Thanksgiving Burgers

Write about the only time you hosted Thanksgiving. Start with the line, “For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store,” and end your story with “And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.”

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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117 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Burgers

  1. zannawrites

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. I had just finished paying for the monstrosity and all the fixings when the security alarms at the front of the store went off. I didn’t pay much attention and started to leave the checkout line when it went off again. Confused and a little annoyed at the noise, I turned around. Security was wrestling a guy to the ground and the four or five employees around him were waving the customers away, telling them to go through the other door. The mass started shuffling over when the alarms on the other side of the store went off. I sighed and hefted the turkey under my other arm. It was cold and heavy and my arm was getting numb. The third alarm was simply caused by a little kid wanting some candy and putting it in the bag without her mother noticing. Relieved, I headed to the doors. I got out the door and did a little happy dance, as well as I could with a 15 pound turkey in my arms. Finally reaching my car, I felt in my pocket for the keys and felt my heart sink as found nothing in my pockets but my receipt. The turkey was starting to defrost in the Kansas heat and it was slipping and becoming mushy under my arm. I tried not to gag as I put it on the roof of the car to search my other pocket. I sighed, relieved to have found them, and got in the car and turned the ignition. I hit reverse and zoomed out of the parking lot, eager to get home. I looked at the passenger seat to gaze at my prize, but I had to do a double take when I saw the seat was empty. I’d left it on the roof! I rushed out to check if it could possibly still be there but to my horror, I saw it in the parking lot, just behind my space. Defeated and hungry, I stopped at McDonald’s and picked up dinner. And that’s why we’re having hamburgers tonight.

  2. Kat_Seeley

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. My boyfriend has asked me to host his family this year, and I agreed, hoping he would finally pop that stupid question. Aaron, my boyfriend, had a mother. Oh boy, did he have a mother. She was nit-picky, rude, and stubborn to boot. His father was an all around easy-going guy, which really makes you wonder why he married her. Love is strange though. After all, it was the reason I went hunting down that damn turkey.

    I had spent an hour asking the store clerk where their biggest turkey was. He wasn’t much use, and he seemed to be higher than a kite in Mary Poppins, so I let him be and went searching myself. That proved to be no good either, since I was as scrawny as could be and couldn’t move the other turkeys to look underneath. I ended up calling Aaron.

    “Honey, I can’t find the right turkey. You said the biggest one, right?” I asked. He always said his parents ate way too much meat for their own good, so they ought to like a giant turkey.

    “Yep. As big as you’n get. I imagine they’re towards the bottom. As Ralph from the deli. He’ll help you, Val.”

    He was right, so I had gone to ask Ralph, “Hey Ralph!”

    “Hey, little Valerie. Can I get you some of that honey seared ham again?” he asked, already going to grab it. I shook my head. Pointing to the turkeys nearby I gave him a look that really said it all. He laughed at my silent charade of weakness.

    Slapping his towel over his shoulder, Ralph walked from behind the counter, “Little Val, always so weak. C’mon, Valerie, lets get that turkey.”

    Finally, I had left the market, turkey, cranberry sauce and marshmallows in hand and started to work in the kitchen. Aaron eventually got home and began to help me. We pulled out the innards and stuffed the turkey, sprinkled the marshmallows over the sweet potato and sliced the cranberry sauce.

    Eventually it was all ready, and Aaron’s parents finally arrived. His mother was a stern and severe looking as always, with her hair pulled back in a bun that would have pulled my hair from my temples. His father gave me a hug and a light pat on the back.

    “Good to see you, Val.”

    “Valerie.” His mother stated. I smiled smugly.

    “Come sit down, mother. It’s all ready. Val has been cooking all day. I’m sure it will be delicious.” Aaron said, trying to ease the tension. His mother sat, her eyebrows raised.

    She placed her napkin in her lap and inhaled, “Its looks and smells very good, actually,” she spoke, surprised by her own words. “However, Aaron, your father and I recently have tried being vegetarians and I really don’t think we should eat any of this at all. In fact, your father and I were going to ask you two if you would care to join us at the met ball this evening instead.” I huffed angrily.

    “Aaron. This is my last straw. I’m leaving. You can go with your parents but if you want to have a future with me, I suggest you have a little chat with your mother about manners.” I stated, more upset than angry.

    I ran out of the apartment and out to the corner of the block, in front of a burger joint.

    Aaron found me a short few minutes later, “Valerie, I’m sorry. My mother is a mess. I love you, and I want to be with you. I was actually going to propose tonight while my parents were there, but they obviously need to not be a part of such a special moment. Will you marry me?” I embraced him happily, this time.

    “Yes!” I had almost screamed.

    He handed me my ring and pointed to the burger joint, “Hungry?”

    And that’s why we ate burgers.

  3. leoshock

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. It was a magnificent, 20 pound trophy which wouldn’t fit in our fridge. Judy went on a tirade, of “I told you so’s,” and finished our weekly screaming match with a chorus of (all together) “I told you so.” I smiled through the entire fight, and tried my best to be a good hubby. Why? Because she was right of course. The headless, featherless monstrosity wouldn’t fit in our fridge let alone our regulation suburban-sized oven. I laughed at myself openly while she yelled, but eventually we were both laughing at the absurdity of the entire situation. We’d grown up watching countless dramas and sitcoms do the “First Thanksgiving” episode, and it was always a disaster. Together we realized that everything was going to be terribly imperfect and it would be just like watching our favorite shows as teenagers. Oddly enough the laughter and mutual amazement at tired cliche in which we found ourselves was a lovely aphrodisiac; we made love that afternoon for the first time since the kids had gone back to school. It was amazing, after an hour or two of going at it like college students in a squeaky dorm bed, we both realized how many things could go wrong the next day when all our friends and family came over, and we laughed again thinking of ways to make it even more absurd just to have something to laugh at and drink to and think back on fondly.
    We decided later to the store together and pick out a turkey that would actually fit in our appliances. By the time we peeled ourselves away from the bed, it was almost nine O’clock, which meant that my mom and dad would be home at any minute with our kids, and Judy hadn’t had a chance to make up the guest bedroom. We hurried to get dressed–an act which completed the portrait of a middle-aged married couple rediscovering their youth together–and worked for the next quarter of an hour on the guest room until the doorbell rang.
    After tucking the kids, Judy and I were still feeling funny and sexy and energetic. She suggested we do something we hadn’t done since we were first married and kill an entire bottle of wine in front of the fireplace. So we did. The excess of wine, after not having more than a single glass with dinner for God knew how many years made us both fall into a very deep sleep on the couch. When we were awoken by my parents, both of whom had very confused looks on their faces, asked what was going on. Judy had an initial, “Oh shit” reaction when she realized the time, but when our eyes met it turned once more into laughter. We’d completely forgotten to cook a turkey, or anything. And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  4. Mr.Philip

