Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Happy Turkey Day

This week I am excerpting holiday related sections of a new manuscript I am shopping to editors and agents.
Survivor Guilt

After the high school principal finds his truck on the roof of the school, prankster James Tiller is sentenced to sixty-six hours of community service at a local homeless shelter. Between punking people on Facebook and giving the check-out clerks at Walmart hell, his life is seemingly one big practical joke—until James’ mother is killed when a U-Haul slams into their car.Suddenly things become very serious.

Happy Turkey Day

The director of the homeless shelter where I volunteered dropped Torrence off Thursday morning. Dad had been up since 6 a.m. working on dressing the turkey. I on the other hand was not dressed. I was still in my PJs. Torrence and I sat in front of the TV eating cold cereal and watching the parade. The one with the creepy, globular balloons. The one with Buzz Lightyear the size of a cruise ship. The one with a warehouse size Hello Kitty! The one where Sponge Bob clipped the side of a lamppost and Homer Simpson ate the Empire State building. Just kidding about that last one. Dad had us eat on top of newspapers like he and Mom did when I was a messy little kid, mostly because Torrence is a messy little kid. We had Lucky Charms and Honey Nut Cheerios. I know that was a sacrifice on Dad’s part when he would have rather served us Shredded Wheat bricks.

In the past Mom and I would have gone out for dinner or ordered in. The last couple of years I traded holidays between Mom and Dad. I don’t think Mom ever once fixed a holiday meal, let alone a feast. For some reason Dad was pulling out all the stops. Every pan we owned was in use and every burner on the stove top was occupied. And this was just for three people and one of them was a five year old.

After the parade I went to a closet and got down all my old games. I wasn’t even sure if all the pieces were there or the instructions, but we managed to play Candyland and Operation. Eventually we gave up on rules and kept buzzing the tweezers inside the old geezer and dropping Cheerios into his bodily cavities. The smell from the kitchen was overpowering. Dad asked us if we wanted to pull the wishbone. I felt like I was still playing Operation. What?

“You know. Make a wish and see who gets the bigger half of the wishbone.” I looked at him skeptically. Like it was that easy?

Technically we should have waited for the wishbone to dry out so that it snapped apart. We basically kept bending it back and forth until finally I let Torrence play with it. He hung it from his ear and then balanced it on his nose. Before pronouncing it smelled nasty. No doubt.

I asked him what he wished for and he said for his Dad to come home.

I felt like crying. Instead I told him, “Good job.”

Dad called us to the table where he had arranged a centerpiece of Centerville Booster Club black and gold pygmy pumpkins. He lit some taper candles. I taught Torrence how to whisk his finger through the flame without getting burned until Dad warned us not to spill wax on the runner. Apparently a runner is the skinny tablecloth running the length of the table. Uh, okay.

There were colored paper crowns adorned with craft feathers at our plates. I asked what we were supposed to do with them. Torrence, being a perceptive dude, knew to wear his. I felt about two years old, but put mine on also. Dad had a pilgrim hat perched on top of his head.


And, the food kept coming. I couldn’t believe what Dad had been able to accomplish while we were watching TV and playing games. Torrence announced, “Good job!” I was proud of both of them. Then we got down to making the feast disappear.
notice the broken heart

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