Popcorn and Caramel, the two turkeys currently in contention for a White House pardon, sat forlornly staring at each other.
ONLY ONE TURKEY CAN BE VICTORIOUS! blasted the press release. GO ON TWITTER TO INDICATE WHETHER YOU’RE ON #TEAMPOPCORN or #TEAMCARAMEL.
There they were, at the end of it. All those days of struggle against the turkey tributes from Districts 1 through 11, and there they sat, surrounded by gifts from their sponsors (a nice brine and some cranberry relish), squinting into the TV cameras. They had played the part for so long, accepting indignity after indignity to appeal to those in the Capital capable of determining their fates. Thanks to their tireless efforts, the official Web site now described Caramel as “a steady and deliberate bird that enjoys soybean meal and rocking out to Lady Gaga” and said of Popcorn that “when Popcorn is feeling peckish, he can’t stop snacking on his namesake, corn, and has been known to strut around to Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ ” even though neither of these factoids was, strictly speaking, accurate.
“It’s you, Caramel,” Popcorn said. “Go ahead. One of us should go home. One of us has to die. They have to have their victor.”
“No, they don’t,” Caramel replied, her wattles whipping in the wind. She was a courageous female turkey heroine, always capable of holding her own. She would have been good with a bow and arrow if she had had hands, but she didn’t. She was a turkey. “Why should they?”
Caramel found the stash of poisonous nightlock berries and brought them over to Popcorn very, very carefully, since she lacked opposable thumbs. Popcorn looked at her, baffled, but lovingly, the way he always looked at her, ever since that day back in District 12 when he had flung some meal her way. Then he realized what she had in mind.
“No!” Popcorn gasped.
“Trust me,” Caramel said. “Trust me.” Popcorn did. Popcorn always had. Popcorn was a very sweet turkey but he lacked survival skills. He basically followed Caramel around trying to do what she was doing, looking at her with the light of hope and affection in his eyes.
“Together?” Popcorn asked.
“Together,” Caramel answered.
They raised the berries to their beaks.