    Thanksgiving Catastrophe

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. I wanted to impress my guests with my glorious feast, but as you will see, the whole ordeal turned out a little different than I expected.
    It was 4:00 in the afternoon. I was at home by myself (thankfully), and I had been working for a hour already, but I still had food to cook, bake, microwave, etc. I hurriedly rushed around the kitchen, throwing this or that into various bowls, knowing that I had an hour and a half before my guests came. I turned on the gas stove, and opened the oven door. It quickly flew open, and landed on my toes. I jumped up in the air with a shout, and made some unnecessary comment about “what would possess a person to make a 200 pound oven door.” I limped over to the oven with no small amount of self-pity, and put the rolls and the potato casserole in. I then tried to mix the filling for the pumpkin pie, but it took so long that I decided to just throw it into the blender and whir it up. “After all, I only have an hour and a half,” I said to myself. Unfortunately, I forgot to put the lid on, and I splattered pumpkin pie filling everywhere. I quickly got the ingredients to make some more out, without even turning off the blender. I whirred it up (with the lid on this time) and poured it out onto the crust, setting it to the side for that time.
    After finding an empty space on the counter for the cookbook, I consulted it for the turkey. It said to soak it in a tub of salty water overnight (which I had already done), and then to slather it with butter, stuff it, and roast it at 350 degrees for three hours. I wiped the pumpkin off the clock. It was now 4:15. “I won’t have enough time!” I thought. “I know, I’ll just put it in at 450 degrees instead of 350 degrees, and pull it out sooner.” Of course, this would mean I needed to pull everything out sooner than usual, but I assured myself that I was great at the art of estimation, and that I would get everything out in time.
    While I was compiling the stuffing for the turkey, I was busy congratulating myself for my hard work and imagining how impressed my guests would be. But soon my brain wandered back to business. As I put the turkey in the oven, I glanced at the clock again. It was now 4:30.
    I needed some sugar for the sweet tea, and some salt for the green beans. I strode across the kitchen, and grabbed the ingredients, quickly looking at the cookbook again to check my measurements. Just then, the phone rang. I hurriedly threw the contents of one of the containers into the tea, and the other container into the beans. I then ran back across the kitchen, upsetting a trash can and falling over myself. However, I grabbed the phone and said with a calm voice:
    “Hello, may I ask who is calling?”
    “Oh hey Phil, It’s me, George.”
    “Yes?”
    “Oh, I was wondering if we could come a little early. There’s not much to do in town, and I thought that maybe we could help you out with getting dinner ready.”
    “I don’t need any of your help,” I replied, and then, correcting my tone, I said, “But you could come a little early if you wish.”
    “Okay, thanks. I’ll be by your house at 5:00.”
    “Okay, bye.”
    I reeled back in astonishment. Now they were coming to the house in less than thirty minutes! Then it hit me: the house! I hadn’t cleaned up yet!
    I quickly shoved all of the living room debris under the couches. Then I dusted off the mantelpiece with my potholder I was still holding, and nearly choked on all of the dust it distributed.
    I then swept the floor, but as I was doing so, I smelled smoke coming from the kitchen.
    “Oh no!” I shouted. “I burned the rolls!”
    Sure enough, a dozen blackened rolls were smoking up my oven. I quickly pulled them out, and , as the trash can was full, I threw them out the window.
    Just then the smoke alarm went off, making me jump. I ran over and turned it off, pulled everything out of the oven except for the turkey, put the pie in, and collapsed on the couch exhausted.
    “Well, I guess I’d better set the table,” I thought to myself, and I started placing dishes, napkins, glasses, and silverware on the table. By this time it was 4:45.
    I set most of the food on the table at this point. I mixed the tea, and tasted it. To my surprise, it tasted rather salty. So I poured it out and made some more, being careful not to confuse ingredients this time.
    I decided it was time to pull out the turkey, so I carried it out of the oven, filling the room with the smell of gas. I took no notice, however, and set the glorious-looking turkey onto the table. I thought that the turkey looked rather stiff, though, and after several unsuccessful attempts to stab it with a fork, I proved my opinion. But I didn’t take much notice of that, either. I was too busy thinking of how proud I would be when my guests came, and how amazed they would be of my luxurious dinner.
    By now almost everything was ready. It looked like I might make it in time after all. “I need some candles to top it all off,” I said, and I went to get some. After finally finding them in the garage, I lit them and went through back through the kitchen to place them on the table. Just then I heard a car pull up, my guests were here!
    But I smelled more smoke from the oven, and I noticed that the smell of gas was stronger than ever. I threw it open, causing the oven door to drop on my foot again!
    “Yyeeouch!” I exclaimed, and I accidentally threw the candles up into the air, and by some unlucky chance one happened to fly into the oven-
    KABOOM!
    The explosion sent me off my feet and into the dining room table, crashing it and all of the food on it into pieces. I clumsily climbed (much shaken) out of the heap I was in, and surveyed the scene.
    All of the food that I had spent hours to make was splattered grotesquely across the walls, floor, and ceiling. The glasses and plates were shattered into millions of smithereens. The table was in a very sorry state. I was standing in a large pile of thanksgiving wreckage.
    The oven was ejecting so much smoke that the only thing I could see of the kitchen was the flames in the background. Even the chandelier was laying on the ground, completely broken. All of my cooking utensils were either broken or on fire. That’s when the power went out.
    Somehow in all of the turmoil I managed to call the fire department. They were able to extinguish the fire, but not before my guests came in. They found me hiding in the back room closet.
    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  5. gamingtheblues

    A bit late but I hope someone still reads it!

    To whom it may concern,

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the largest turkey in the store. It was exciting and terrifying at same time. All that responsibility, all the attention and focus and family. Family. Even as a teenage boy I wanted my own family. Kids. A house with a fireplace and a wife.

    I wanted a wife who would understand me and accept me in all my eccentricies. No…more than a wife really. A partner. When other boys were comparing who they were sleeping with or who they were trying to sleep with, I was picking the names of my future kids out of parenting books.

    I digress though. I walked into the “good” grocery store down the street. You know the one. Organic apples proudly displayed at 4.99 per pound, fifteen dollar stuffed animals and hemp t-shirts. My family was not going to get thanksgiving from a box, or a can, or…from animal factories… they deserved…deserve better than that.

    I asked for the manager, no going to the counter for me. Not this day. I slipped him a hundred dollar bill and asked for the largest turkey in the building. Something special. I don’t think I begged. No. I Demanded. Well, regardless, he looked at me a long moment and took me into the back.

    Red Ribbons adorned the moist plastic wrapping the flesh of the bird. Part of the manager holiday bonus. Appreciation and keeping hours down and the whole nine yards. Honey suckled, greased, and succulent. I paid him an additional three hundred dollars for the case of cigars that had come with the bird. It seemed appropriate.

    Emily was such a sweet girl. She grew up in a small town. Traditional values, clear blue eyes and gold in her hair. For her I went all out this thanksgiving. Family was so important to her. So important. When the boys were born, she glowed. Her eyes held the warmth and heart of a thousand Christmas candles, she… Well. She is my everything. I never deserved someone and always felt like I held her back from being the special she deserved to be. So for Thanksgiving…I would give her special. I owed her that much.

    Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, Mashed potatoes, gravy, love, carrots and peas, turnips and squash, heart, turkey, dumplings, sweet corn, candles, silk napkins and Egyptian cotton table cloth (Red and smooth with the little ruffles at the edges) rope, pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie, coffee, cheesecake and cookies, Placemats. Serving platters and trays, little plates and forks, knives and spoons. Puddings. Chairs. Little highchairs… empty.. All are empty and all this food. The candles are burning lower…puddling on the silk. Turkey fat congealing and … Emily…my sweet Emily beckoning me and she’s crying…or I’m crying… Its hard to tell who misses the other more and I am ready for thanksgiving.

    I am thankful for the love I have had. Thankful for the beautiful children who were with me and my heart so briefly. I am Thankful for my Emily and thankful most for the chance to see my family once again.

    Please though, if you find the dinner in time, sit. Eat. It was bought with good intentions and is filled with my love.

    Enjoy.

    Please.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays!
    Good Bye.

    1. gamingtheblues

      Oops…forgot the last lines:

      The detective looked up from the letter he just read out loud. His partner looked at him and smirked.

      “Hey bud, I’ll carve the turkey if you say grace.”

      He gave his partner a sour look.

      “Funny. Let’s get out of here. We’ll grab burgers.”

  6. strose

    For my first Thanksgiving, I bought the biggest turkey the had in the store. I had to prove to my family I was fine. In fact, I was responsible enough to create a wonderful feast in my new home; I got after the divorce finalized. My husband had an affair with my best friend, Charlie. Not a cute Charlie short for Charlotte, Charlie short for Charles. So this year I had to prove that everything is fine, just fine. Then upload pictures to my social media to reiterate, it´s all fine, totally fine.

    I pulled up to my new house and see Mrs. Williams getting out of her car with groceries. She was a little old lady who just recovered from a hip replacement. I quickly offered to help.
    ¨Hello, Mrs. Williams! Do you need help?¨
    ¨No, Cheryl, I´m fine! Jimmy, the man across the street, is helping me!¨ She says waving and smiling going to her mailbox to check the mail. Jimmy comes out smiling and grabs another bag of groceries. Jimmy is a gorgeous specimen of a man. He has a jaw line like Geroge Clooney and eyes like Brad Pitt.
    I shrug, I tried to help. So I grab my precious, giant turkey from my trunk. I hold it like a child, one hand on the bottom and one it´s back. And start to walk to my house. I turn, take one step forward, then trip and the heavy frozen turkey slides out of my arms as I try to brace myself for the hard landing. My hands and knees painfully hit the pavement. i realized I tripped on my son´s soccer ball. Then I hear a shriek. I look up and to my horror the turkey had launched from my arms, sliding across the pavement and hit Mrs. Williams. She was on the ground. Jimmy rushed to her screaming, ¨Oh my God!¨
    ¨What happened?!¨I yelped, getting up and running to Mrs. Williams as she writhes in pain.
    ¨It´s my hip, again!¨
    ¨We have to call an ambulance.¨Jimmy says. I grab my phone and make the call. As Jimmy and I wait I prop up Mrs. Williams head in my lap while Jimmy holds her hand. the ambulance arrived quickly. And as Mrs. Williams is wheeled away, I turn to Jimmy.
    Ï can´t serve that turkey! It´s jinxed!¨
    ¨You can always have burgers.¨
    ¨Do you have a grill?
    ¨Yes, I do.¨
    ¨Would you mind?¨
    ¨I didn´t have Thanksgiving plans so I´d be happy to help.¨
    ¨Then I guess we´ll have burgers! I´ll go to the store.¨ I sigh. Picking up my cursed turkey plopping it back in my trunk. I return it for turkey burgers, a less dangerous option for my Thanksgiving meal. And that´s why we ate hamburgers.

  7. gregmyarbrough

    For my first Thanksgiving as a host I wanted to rock it, so I went out and bought the biggest turkey they had at the store. That sentence says a lot, more than one would think, for as a new resident of this rather rural area but born and raised in the city, I found out that day that I had a lot to learn about stores – and turkeys.
    Did you know that feed stores tell you they have the “biggest turkeys in the county”, it doesn’t mean the same thing as a Butterball ad on television? I didn’t and when the lady led me back behind the main building to get my turkey, I was more than a little concerned because (1) I didn’t see any freezers and (2) it was starting to smell disturbingly foul. Even after she pointed to the large birds pecking in the lot behind her building and asked me which one I wanted, I still didn’t pick up on the fact that these large white and dirty things strutting around with ridiculous looking strands of skin hanging off of their incredibly long noses were, in fact, turkeys. It took her and two other people (plus a quick image search for “live turkeys” on my phone) more than a minute or two to convince me that these where actually turkeys.

    Who knew!?

    And I really couldn’t get mad, they were big; and when I had called her earlier that morning, the only question I asked was if she indeed, as her ad on the internet stated, had the “biggest turkeys in the county”. And she did…

    …up until the moment I pulled into her parking lot.
    What is the moral of my story? There really isn’t one except that one should be careful to know what one is asking for. I got the biggest turkey, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I couldn’t even figure out how to get the seatbelt around it when I tried to take it home (another story). Which is why my guests and I all ate hamburgers for Thanksgiving.

