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Thanksgiving with the McBorbleys

Thanks given on November 27, 2022.

This week was Thanksgiving and I had been invited to dine with the McBorbleys.

Borb McBorbley and I had buried the hatchet just last week. He forgave me for the ham brick incident, the phone calls, the Italian sub incident, the 9-1-1 prank calls, and even the hatchet incident a few weeks ago that had left him with a skull fracture and a bent cornea. I forgave him for being a comically banal cliché of a middle-aged man.

Borbra McBorbley was out of the nut house and forgave me all my trespasses, too. She forgave me for the coffee incident. She forgave me for the ziti (with lines) incident. She even forgave me for loitering unwanted about the Cthulomat and finally destroying it with a barrel of bull semen. I forgave her for being a hideous, tentacled she-beast that on numerous occasions had tried to murder me and devour my corpse. I even gave her a hatchet, slightly used, to bury in her back yard.

Norb, proprietor of the erstwhile spam-canning plant, even forgave me for being responsible for erstwhiling his plant. And I forgave him for feeding me 64,500 cans of spam that was really shit.

Porb wouldn’t forgive me for what I did with his Silesian shipping gnomes, and Forb still hated me for my frivolous lawsuits. But the rest of the family forgave me for existing, and I forgave them for existing. So Porb and Forb could keep hating. I didn’t care.

It didn’t make sense, and it didn’t have to.



Being a highly responsible person, known far and wide for my consistent constancy and prudent temperance, the responsibility fell upon me to procure for our Thanksgiving noshing the turkey, stuffing, vegetables, pies, and any and all other jigglypuffery. I was of course overjoyed: Turkey-picking, like surmising and gnomeslaying, is one of those areas in which I shine. My dear old Mamårp said I was not only a good surmiser, but an even better turkey-picker.

Naturally, my choice of turkeymongers was Terwilliger’s Turkery, my town’s biggest turkey farm, right next to the Terwilliger Street Topiary and Terwilliger Street Toffiary (purveyors of fine toffee, taffy, coffee beans, and toffee beans). Terwilliger’s Turkery was one of the oldest businesses still in operation ’round these parts: It comprised over 150 acres of free-range, sustainable, cruelty-free, vegan turkeys. Founded by Terrance Willem Terwilliger in a year so long ago they hadn’t even started numbering them consistently, the Turkery had survived WWI, WWII, the Great Depression, the treacle mine explosion of 1829, the Great Recession, and even the Great Fluffernutter Deluge of 1958. According to Wikipedia, Terwilliger’s Turkery had even been the farm that supplied the original Plymouth colonists with their turkeys that fateful Thanksgiving in 1621. Once again I marveled at how much useful information could be found at the free encyclopedia that even a turkey could edit. The Internet was truly a wonderful thing.

I arrived bright and early at the Turkery on Tuesday—jerky, perky, and quirky as always. The turkeys were already out in the field—acres of them, planted in neat rows, awaiting their fate as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Satanmas dinners. Lurking turkeys they were, also all perky, and some equally as quirky as yours truly—for example, the one or two wearing fezzes, and the small crop of cross-eyed, three-eyed ones planted in the field abutting the old treacle mine. But none were as jerky as the Grand Pnårpissimo.

The turkeys lurked, and I lurked about too, furtively waiting—biding my time, down on my haunches, waiting, yes waiting… then, when it was time, I lurched over the electric fence and ran out into the field, gobbling loudly myself, flapping my arms about like wings, adding one more comma-delimited clause to this sentence, and then seizing the first lurking turkey I could get my bare, bear hands on. Turkeys, like geese, have necks that make excellent handles! The turkey gobbled in protest. I gobbled louder—a witty retort for sure, to anyone who could speak Turkeyese. The other turkeys started gobbling. Everyone was gobbling. I started cursing and swearing in a mix of Turkeyese and Turkish. Kaşar! Orospu çocuğu!

Ananı sikerim! The turkeys cursed at me in Turkish too.

I threw back my loudest, shrillest insult: Bok! Bok! Bok, bok, bok! Then I realized the turkeys probably thought I had turned into a psychotic chicken, so I stopped clucking turkishly. Memories of roast goose in place of turkey last year flashed across my synapses. But then I recalled this docile & perfunctory page is a blog, not a clip show, so I stopped that, too.

One of the farmhands came ambling out into the field to see what the gobbling, clucking din was about. He didn’t start gobbling. He didn’t start clucking, either. He stopped dead in his tracks and just watched the spectacle: The sight of a man manhandling a bird and swinging it by the neck above his own head. He just stood and stared. I have that effect on people. (I think his name was Torb.)

I birdhandled the hapless turkey to the trunk of my Snoodabaker, went over to the dumbfounded farmhand, and paid him for his bird with the single Turkish kuruş I coincidentally had in my pocket. I thanked him kindly for the turkey (“Yerk you! Go jerk a turkey!”) and drove off with nary a backward glance. My trunk was gobbling insistently. I gobbled back at it. I would have the last word here. I always have the last word with a bird.

Upon arriving home, I stuffed the feathered beastie into my chest freezer and locked and chained the lid. I would have a frozen bird in no time. All this turkey work had made me hungry, so I pulled a stick of pepperoni out of my breast pocket (I was wearing a double-breasted, three-piece suit this whole time, along with my Turkish fez and bolo tie—didn’t I mention that?) and ate it whole. That is to say, I ate my three-piece suit whole. The pepperoni I saved for later.

