7: THE TURKEY SHOOT CAPER

Long about now, with it approaching late, late autumn, Spanakopitus decided to put on a turkey shoot. He bought a great many turkeys and hams which, being wealthy, he could well afford, and he invited the Zom to attend and bring their beer and their very fine brandy, with which he was well impressed, and he put up signs all over town inviting everybody to bring their antique firearms and attend this celebratory event--Bang!opolis, too, for Spanakopitus was in an expansive mood.

Bang!opolis protested that he had no firearms, only his thunderbolts; could he please use them? Spanakopitus allowed as how that would be all right, since people would be shooting at paper targets, and no real damage would be done.

So the whole town turned out. All the Spanakopiti came, and all the Zom, and the DrizzleMasters and the Venturi--everybody except the TrailMaster, who was still away in other parts. Everybody brought their muzzleloaders and flintlocks and cannon. And Bang!opolis arrived in his Cosmic Harley, with a very large sidecar attached.


Preparing the Muzzleloader

After the first few volleys it became apparent that Bang!opolis would outgun the lot of them. He threw bolts at the hanging targets and they fell. He threw bolts at the moving targets and they tumbled. He threw bolts at the way far distant paper turkey targets that popped up for just a short time, and they collapsed. And with each volley he collected his prize turkey or his prize ham and he stowed it in his sidecar, until the Cosmic Harley was totally full.

There was great consternation among the people and many complaints, for nobody else was scoring at all.

"It's not fair," grumbled the Zom. "He's winning all the prizes and we aren't having any fun."

"It's not fair," grumbled the Spanakopiti. "We have families to feed, but he lives all alone. Why should he get all the meat?" So they petitioned Spanakopitus to make Bang!opolis stop using thunderbolts.

But Spanakopitus, though slightly devious, was a man of honor, and he said, "Well, that was the bargain, and I won't change it now."

"Then let us have thunderbolts, as well," said the others.

So Spanakopitus asked Bang!opolis if that could be arranged, but Bang!opolis staunchly refused, saying, "They are not qualified. They have neither been instructed nor certified in the use of such weapons. No. Absolutely not." And he set about knocking off the few remaining targets and swooped up the last of the turkeys and the hams and stuffed them in his overflowing sidecar and rumbled off in a great hurry.

Nobody saw him drive through town.

Nobody saw him pull up at the back of the Salvation Army.

Nobody saw him unload all the turkeys and the hams and leave with a great big grin.

The next morning, the captain of the Salvation Army arrived to open the place. Finding all the turkeys and the hams, he threw up his hands in wonder and said,"Halleluyah! We can feed every poor person in the land! But who in the world can we thank for all this bounty?" And remembering the advertising signs Spanakopitus had put up, he went to the source for information.

"We have received a most wondrous donation from a completely anonymous source," the captain said, "and maybe you know whom we can thank?"

"Ah, yes," said Spanakopitus, "that would be a load of turkeys and hams, correct?"

"Exactly."

"And no name was left?"

"None."

"Then whoever left them did not wish to be acknowledged for his generosity?"

"Apparently not."

"I haven't the faintest idea," said Spanakopitus, with his fingers crossed behind his back. And then and there his opinion of Bang!opolis improved considerably. It just goes to show you, he thought. No matter how bad you might think someone is, there is always a bit of good about him.

8: The Visitors
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