    1. strose

      So wait did you buy it live or did they slaughter it?

      Usually, the best way to get a turkey is reserve one and then pick it up after slaughter. It´s not a weird thing to do. And yes turkeys are pretty ugly especially ones in slaughter houses. It´s not like it´s worth it for anyone to give them a nice bath.

      cute story though.

  8. cosi van tutte

    I just couldn’t help it. 😀

    Iron Man watched Black Widow and Captain America slave over the turkey. He shook his head. “You know, you both are going through way too much fuss and bother. We should just go out and get Shwarma.”

    Captain America scowled at him. “We had Shwarma last Thanksgiving.”

    “Yeah? And it was awesome.”

    Black Widow gave Captain three bags of gizzards. Why one turkey had three bags of gizzards inside of it was anyone’s guess.

    Captain carried the clammy bags to the garbage can.

    Black Widow ran cold water inside the turkey’s cavity. “If you throw those out, I will kill you.”

    Captain looked at the bags and then at Iron Man, who shrugged.

    “She likes her next day gizzard shakes. It’s a cultural thing I just don’t get. I get Shwarma, though.”

    Black Widow turned sharply to face Iron Man. “I swear if you mention Shwarma one more time—” The turkey slipped out of her grasp and landed hard on the stone floor.

    “Well. I don’t know about anyone else, but nope. I am not eating that.”

    She grabbed the turkey by its pink rubbery legs and hauled it back to the sink.

    “You are gonna soap that thing up, right?”

    Captain gave Iron Man a beseeching look. “But what am I supposed to do with these bagged things?”

    “Throw them out. Get Shwarma.”

    “That does it!” Running on pure impulse power, Black Widow grabbed the turkey and flung it at Iron Man’s head. Just as Bruce Banner entered the room. “Hey, guys!”

    Iron Man ducked.

    The turkey slammed into Bruce’s face. “Urgh. Urrrrgh! URRRRAAAAHH!” He Hulked out, grabbed the turkey, and slammed it repeatedly into the wall.

    Captain America and Iron Man watched in awestruck wonder.

    By the time Black Widow rescued it, the turkey was very well tenderized. The legs just tumbled right off the body and wound up on the floor. The body looked like it had been pulled out of a car wreck.

    The Hulk turned back into Bruce. He stared at the pulverized turkey. “Oh, no! What have I done?” He ran out of the kitchen in a state of deep distress.

    Captain sighed. “I’ll go calm him down.” He wandered off with the three bags of gizzards still in his hands.

    Iron Man folded his arms across his chest. “You know, I really hope you aren’t gonna cook that thing.”

    Black Widow stuck her lips out in an irritated pout.

    He shrugged. “I mean, you could try, but it will probably cook up into some unholy crispy mash. Yuck.”

    “I really wanted to make a turkey this year.”

    “There’s always next year.” He pumped his fist. “Let’s get us some Shwarma!”

  9. cosi van tutte

    One last one before the prompt changes…

    “So, that’s why we’re having Hamburger Helper for Thanksgiving.”

    “Huh.” Finch pulled a toothpick out of his pocket and nibbled on the end.

    “Huh? All you have to say to my highly detailed story is ‘Huh’?”

    “It seemed to be an appropriate answer.”

    “Oh, hardly.”

    He nibbled off the end and spit it onto the floor. “I love you and all, Sue Ell, but really? Aliens?”

    “Weren’t you listening to me? I didn’t say a thing about aliens. There was just one. Just him. That strange raggedy man. Fast talking. Hyper. Smelled of fish fingers and custard. He had a thingajig that he claimed was a magical screwdriver, but it didn’t look like a screwdriver at all. There was simply no point to it.”

    “But why did he steal our turkey?”

    “I asked him. He said that he needed that particular turkey to save the world.” She frowned. “Such a strange man.”

    Finch munched on his toothpick as he stared woefully at the hamburger/noodle slop splotched next to the green bean casserole and mashed potatoes on his plate. “You should have told him no.”

    “You think I didn’t? Of course, I did. In fact, I told him no repeatedly and most emphatically. That man…alien…thing didn’t have a care. He laughed and told me that my turkey would save the day. Then, he hopped into his blue police box with our turkey and disappeared.”

    Finch sighed. “At least, we still have the pumpkin pie.”

    “I’m afraid not, dear. He took that as well.”

    The toothpick fell out of his mouth and hit the floor. “What? Our turkey wasn’t enough to save the world?”

    “Oh, no. It was quite enough, according to him. He took our pie as an afternoon tea snack.”

    He stabbed his fork into the limp noodles. “I suppose one must have a snack with tea.” He ate the stabbed noodles. “Mmm. Lovely meal. We must do this next Thanksgiving.”

    “Quite so, dear.”

  10. Kerry Charlton

    This is my wife’s story, She asked me to post it for her.

    A FAMILY LEGEND

    Hi everyone, this is Lanor.

    My family has lived in San Antonio since the early 1920’s. This tale has been handed down for many years. There are younger ones in our family who question the authenticity but they never met Aunt Isabelle. She grew up in San Antonio, college degree from Brown University in New York, returned home and taught Latin in a local high school in the fifties.

    She met Clem Mudslide and fell in love. Trouble was, he ran a twenty section cattle ranch, forty miles south of town. But love prevailed, they married and he moved her to Hondo, Sure it‘s Texas but even the mayor was a cowboy.. Isabelle managed to tough it out for many years until one certain Thanksgiving. Clem got a wild hair and decided to raise turkeys on the side. The day before the holiday he brought a large crate into Isabelle’s immaculate kitchen with a live 30 pound Tom inside and told her to prepare it for dinner.

    Being a soft-hearted gal, she couldn’t bring herself to chop it’s head off, so she went to her medicine cabinet, took a bottle of chloroform and soaked a rag in it, grabbed the Tom’s head and put it to sleep. Step one okay, she was pleased with the idea. She dragged the turkey to the middle of the linoleum floor. Step two okay.

    Since she was diabetic, she wore a first alert necklace in case she needed help in a hurry. It was wired to the fire station. She rested awhile to catch her breath and then returned to the kitchen and plucked the fowl clean. Turkey feathers were everywhere but she rested some more before cleaning the mess up. Isabelle was not a dainty woman so she picked the turkey up and crammed it into the lower shelf of the frig and went to take a nap before cooking the Tom. Step three was good, the bird would freeze to death and never have any pain, being unconscious.

    Step four the trouble started. Isabelle opened the refrigerator to wash the turkey before cooking it. It let out an unearthly sound like a pack of wolves, bolted out of the lower shelf and overran Isabelle and took off down the hall. Isabelle fell backwards in a full faint. When she hit the floor her alarm rang in the firehouse, setting both ambulances and one fire truck racing to the house.

    Meanwhile, Clem mounted his gray mare along with the boys and started home. But the Tom turkey tried to fly through the house looking for an exit and was so upset he left a trail of “you know” behind him. The firemen arrived first, chopped the front door down and rushed to Isabelle’s aid. She was sitting up by that time and watching a dead turkey, or so she thought, destroy her house.

    Clem arrived a few minutes later and tried to catch the bird as it was circling the outside of the ranch house. Of course, it was front page news in the Hondo Picayune.

    The last we heard about Isabelle, she had left the mental ward, caught a train to New York and eventually married an English professor at NYU

    But the legend lives on like “The Headless

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Beebles, we are glad you enjoyed this tale. The part about the turkey waking up when the door to the refrigerator opened up is true due to living relatives. The bird did go wild crazy.

  11. JosephFazzone

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. All the nines, trim and trimmings were mine for a hefty fee, and the befriending of the neighborhood butcher back when we’re kids.

    “I’ll see ya, Sunday…at uh church”, says I with a wink.

    He laughs, “You still owe me a crisp Benjamin for uhh the collection plate.”

    Nobody cares. It’s our business, and yet we like kids are boasting about a stupid poker game. What a strange path we follow when the mood strikes.

    “You’re on a tangent, Dad”, my daughter quips.

    “Right”, snaps I back the attention. “Big turkey, plump and juicy. I’m drooling on the way home just thinking about the smells that will be suffocating the room with that delectable seducing aroma that taunts and teases me for the slow roast of an agonizing four hours.”

    “Low blow, Dad”, my son moans wiping the drool from his chin. “Way to just stick the needle in the thread and reduce Manhattan to a smoldering heap of ash.”

    “Whose on the tangent now?” quips I.

    The silence that lingered after let me know I was pushing my luck. Back to the story. “So, I brought the bird home, dressed it, shaved it, bought it a lovely dinner, took it out dancing, and sang it a ballad.”

    More silence.

    “The lights went out. We had a blackout in the area. It was a gas stove. We were fine. But the idea of even having turkey and gravy in the dark. Well it seemed like an amazing idea.”

    “Amazing”, they all agreed.

    “So when Kenny lit the candles and placed them on the mantle next to that ugly faux bear made from, well I suppose I could say every combustible chemical you can find on the open market, we had ourselves a genuine situation.”

    “So, you lost your house to the promise of a quasi, but not, semi-pilgrim like idea of a candle lit Thanksgiving?”

    “I lost the house, the turkey…”

    Daughter interrupts, “And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.”

