around. Then there was a little crack of light. Then I was in an enormous sunny desert. And you, Future Dog, you were twenty feet tall. And there was a giant penguin! And other giant penguins swimming! And an enormous iceberg fifty feet high! What time is it? Where’s my lunchfast? My head! I’m so confused…’

‘I’ll explain it later,’ said Future Dog. I think you’re going to need a few more lessons on how to use the time watch.’

‘I was in such a hurry to get my seaworms,’ said Tick Tock Turkey, ‘I think I might have put it on the wrong wing.’

‘Well, it’s good to have you back,’ said Future Dog.

‘Even though you never left!’ said Jen Penguin.

‘Who are you?’ squawked Tick Tock Turkey.

‘I’m Jen Penguin. Now, if you’re such a big fan of seaworms that you’d turn yourself into an egg and back, then Len, Sven and I will catch you all the lunchfast you can eat! And you won’t have to go into the cold water.’

‘That’ll do nicely,’ said Tick Tock Turkey, and he sat back in the sand. ‘Serve it up!’

Read by Natasha Gostwick Duration 25 minutes.