    1. Beebles

      Joe, some lovely lines and images in here, especially the Dad’s unappreciated humour – don’t I just know about that. I found it hard to follow at times – the manhatten reference went over my head – but that’s probably just me. And this from a guy who’s entire piece is meaningless unless all the other stories are read – tch.

  12. Pete

    It was only my first week on the job, but it was Thanksgiving, and Mack had a wife and kid waiting at home so I told him I’d be fine.

    “Shouldn’t be busy.”

    “Then why are we open?”

    “The streak.”

    “Streak?”

    “Been opened every day for seventeen years,” he said, tugging at my cheeks with his ham hocks. “Can’t let turkey day get in the way of that.”

    I nodded. “So any ideas how I should cook this thing?” I said, motioning the twenty pound Butterball in the freezer. It had been there for months, Mack had said.

    “Nope,” he shrugged. But try to get a mop on the floor. Still smells like fish.”

    No arguing that, as Dwayne and Kelvin Hammond had come by yesterday trying to trade catfish for beer. Spilled a whole cooler of fish juice on the floor. Cleared the place out quick. Coming from the city I thought I’d seen it all. Nope.

    Mack took off and I was about to set the oven and toss this beast inside when another thought occurred. The deep fryer.

    I cranked up the juice and got the jukebox going. Soon the place was smelling right. It was three in the afternoon and I figured a few football fans might show up. So I poured a beer for myself and got on that mopping.

    Winkfish County was about forty miles from Richmond–my home until a month ago when my fiancé cleared out our house while I took the closing shift at the bar where we both worked.

    Now I lived with my Dad. The widower and the loser.

    Sam, a fixture at Chubs since my high school days, sat at the end of the bar, nodding along. We had the football muted and the Waylon Jennings cranking. Frost of the windows made the place quite cozy. Enough to have another beer and slide one down to Sam on the house.

    Part of me expected Dad to walk through the door. Because Thanksgiving was when Mom had died. The night before, rather, five years ago, I’d come home to find him slouched under the Chestnut tree, a mound of dirt like a brand new quilt over Mom’s box. He clutched tightly to a bottle of Dickel, stayed there three days with her. Singing to the moon and crying to the rain. He hadn’t talked about it since.

    And now it was the lung cancer he wasn’t talking about. So when he slid down beside me I felt like I was dreaming. Like the rightest thing I’d ever known.

    I hopped up and got him a beer.

    “Happy Thanksgiving, son.” He said, reaching for an empty shirt pocket.

    “You too, Pop.”

    He looked at me. Then at the mop. I explained about Dwayne and Kelvin and the fish and he broke. Laughed for ten minutes straight. When he stopped his eyes were as kind as I’d ever seen them. He gave me a look that said more than he’d ever been able to say. For all the shitty things that were happening to us right now. He said all that with nothing more than a look. It was that kind of night.

    Sam nodded along to Waylon. Dad and I lost in the night. We talked about new beginnings. New traditions. How there was no since in planning for tomorrow because it could all get ripped out from under your feet. Just like Mom. Just like me with that girl.

    “By the way,” he said, draining his glass. “The kitchen’s on fire.”

    I hopped up and shut down the kitchen. By the time the smoke cleared the fish smell was long gone, replaced by what Sam claimed smelled like Napalm. I tossed it out back for the dogs. Sam Joined in and the three of us drank until we could sing. We sang about old times and good times. About how life jerked us around and there was little we could do to stop it. About how that turkey looked like a meteor rock.

    And that’s why we had hamburgers for Thanksgiving.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Pete!

      This is one of those stories I could read over and over again. I love your depiction of the father’s grief and how he finally opens up to his son.

      And I love the entire second to last paragraph. Great job! 😀

        1. Kerry Charlton

          There are no such things as being riddled with errors when a story reads like this. I was captured in the spirt of the night, the father’s sorrow over his wife’s death and the inevitable approach of the lung cancer. I consider this a masterpiece of emotiom and comradeship.

  13. Beebles

    Apologies that this is a bit long. But Thanksgiving is all about family and being a relative newcomer, I could just about squeeze them all in!

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store.
    Well I have a myriad of people coming. Still, it’s the perfect house for it, large and probably the oldest in the district, with an Adam’s Family style turret. People love our house.
    The comforting aroma of roasting turkey is beginning to feel its way through the plaster when the chimes go.
    ‘Daniel, great to see you! And Simon, gosh getting bigger and …’ I look beyond them to the woman locking up the car on the street. ‘… er… is that Margery?!’ If it is, she’s lost a lot of weight. Daniel shakes his head and shuffles his feet. He pushes his son gently through the door.
    ‘Yeah,’ I say, concentrating on the woman as she walks up the path, ‘There’s some coke in the fridge, big guy. Help yourself.’
    ‘Margery and I aren’t together any more. This is Janet.’ She gives a wide handsome smile and we shake hands.
    ‘And are … you two …’ I do the switchy finger thing.
    Janet grabs his arm. ‘Yes, yes we are.’
    ‘Well come on in.’ My gesture is expansive. It’s what I do when I feel awkward.
    I usher them through to the lounge. ‘Guys, I’d like you meet James and Mhairi. They are friends of mine, all the way from Scotland. James is a postman and Mhairi is a paramedic. I’ll get some drinks.’
    I weave my way round Simon, who walks with the glass of coke stuck to his face. I have just brought the bird out to rest when the bell goes again. I am glad to see Hugh and Delores are still together, though I have to tread carefully again.
    ‘How…how are things guys?
    Delores bats my concern away, ‘We’re great BJ, just great. Do you know, in the end, it was just constipation? Can you believe it?’
    ‘Delores, do you have to? Hugh looks embarrassed.
    ‘Well, that’s what it was Hugh. Would you prefer if it was cancer?’
    ‘Oh, God, and who is this clown?’
    They follow my gaze as a real life clown, long shoes and red wig windmills his way up the drive. Hugh goes nuts.
    ‘You made it! Hey excellent! Delores, this is Mr Jiggles. The loans officer.’ She screams in delight. The clown throws out his arms and they all hug.
    I leave them to their reunion. I receive a tap on the shoulder. It’s Janet.
    ‘Sorry to bother you, BJ, but there appear to be a couple of hobos stealing your crockery.’
    At first I am confused, then it dawns on me.
    ‘It’s ok,’ I laugh, ‘It’s just Dish and Spoon laying the table. They are friends of mine. Lovely people, and the smell wears off after a while.’
    She doesn’t look convinced, ‘Ah.’ She says. ‘Oh, … well could you direct me to the bathroom?’
    I point her upstairs as the Jiggles party moves through into the lounge.
    ‘No!’ I scream as I re-enter, ‘Don’t sit there!’ The clown is crouched over the seat, his face pale – but then, how else? I rush over and fumble with the plug at the chair’s base. ‘I know it looks like a prop, but it does actually work, and some joker’s plugged it in too. Sorry. There. Now its safe.’ I bet its Simon; where is the scamp?
    The next arrival is Pam Roderigo, my journalist friend from Gatz.
    ‘BJ,’ she announces with a fury of excitement, ‘this is Jack. Jack Lewis.’ She says it as if it’s supposed to mean something. All I see is a short well-built man in his fifties. He’s well kept but his stare makes me nervous.
    ‘He’s a bit old for you Pam, isn’t he?’ I whisper as I take her coat.
    ‘It’s not like that. This is Jack Lewis?!’
    I shrug. Then suddenly he is right there in my face.
    ‘Mmm, smells good,’ he says and licks his lips. For some reason I shudder.
    There is a scream from upstairs which brings everyone out into the hall. Janet is at the top of the stairs, bordering on hysterical.
    ‘There is … there is a dead man in the bath! A dead man in a doublet and hose, God help me. His eyes are open. It’s horrible!’
    I realise what she is going on about. ‘Janet, calm down. It’s just the Captain.
    She looks at me as if I am mad.
    ‘It’s an old house,’ I explain, ‘Stuff happens. Stuff like ghosts. He’s quite benign.’
    ‘He’s lucky!’
    We all turn to the voice. Joshua is standing at the door, sullen faced, all in black. I lean over to Pam and whisper again, ‘Oh God, it looks like he’s had another bust up with Jacinta.’
    She pats me on the arm. ‘Don’t worry,’ she says. I’ll take care of it.’
    Pam leads the broken Goth into the study.
    ‘Right, I’ll go and check on the turkey.’ I head back to the kitchen. When I get there, a big empty platter meets my eyes. I look around, flabbergasted.
    ‘Someone’s stolen the bloody turkey!’
    We search, until Delores lets out a little squeak. We all stop and look down to where she is pointing. A thick stream of fatty juices are trickling out from under the old sofa in the lounge, coagulating like a flow of cooling lava.
    ‘Ah,’ I say, ‘Perhaps we … er … should go out to eat.’
    And that is why we all ate hamburgers.

      1. charkhanolakha

        Especially the clown almost sitting on Harold the electric chair (eep!), and dish and spoon laying the table. I’m glad they found time in their travels to make it to your’s for thanks giving!

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I liked all the prompt references you used in your story. It sounds like total chaos going on which is very typical for holiday gatherings. I am concerned however for who shows for next year. It’s been my expeeience they still keep coming year after year as long as you’re willing to cook. God bless the holidays, giver more reason to write more stories.

  14. cosi van tutte

    And here’s a quick one…

    Millicent the cat tucked her paws and watched The Human fuss over the big dead thing on the counter. She had no idea what it used to be, but it sure smelled dead. She wanted to inspect it, but The Human had made it clear that her inspections were not appreciated.

    “Oh, no! Where’s the baster? I had it here one second ago.”

    Millicent squinted her eyes in a cat smirk and curled her tail around her fluffy white body.

    “Did I put it in the bathroom for some reason?” The Human ran out of the room, fretting.

    Millicent counted to twelve, which was the highest number she knew, and uncoiled herself in a languid, leisurely stretch. She nonchalantly kicked the baster to the furthest corner under the table and leapt onto the counter.

    “Maybe it’s in the laundry room!”

    Millicent strolled over to the large pink dead thing and inspected it. The Human had removed all of the fur already. She lazy blinked her approval.

    The head was missing. Millicent assumed that The Human had eaten it already, which puzzled her. Why did she eat the head and leave everything else? It didn’t make sense.

    She sniffed it.

    It didn’t smell like a fresh kill. Millicent felt a pang of sympathy. Obviously, The Human didn’t know how to catch fresh prey and had to resort to eating scavenger’s scraps. She resolved to teach her how to hunt. She’d start with baby mice and work her way up to wild rabbits.

    Still, curiosity poked and prodded Millicent. She had never eaten scavenger’s scraps before. Were they any good? She sniffed her way up to the dead thing’s gut and took a bite.

    Hmm. Rubbery and chewy. Not really all that good. But maybe she just sunk her teeth in the wrong place.

    She tried again.

    “Ahhh! You stupid cat!”

    Millicent jumped off the counter. The dead thing came bouncing down after her.

    “My turkey!”

    Millicent zip-zoomed out of the turkey’s path, raced to The Human’s room, and hid under the bed. She kept her ears on high alert.

    “Oh, I can’t believe it. Ninety-five dollars for a large turkey gone to waste. And the stores are all closed.” She sighed. “I hope the relatives don’t mind hamburgers for Thanksgiving.”

  15. Muren

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. I was expecting a crowd, so the bigger the bird, the better. I brought it home and proudly placed it in the refrigerator where it would stay until morning.
    Around midnight, I awoke to an unusual sound coming from my kitchen. I jolted from my bed and made my way down the hallway towards the kitchen. I noticed nothing suspicious, but my refrigerator was slightly opened, allowing just enough light to illuminate the room. As I began to make my way around, I felt something cold and damp tightly gripping my neck. Then it all went blank.
    I came to sometime late morning. I was in my dining room, bound to a chair. The coarse rope was cutting into my wrists and torso, restricting my breath. Across from me on the table sat a turkey holding my revolver. Its raw and headless body stared at me.
    Confused, I tried to speak, but realized my mouth was duct-taped shut. “MMGGMMME,” I said.
    The bird stood upright and slowly made its way across the table. Using one of its wings, it removed the tape that was binding my lips, leaving a small streak of slime across my face.
    “Please!” I begged. “Why is this?”
    With the revolver in one wing and my car keys in the other, he jingled them in my face. The gun was now pressed against my forehead.
    “Okay,” I said, exhaling. “Tell me where you want to go.”
    The turkey carefully cut the ropes I was wearing to set me free.
    “My car is in the driveway. Follow me.”
    The turkey tossed me my keys and then grabbed my purse.
    As we sat in the car, the bird removed the phone from my purse and typed something into the GPS.
    I backed out of my driveway and began to follow the directions.
    “Left on Clermont Street.”
    “Right on Emerson Road.”
    Before I knew it, we were in the White Castle drive-through.
    The bird wanted sliders.
    I ordered a #1, but that did not satisfy the turkey and he whipped me across my face with the gun.
    He spread out his wings signaling “bigger.”
    “A Crave Case?”
    The turkey excitedly shook his body “yes.”
    I ordered a Crave Case and the bird relaxed back into the seat.
    We retrieved our food and pulled into a parking space.
    “I need to get home so I can cook,” I told the bird, still trying to grasp this whole situation.
    “I was going to have turkey, but…”
    The bird pointed to the White Castle bags. I then realized what this was all about. Although threatening my life seemed quite extreme, I began to feel sorry for the bird.
    He opened the car door and saluted me before he slipped out. He hobbled into the parking lot, looked back one more time and waved. He was then flattened by a pick-up truck.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

    1. cosi van tutte

      😆

      I loved this one! Especially this whole part:

      “I ordered a #1, but that did not satisfy the turkey and he whipped me across my face with the gun.
      He spread out his wings signaling “bigger.”
      “A Crave Case?”
      The turkey excitedly shook his body “yes.”
      I ordered a Crave Case and the bird relaxed back into the seat.”

  16. Lyns A

    With the grace of a large walrus, I shuffled through the store with a giant, frozen turkey in my hands. At the time, I thought getting the biggest one in the bin was a good idea, but I forgot that I would have to march practically all the way to Siberia just to get to the checkout line. Thankfully, after I spent half my paycheck on the gargantuan hunk of meat, the grocery man offered to carry it out to my car. My backseat was covered in the kids’ soccer gear, so I shoved the turkey into the passenger seat. With a shout of gratitude towards the grocery man, I slipped my car into reverse and then began the drive back home with my cold, lifeless passenger.

    I was about five minutes from home when my car died. It’s no big deal, really – the battery cables are ancient. All it takes is a little jiggle on the front wire and then the car will start again. As I began to open my door, a movement caught my eye in the side mirror. My breath caught in my throat as I realized that the shape was a person. My hands fumbled for my can of mace before I remembered I had given it to my daughter the week before.

    The only other option? The turkey. I quickly looped the plastic tie around my hand, wincing as the thin strings cut my palm. I’ve heard of mothers that pull their kids from underneath cars, but hell hath no fury like a cornered woman with a frozen turkey; the poor soul never stood a chance. As he tried to open the door, I screamed and slammed the turkey square into his chest. He staggered back, struggling to breathe, and dropped a knife I hadn’t even seen into the snow. I hit him once more, right in the stomach, and he fell motionless to the ground.

    I crept closer to the man, dragging the heavy turkey behind me. I could faintly see his breath twisting into the cold autumn wind and as his eyelids began to flutter, I panicked and hit him in the chest again with my makeshift weapon. This time, no noise escaped his lips and his body went limp. I briefly debated hitting him again for making me ruin my turkey, but I decided that just calling the cops would suffice. I waited back in my car until I saw the flashing red and blue lights, and after two hours or so of intense questioning, they said I could go home with the promise of a phone call tomorrow. They confiscated the turkey – my only plan for dinner – as evidence.

    As I looked into the distance, I saw two golden arches rising above the tree line like a pair of heavenly, glowing dolphins. With a sigh, I headed for the drive through. I put a man into a coma with a turkey – and that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

    1. ajhaughee83

      Love it. I know that feeling of being alone somewhere and seeing a strange man and looking around for “weapons” if necessary lol. It was very smooth reading from scene to scene – nice work

  17. ShamelessHack

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store.

    Ding, Dong.

    Well, here is the first guest coming to my Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Now who could that be?
    “Hello, Cartman.”
    “Well, well, hello there Stan. I’m so glad you could make it.”
    “I can only stay a little while. My family is having dinner in an hour and I—hey! Did you make that turkey?”
    “Of course, of course. Why don’t you sit here Stan? Oh, there’s the doorbell again.
    “Hi, Cartman.”
    “Kyle, Kenny, glad you could make it. Oh and Butters. Well, everyone’s here, I guess. Let’s all sit down. There you go.”
    “Pretty big turkey, Cartman. Did your Mom make it?”
    “No, no, Kyle. I made it myself. Why do you ask? Don’t Jews eat turkey?”
    “F*ck you, Cartman. Just remember, we all have to leave soon.”
    “Mm-mf fmm mfm.”
    “Oh, you can stay, Kenny. You’re having Meow Mix at your house instead of turkey? Well, here. Help yourself to some food that most people can afford.”
    “Gee, Eric, you really outdid yourself.”
    “Thanks, Butters. Here. Have some turkey. Kenny’s eating already.”
    “Cartman!”
    “Yes, Stan?”
    “Kenny’s collapsed on the floor and he’s coughing up blood! What’s in the turkey?”
    “Damn it, Cartman, what are you up to?”
    “Calm down, Kyle. I don’t–”
    “Oh my God. You’ve killed Kenny. You bastard!”
    “Now hold on, Stan. Why would I–?”
    “We’re taking that turkey to the police, Cartman. You’re in deep sh*t, Eric.”
    “Wait, wait everyone.”

    Sh*t. Now I’m all alone. No friends, no turkey.

    And that’s why I wound up eating at City Wok on Thanksgiving.

    Ha ha. You thought I would say McDonald’s didn’t you?

  18. TMClarke

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Unfortunately it was too big to get into the back of my SmartCar, even with the help of this kid named Albert – ‘Please, just call me Al’ – who was built like a linebacker and gave it everything he had, the result being that my turkey now resembled a giant Condor, and I couldn’t get the hatchback closed.

    So we tied it to the roof. And I’m driving down the Interstate, getting lots of looks because this bird weighs about seventy-five pounds and is easily three feet thick in the middle, and the drumsticks are sticking out from under the tarp, and I’ve hung little red pennants on the ends, and the the turkey looks like it’s waving hello to people passing me – which where are a lot of, since I can’t drive too fast for obvious reasons.

    Anyway, about a mile and a half from home, the rope comes loose. And ‘Big Mike’ – that’s how I thought of him because the biggest turkey I’d ever personally known was named Mike – just sort of flips up and flies away. I look in my rearview mirror in time to see him disappearing over a roadside embankment and down into the trees below.

    So, I pull over and run back. There are a couple of other cars pulled over too. But the brush below the road is pretty thick and nobody wants to go down. Thing is, I don’t have any choice. I ordered Big Mike three weeks in advance. The chances of getting a replacement on Thanksgiving Day were slim and none.

    What I don’t realize until it’s too late, is that Big Mike landed in the middle of a patch of Poison Oak. I learn that later. At the hospital. I climb down and wrestle Big Mike out of the bushes. And now he looks something like a Giant Condor that went bouncing down the highway for a quarter of a mile or so. But I figure my wife, Jennifer, can fix that once I get home.

    By the time I pull into my driveway I’m all over rash and itching like a madman. And when I walk in the door Jennifer takes one look at me and screams – ‘Stay the fuck away from me!’

    And we’re off to the hospital.

    And Big Mike takes a quick trip to the backyard, wrapped up in a plastic sheet where my son Niki sticks him in the hibachi, douses him with lighter fluid and sets him on fire.

    By that time, I’m swelling up like ‘Fat Bastard’ in that Mike Meyers movie.

    Later, everybody’s crowded into my hospital room. There’s no turkey – thanks to you-know-who – but Niki, who’s a pretty good kid most of the time, shows up with six bags of In-and-Out burgers. And we all sit around arguing politics and making bad jokes.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  19. Kerry Charlton

    THOMAS O’REILLY

    Denise and I both worked in downtown Philadelphia. We had just celebrated our 12th anniversary when we received the news. Denise inherited an historic farm house in Valley Forge from her great grandmother’s estate. I had been there often and found the 200 year old house charming and remote, located in a breath-taking valley.

    Sixty rolling acres beside Valley Forge National Park, the farm was worth a fortune but Denise wanted to make it our home. A year and a half later of restoration and $312,000.00 of borrowed money, we moved from our townhouse in Philadelphia. Our furniture only filled a quarter of the three story, and Denise was straining at the leash to shop for more antiques.

    Being broke and house rich was not a good feeling so we decided to host Thanksgiving for both our families instead. Our neighbor, Charles Goodright raised his own turkeys and assured me, he would prepare one for us the day before. David at eight and Betty at six wanted to see the turkey first. Mistake one, I let them and the battle ensued, they named it Thomas O’Reilly and refused to eat if we butchered it. Also, they threatened to run away from home, which for a fleeting moment was good riddance.

    Thanksgiving day arrived, Thomas was allowed to free range after I lost round two. They the kids threw me a stinger, they wanted Thomas to have Thanksgiving with us and he would be too upset to see any kin of his on a platter. By two o’clock, the tables were set for twenty, all the trimmings were ready except the platter was empty. In a rural area, everything closes for the holiday. Frantically I searched for a solution.

    Whamo! My best friend from the Wharton School in Philadelphia was Bob Ima Booger. The fact that he survived his own name, was a living legend. With a masters in Public Administration, he opened his first hamburger joint nine years ago and they spread across Philadelphia like a coronary disease, thirty one to be exact. Rolling in the money, he cracked Philadelphia society and was on the giving end to every major charity in the city. Because of it, Bob’s Burgers were grossing sixty million a year.

    I picked up the phone, laughter from the other end filled the ancient farm home and thirty minutes before our family showed at six , a fleet of trucks, and two school busses of orphan children swarmed our sixty acres with a Thanksgiving never to be forgotten.

    . Thomas O’Reilly took the whole thing in stride and strutted his stuff and was an instant hit to ninety children without a family to share the holiday. It’s been a fast ten years from that wonderful day. This next year, we are expecting three thousand under privileged children, Bob’s Burgers has spread across the state with your’s truly as marketing manager. Delores works full time for the charity without pay.

    So both our families are totally involved with the Thomas O’Reilly Thanksgiving Feast. Thomas has gone to his reward now, but six more Toms parade the farm with the same name to carry on the annual tradition. Over our living room mantle, a photo of Time Magazine from three years ago, crowds the antique wood frame. Thomas is squarely centered on the cover and has become a symbol of giving for our country.

    Who needs turkey for thanksgiving

    1. charkhanolakha

      ” Bob Ima Booger. The fact that he survived his own name, was a living legend. With a masters in Public Administration, he opened his first hamburger joint nine years ago and they spread across Philadelphia like a coronary disease” LOL!!! This was hilarious Kerry. Also, what a wonderful happy ending!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you charkhanolakha, wait till you hear my wife’s story she related to me this morning, I’m getting ready to post it this aftyernoon. What I love about Thanksgiving is the three day holiday after it. Yah-hoo!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you ajhaughee83, there are some beautiful old farm houses in Peennsylvania, you would never believe existed. You know what some people figure for being broke would feed a family for a year.

  20. charkhanolakha

    writer’s block 🙁
    ———————
    Sarah walked home, her steps short and shuffling, the plastic from the grocery bag biting into her old fingers. The turkey must weigh at least 12 pounds. She had picked the largest bird in the store. It was Emily’s first thanks giving at home since starting college; Sarah knew Emily was homesick, and nothing said home like the smell of fresh turkey roasting in the oven.

    As she unpacked the turkey and placed it in lukewarm water to thaw, she thought about Francis.

    Francis should be home from work soon. He would start hovering about the kitchen, getting in her way. Keeping up an incessant flow of office gossip that she tuned in and out of. She would never admit it, but she found his presence comforting. She would be a little restless until he came home.

    They were an odd couple: she was a bulky, well-built woman who moved with steady determination; he a short energetic man who bubbled from spot to spot like an excitable puppy. His energy suited her, though: it bridged the gap between her silence and the world’s noise.

    Sarah walked from room to room: there was something she was forgetting. What, oh, what could it be? What had that nice doctor told her to do, when she began forgetting things? Yes, yes, look at the date. Look at the clock. 27th November. Oh, the turkey. The turkey must have thawed.

    She would make the stuffing without mushrooms, this year, she thought. Emily would be home from school soon, and the first thing she would ask was if Sarah had put mushrooms in the stuffing again this year. Sarah smiled.

    Wait, it was thanks giving. Emily wouldn’t be in school. College. She was driving down from College. Yes, yes, of course. Silly me, Sarah thought with a shake of her head, as she generally lathered the
    turkey with fat and put it in the oven to roast.

    The turkey had been roasting for three hours now. Sarah had fallen asleep on an arm chair in the lounge, she had forgotten all about the turkey again. Her memory wasn’t what it used to be after, all.

    When the firemen reached the house they found a picture, the edges of which were only slightly charred.

    It showed a young girl in a graduation cap, standing with her two proud parents: a little man whose vital energy was transmitted through the years in the picture, and a steady woman, whose face radiated calm.

    It must have been at least twenty years old, the last picture with all three of them together.

    1. ajhaughee83

      I really liked the comparison of the two characters. I kept waiting to see what was going to happen with her memory loss and I wan’t disappointed. Enjoyed it!

    2. Beebles

      charkha, read this through twice and got alot more out of it second time.around. interesting to see your take on dementia as i have a character with similar issues in my other stuff. very useful personally. thought provoking writing.

      1. charkhanolakha

        Hey Beebles! I’m really glad it was useful! I was thinking of this old lady I saw in a clinic who would make twenty rotis (flatbread) everyday, even though she was just cooking for her and her son, and two would have been enough. She kept going back to the time when she lived in a large extended family.
        I’m sorry you had to read it twice. This should have been a longer story with more detail and more family members, but I’ve been struggling with writing this week, so got lazy and gave up halfway through.
        Would love to read what you’re working on someday :).

        1. Beebles

          Oh, its a pleasure not a harship Charkha.
          I’m hoping to get something out early next year – need a discussion with my editor (otherwise known as my sister) 😉 Actually I’m guessing you might find it of interest as the MC is the daughter of an East India engineer and his Bibi.

  21. sudhiriyer

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store and the hours that followed it made me feel nothing lesser than a surgeon – except that this surgeon knew no scalpel or incisions!

    I am a vegetarian. And this is why how I came about taking it upon me to roast “Turkey”.

    The day before Thanksgiving:
    “…And this way we shall best learn best about each other’s culture and exhibit our culinary aptitude of which we have so boastful about”, concluded Yfrah, after a lengthy discussion about how we self-proclaimed that we were “chefs-without-a-title” and that we know much about food of the country we came from and were so eager to feed each other the dish we knew best to cook.

    There were four of us – all from different countries, but none from America, working together for the past 6 months on a computer project at Montebello, LA. All four of us loved cooking.

    We sat a cafe in downtown LA the evening before Thanksgiving and thought we will spend the Thanksgiving weekend with a pot-luck. When we listed all that each one would bring, there was nothing American about the feast. And that was when Yfrah convinced us to drop the idea of pot-luck and rather do something American for Thanksgiving.

    “Why not take turns and have one of us cook for all, every weekend – a dish that he has never done before?” No one liked the sound of the sentence spoken by Yfrah.

    “And what do we do for Thanksgiving? Turkey?”, asked Ronil sarcastically.

    “Why not? Sudhir, you sounded most eager to cook something for us? Why don’t you roast a Turkey this weekend?”

    “But I am vegetarian, I have never used a mutton mincing knife, leave alone cooking meat….”

    “Turkey is a bird. It’s not meat. So you don’t worry go for it!”, Nikolo interrupted.

    I stood no chance of exercising my choice or will. I agreed under duress.

    As I took the train back home, I was reminded of a hilarious episode from Mr. Bean – if his disastrous attempt at cooking Turkey, which saw him emerge out of the oven with his head shoved right into the “body cavity” of the bird as the guests walked in.

    I learned the recipe from the web and kept all ingredients ready that night.

    Thanksgiving day:
    The recipe made me embark on a process that I earlier had known to be “taxidermy”.

    Unlike Indian cooking, which is complex and detailed in terms of preparation and cooking and involved a lot of chopping, slicing and accuracy in proportions, the roast Turkey appeared to a child’s play – Stuff, Tie the legs, Roast, Slice and Serve – except that this child had never handled flesh on the kitchen top.

    As I put my hand into the cavity to stuff some white onions, garlic and herbs, I felt like an obstetrician delivering a baby except that I was trying to push in than pull out.

    At last, I concluded that I had “stuffed it up” enough, and then brushed it with some lemon and butter and sprinkled a pinch of some “Garam” masala – (I had to introduce an Indian-ness lest it may be thought that it was too good and American to have been cooked by an Indian). And into the oven it went. I played with the control knobs and let it cook.

    2 hours later:
    “4 burgers and large cokes please”, I ordered at Burger King, next block from my home, while Ronil, Yfrah and Nikolo sat with their stomach muscles still aching from the laugher spree they just recovered from.

    The burgers arrived and a Fire brigade went past us on the road. The Fire brigade was the uninvited fifth guest for a Turkey to which I had just given a conventional Hindu burial in my oven – by burning it to charred remains. The smoke had set the condominium fire alarm and alerted the Fire station.

    I never admitted that I was terrible at using the oven. I have been the conventional bloke who’d cook on cooking-range that had no controls or knobs that told of time, temperature and any pre-sets.
    The turkey vanished and took the onions, garlic and lemons with it. I didn’t see it again after it went into the TARDIS.

    “Biryani on you Nikolo, next week. Want to see how an Italian does the Biryani!”, challenged I, as we started biting into our burgers.

    “I can assure you that whatever I do, the rice grains won’t vanish like the Turkey did. Alas, I am not a magician as you’re Chef Sudhir!” and we laughed heartily.

    “I was famished”, said Ronil. “Thats why we’re eating Hamburgers”, added Yfrah, ”eat before it disappears.”

    1. ajhaughee83

      I really liked the premiss of your story – a vegetarian trying to figure out how to cook this monstrosity. My favorite line was the one about the turkey getting “a conventional Hindu burial.” Made me laugh!

      1. charkhanolakha

        lol yes, i loved that line! I also enjoyed the addition of garam masala, because that is exactly what I would do. If not garam masala, then at least powdered red chilli.

  22. Reaper

    Part 37. I might actually get to read this week since I am home cooking on Thanksgiving!

    In the Beginning – Thanksgiving Green

    “You bought the biggest turkey we had in the store.”

    “It’s for my first Thanksgiving as a host,” Bob mumbled, almost embarrassed. He made his way out of the store as quickly as he could. Before more conversation followed.

    It was his first time as a host because he never had many friends. That might have been what drove him to the Postal Service in the first place. After losing that job he drifted further from humanity and its rituals. Floating in the darkened landscape of desperate loneliness civil servants traversed as guides and the long term unemployed often found themselves thrust into.

    He traveled the road alone, his tiny social group withering to nothing.

    In the suicide support group that he found friends again. They were freaks. They were pathetic, lonely losers. Having those things in common bound him more closely to them than the ties of blood and placating friendship ever had with others.

    So, he was cooking dinner for thirty. Any one of whom might slip off during the gathering to use his lavatory as a convenient place to slit their wrists. The room was used to human waste and tears though. It could see worse.

    The “hallucinations” never stopped. Not really. They just slowed down.

    They no longer surprised him. He still had a sense of something dark on the horizon. That might be why someone offing themselves in his bathroom didn’t bother him that much. So, the Dickensian looking ghost showing up in his kitchen shocked him not at all.

    The creature beckoned. Bob knew cooking was done. He did not bother turning the oven off. Perhaps his guests would arrive and think to baste the bird. He followed the chain rattling ghost through the streets to a home that looked a little too Cleaverville for any modern home.

    The juxtaposition of the spirit to the house was not lost on Bob. He did not waste energy on deep thoughts about it though. When the phantasm passed through the door, after a brief look over his shoulder, Bob opened said door and followed without hesitation.

    He knew the young women running hands over him were not one of his “episodes” but he almost wished they were. Thos soft palms running over his chest, stomach, and thighs were too perfect. They were things he did not deserve but very much wanted. As half-clad bodies pressed in against him, Bob barely repressed a shudder.

    It was not desire though.

    He shivered in terror. He knew they were bringers of darkness. This was an army of the type the crazies in Waco had been rumored to be, except for real.

    The beautiful woman rounded the corner. Bob had not seen her in years, and he might not have recognized her, if not for the children. They were older as well, but the little boy looked at him with the same piercing eyes and spoke words that made Bob’s soul drop out of a trapdoor in his stomach, into a vat of liquid nitrogen.

    “Mommy, I told you that man sees too much.”

    The daughter had the privilege of saying grace that year. Everyone looked at her with drool on their chins, waiting for communion to begin.

    “,,,and that is we all get to eat hamburgers. Amen.”

    1. ajhaughee83

      What a morbid Thanksgiving lol. I think the most poignant phrase for me was when you talked of Bob drifting further from humanity and its rituals. That line seemed to embody the tone of the piece. Very interesting.

  23. Trevor

    Word Count: 469

    Turkey

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Most of my family members don’t really see me in the best light. My father is disappointed I didn’t go into the real-estate business like my brother, my grandmother doesn’t think I’ll ever get married, and I’m completely convinced that my uncle thinks I’m gay. So when I learned I was going to be responsible for putting together our annual Thanksgiving feast, I knew everything had to be perfect. I’d already bought all the less iconic foods, from the mashed potatoes to the much-beloved cherry pie. Now, with the large turkey purchased, I had everything I would need to make my family appreciate me.

    Wanting to hurry home and get the turkey in the freezer, I rushed to my car and started to fumble with my keys. But just as I was about to unlock the trunk, I felt metal being pressed against the back of my head. Instantly, I realized what was being held against my skin.

    “Just give me the bird, and nobody has to get hurt today.” A gruff voice whispered in my ear. The man had a distinctive Hispanic accent. My eyes darted around, desperately searching for someone who could save me from the robber who had taken me hostage. But since no one was around, I saw no choice but to give in to the man’s orders.

    But as I started to slowly hand over the turkey, I recalled a memory of my uncle Raymond from when I was 16. We were playing football at his house and I fumbled the pigskin five times in a row. I distinctly remember Raymond’s comment: “Better get yourself in shape, boy. Don’t want the ladies thinking you’re a queer, do ya?” That memory led to every other memory of my family viewing me as inferior. Unimportant. Worthless. I couldn’t face another embarrassment. I wouldn’t allow it.

    With a cry of rage, I tackled the man just as he was taking the turkey. As we fell to the asphalt, I heard the clatter of the gun hitting the ground and saw it skid under a nearby SUV. The man tried to punch me in the face, but I dodged and his fist hit the ground with a sickening crack. The young man cried out in pain as he rolled off of me, clutching his sore knuckles. Slowly, I made my way to my feet and, for some added comeuppance, kicked the would-be thug in the face, knocking him unconscious. Filled with pleasure at having delivered justice on a gun-wielding criminal, I turned to my vehicle-

    And immediately saw the squashed turkey.

    And that’s why we all ate McDonalds hamburgers for Thanksgiving-and why I’ve never been asked to prepare another family meal since.

    1. Beebles

      the trouble with this prompt is that you sort of know whats coming in all the stories. it didnt stop me rooting for your mc, though ultimately i knew his family wouldnt understand. well drawn trevor

  24. ajhaughee83

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. My hands slid underneath the tight skin, stretching it out with care so I could slather the salt rub directly onto the meat. That’s the trick – brines are a waste of time. Salt rub first and then a generous slathering of herbed oil. I had done this on chickens many, many times and it always turned out delicious, so of course this recipe would make for an excellent and impressive turkey. I reached over to the bowl next to me to grab a handful of salt when the back door exploded off its hinges. Wood and glass flew into the kitchen and littered the floor. In thundered a six foot dark haired man, his face contorted with rage. I left the portal open again! Thomas was going to kill me this time.

    “Where is the amulet?”

    I realized immediately which dimension I had left unlocked and made a mental note to close it up once I had finished with this joker.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said as I slid down the counter, sneaking a knife into my fist.

    The blade whizzed out of my hand and flew across the room, aimed directly for the dark man’s head. He lifted his arm and swatted the knife to the ground before it ever came into proximity. Well now I just pissed him off, I told myself.

    He took a menacing step closer. “Where is the amulet?”

    I scanned the room looking for any kind of inspiration, and seeing my reaction he lifted both his hands, palms facing me, and said an unfamiliar chant. A breeze blew my hair to the side and the motion of the air began to quicken. Faster and faster until pots began to fly off the counter, spoons and potholders whirling about in a vortex of motion. It strengthened still and the doors on the cabinets started to shake, a few hinges snapping. I dropped to the floor to avoid any collision with flying cooking paraphernalia, and that’s when I saw my would-be beautiful turkey smashed into the floor. Now I was angry.

    I reached into my pocket and clutched the amulet tightly in my palm. “Tranious multo amadoray.” The dark man’s eyes grew wide when he heard those words. Of course the idiot didn’t think I knew how to use it. The amulet glowed a vibrant red and I turned it to face him, giving the man an ear-to-ear grin.

    “Happy thanksgiving,” I said as a bright stream of red light blasted from the amulet and hit the dark man square in the chest, turning him into a pile of ash and clothing on the floor.

    I stood up and surveyed my kitchen. Gravy had splattered all over the counter tops, utensils were sticking out of the walls, and my poor turkey remained on the floor, its dream of being the best part of everyone’s day shattered. I grabbed the keys and decided to go with my back up plan and that’s why we ate hamburgers.

    1. Beebles

      Of all the cotton pickin’ excuses I have heard … Good Read aj. My only comment would be that ‘said an unfamiliar chant’ didn’t seem to cut the mustard. But thanks for reminding me to switch my portal off!

        1. Beebles

          Hi aj. I suppose it was two things – gosh putting me on the spot here. Given the grand mystical gesture of the inacantation and the length of his recitation inferred by the word ‘chant’, the word ‘said’ just drew me up as being a little curt in the circumstances. I know that we are always prompted to prefer ‘said’ over more elaborate forms of tag, to make things flow, but I thought something more extravagant was required in this case. Blimey, it takes a lot of words to explain the analysis we all do in the blink of an eye. It was such a small thing in a splendid piece and i immediately felt some chagrin after pressing submit, but I hope it helps. Its helped me.

          1. ajhaughee83

            No it’s totally fine – I really do appreciate it. Pats on the back are nice but they don’t make you any better. I was just wondering what seemed out of line with the piece so I could put that thought in my pocket for next time. :0)

  25. cosi van tutte

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Grandma Cassidy had insisted on it.

    “Don’t you be buyin’ no three pound hen-baby. We ol’ folks need our protein.”

    “Turkey protein.” said Grandpa.

    Grandma gave him a look that could have withered West African violets. “Don’t you go interruptin’ me none.”

    “I wasn’t.”

    “And don’t you go mutterin’ under your breath neither. I ain’t deaf, you know.”

    Grandpa sighed and turned his attention back to his sports page.

    “But Grandma,” I ventured to say. “It’s just going to be the three of us. Wouldn’t it be better if I got a fifteen pounder?”

    “Fifteen pound? You all tryin’ to starve us ol’ folk?”

    “I’m not as old as you.” Grandpa muttered.

    “I tol’ you no interruptin’ me!” She jabbed an arthritic finger at me. “And jes so you know, fifteen pounder ain’t a turkey. It’s a sick goose and I ain’t one to eat any ol’ sick goose.”

    “But it would be a lot cheaper.”

    “Ohhh, so you all are thinkin’ that any ol’ cheap thing’s good enough for us. Us. Your own grandparents. Your only livin’ relatives. You all jes goin’ ta throw any cheapo thing at us and say, ‘Oh, happy Thanksgivin’ and not even meanin’ it. ”

    “It’s not like that at all. I’m just trying to save some money.”

    Grandpa pulled out his wallet and gave me eighty dollars. “Just buy the bigger bird.”

    ***

    So, I went to Sav U Smarts and bought a fifty-nine pound turkey. Fifty-nine pounds. I never knew that turkeys could weigh that much. I tried to imagine what a living fifty-nine pound turkey would look like.

    Some things should not be imagined.

    Fortunately, it came all boxed up and duct-taped to a dolly. So, I didn’t have to worry about carrying it inside.

    Grandma looked it over and clicked her tongue. “That ain’t like no turkey I ever seen.”

    No kidding.

    “Fifty-nine pounder. Psh! Must have been raised on jes crumbs of rice cakes.”

    What?

    “Ain’t gonna be nothin’ but skin and bones.”

    Grandpa didn’t have any smart comebacks. He just stood there, drooling at the massive block of frozen poultry.

    “What? But it’s fifty-nine pounds!”

    She waved her hand in a sassy gesture. “You all’ll see. Ain’t nothing but skin and bones.”

    ***

    Thanksgiving came.

    I tried to follow Mom’s recipe, but Grandma insisted that I stick with her own recipe instead.

    Grandpa kept finding excuses to float into the kitchen to stare at the turkey.

    “It’s soooo big.”

    Grandma shoved him out for the three thousandth time. “I’m tellin’ you all. It ain’t gonna be nothin’ but skin and bones. Jes you wait’n see.”

    ***

    It cooked up beautiful, crispy gold-brown.

    It was perfect.

    And I made it. Yes, Grandma helped, but I made it. I pulled out the gizzards. I stuffed the stuffing in there. I plonked the heavy monstrosity into the oven with a tremendous amount of determination and creative manuevering.

    And it was ready.

    I gave Grandpa the carving knife, which annoyed Grandma. “Men ain’t supposed to cut up turkeys. That’s women work.” That’s what she said, but I suspected that she didn’t trust Grandpa with a carving knife.

    He smiled maniacally. “Ahh, the moment I’ve been waiting for all day.” He stabbed the turkey and sliced it in a smooth, precise cut. “Lovely. Lovely. Lovely. Turkey meat. Turkey protein. Turkey—”

    He placed the first piece on the serving dish.

    Blurogg! The whole slice slogged over into a jiggly pile of gelatinous fat.

    Grandpa stared at it in bewilderment. “What the—?”

    Grandma took one look at the jiggly, joggly piece and said, “So. It ain’t skin and bones after all.”

    I couldn’t take my eyes off the wobbling blob of fat.

    Grandpa made another cut, another slice.

    More 100% fat.

    He sat down and scratched his head. “But…where’s the meat?”

    I wanted to say, “If I had bought a smaller turkey, we’d have plenty of meat.” I burst into tears instead.

    ***

    It pained me to throw the whole thing out, but it had to be done.

    Grandma didn’t apologize. She just quietly walked into the kitchen, pulled out a package of hamburger meat, and fried up the best hamburgers I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.

    And that was apology enough.

    1. ajhaughee83

      This was awesome – laughed a lot while reading it! I really liked the line about a look that would wither African violets. And I was wondering how the heck it was going to fit into the oven and had fun picturing the “creative maneuvering.” Great alliteration with “jiggly, joggly” piece – made me picture it in detail (gross haha). Very nice!

      1. cosi van tutte

        Thanks, aj!

        I honestly have no idea how my MC managed to get it into the oven. I suspect that she jammed and squished it in there.

        I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😀

    2. Reaper

      This started as really funny, then it became a kind of dark, insidious commentary, and finally it had a wonderfully light hearted and heart warming ending. Very well done Cosi, I am in awe here.

  26. jhowe

    For his first Thanksgiving as host, Andy bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. The store was a Magic Mart and the turkey was a Cornish hen. It was all they had. He punched up his mother’s cell, heard her lofty voice and slowly slipped the phone back in his pocket. She’d think it was a butt dial. His car was dead in the driveway, two miles away. He’d walked to the Magic Mart and the nearest store that might have a turkey was out of range, plus there was another problem. Andy’s wallet was very thin.

    So he stocked up on trimmings. Vienna sausages, Snowballs, turkey jerky (of all the good fortune), a loaf of Wonder Bread, a bag of miniature marshmallows and a three pack of Swisher Sweets. His mother would disapprove of the smokes but that’s why he said he’d do Thanksgiving in the first place. He was starting to regret it but they’d be there in less than two hours.

    ***
    Driving her Audi Q5 down Constitution Avenue, Audrey saw a cute guy struggling with a ripped plastic grocery bag. Way beyond her comprehension as to why she’d do such a thing, she stopped.

    “Having a little trouble there chief?”

    “A little,” Andy said, stuffing the bread in his jacket.

    “I hope that’s not Thanksgiving dinner on the asphalt.” Her eyes sparkled as if they contained tiny mirrors.

    “Well, it kind of is,” he said. “They didn’t have a turkey and my family is coming…” he looked at his phone… “in an hour and twenty minutes. So I bought this other stuff but now I don’t know what to do with it.”

    “Ok, calm down big guy,” she opened the passenger door. “Get in.”

    He got in. He would have shot a spotted owl if she’d told him to. “Thanks so much,” he said. “If you could just drop me at my house, I can get going on the dinner.”

    She noted the turkey jerky and the marshmallows. “Is that hen frozen?” she said.

    He squeezed it. “Yeah.”

    “Let’s re-think this.” She smiled. “What do you say?”

    “I’d love to, but I don’t have much time.”

    “If I told you to trust me, what would you say?” Audrey said.

    Andy narrowed his eyes. “You mean just like that? Do I trust you?”

    “That’s what I’m asking you.”

    “Then I’d say, yes.”

    “Ok, there’s a specialty shop on Westnedge that caters to people like you. They sell all kinds of hot dishes and they give you throw away place settings too. They’re really kind of nice; I’d keep them if I were you.”

    “You mean, you’ll take me there?”

    “On one condition,” she said.

    “Anything,” Andy said. “Just name it.”

    “I get to have dinner with you and your family.”

    He shook his head in wonder and sighed with exaggerated relief. “Does the shop take credit cards?”

    “Yes, they do. I just have to stop at my apartment and change. We’ll have plenty of time to get to the shop and back to your place.”

    At her place, they enjoyed seven sevens as she changed into a black cocktail dress. She came out of the bedroom, the zipper at her back at half-mast.

    “Zip me, will you babe?”

    “Up or down?” he said.

    “It’s entirely up to you.”

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

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