Acquiring the stuffing, vegetables, pies, and other jigglypuffery went much more smoothly, so I shan’t bore you with the details. But in the interim, I did name my new turkey. A nameless bird couldn’t be properly sacrificed to the Owl Gods when the time came, and we simply couldn’t have that, now could we.

It didn’t make sense, and it didn’t have to.

What to do next with Herc the Turkey was rather murky—I had never made a Thanksgiving dinner from a live bird before—but I was sure I would figure it out. I figure everything out eventually (except how those gnomes kept getting back under my wainscoting). The chest freezer rattled and gobbled softly. I set a barrel of bacon grease atop it and went back upstairs.



Later I would be stuffing Becasue until she burst, but right now we had a bird to stuff. It was Wednesday afternoon. “No time” had turned out to be four entire days, but the deed was finally done: Herc the Turkey was frozen solid, frozen through and through—a veritable turkcicle. I wrested the stiff bird from the chest freezer, wrestled him upstairs, and heaved him onto my countertop with a loud, boar-like grunt. Becasue watched me curiously. My big little redheaded huzzey-muffet always watched me curiously. I have that effect on her.

I frowned. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to stuff a frozen bird with. But after a few hours of gathering things from around my palatial abode, I felt confident I knew what I was doing. While Herc was doing his best Jack Torrance impression, I stuffed and stuffed and stuffed him. I sent Becasue off in search of the stack of old cookbooks that my dear old Mamårp had given me; I knew they were somewhere in my 157-room house, but the gnomes had purloined them back in 2015.7 and hidden somewhere in those 157 rooms. Perhaps one of those cookbooks would elucidate how to stuff stuffing up the bum of a solidly frozen bird.

It didn’t make sense and it didn’t have to.

But at least one thing was assured: No one would be accusing me of screwing a pheasant this week!



“We may be on our way to our own perpetual grease fire,” I intoned with some consternation. Terwilliger and Farnsworth Street both had theirs, so why couldn’t my very own Bouillabaisse Boulevard? My consternation gave way to civic pride.

It was Thanksgiving morning. I had spent all day yesterday stuffing stuffing into Herc, cooking vegetables, making pies, performing eldritch rituals to ward off the demonic and silithicine creatures that had now taken up residence in my bedroom ceiling, and finally, heating up one of my 55-gallon drums of bacon grease until it could serve as an enormous deep fryer in which to cook the finest Thanksgiving turkey this side of the Whatanagawatchee. Melting 55 gallons of bacon grease atop my defrigerator had taken another four days, so it was fortunate the gnomes kept adding more days to this week between Tuesday and Thanksgiving. Most people only get one (“Wednesday”). I get as many as I need. My pride gave way to smug satisfaction.

It didn’t make sense and it didn’t have to.

A stack of pies sat on my kitchen countertop. Pumpkin pie, squash pie, cranberry pie, crudberry pie, insidious flobcumber pie, and even obsidious flobcumber pie—I had made them all. Pork pie, goat pie, cow pie, and fish pie, too. Every conceivable Thanksgiving vegetable had been cooked, steamed, roasted, boiled, broiled, or frouboulléed—I had mashed potatoes, smashed potatoes, yams, both candied and uncandied, green beans, blue-green beans, red-green beans, colorblind beans, squash, squish, squoosh, and sasquatch. Corn on the cob, corn in a bowl, corn gone right, and corn gone wrong. So much corn. And all of it flavored with pumpkin spice like everything must be in November.

Herc, frozen and stuffed, hung suspended on a pulley and chain above the 55-gallon vat of bubbling bacon grease sitting atop my cook stove. Becasue watched the scene curiously from the other side of the house. The gnomes were safely ensconced behind the wainscoting, peeping and whirring at me softly. I grasped the chain in my goaty hands and began lowering it.

My nose set in grim determination, I watched as Herc dropped toward the oily cauldron. “Gobble, gobble, motherf———,” I muttered darkly, and let go of the chain. I had done the math earlier: 55 gallons of 360 °F bacon grease, a few kilojoules of thermal energy, a 15 kg bird at −10 °F falling into the bubbling liquid at 9.8 m/s2, the speed of light in air being 299,702,458 m/s, …multiply this, divide that, carry the one gnome, subtract the weight of the feathers, the beak, and the old cookbooks that I had stuffed inside the carcass, and …the bird would be fully cooked in less than 71.7 seconds.

The bird splashed into the superheated oil. I held my breath and counted. “One, two, three…”



It was perfect. Not even one drop of oil had splashed out onto the stove. Nothing had gone wrong. (Well, except some corn.) Beneath the calm surface of the 360 °F oil, the bird was cooking serenely. “Hah, shows what you know, Internet!” I chootled smugly. My smug satisfaction gave way to smugger satisfaction. I recalled all the horror stories online of people trying to deep-fry a frozen turkey—tales that ended in disaster and conflagration and fourth-degree burns. Yet, I had proven them all wrong. Once again I marveled at how much worthless misinformation could be found anywhere and everywhere online. The Internet was truly an awful, awful thing.



Thanksgiving dinner was a smashing success. Borb and Borbra told me it was the finest turkey they had ever eaten, especially the crispy feathers. Norb complimented me on my choice of stuffing ingredients, most of all the old telephone handset and wads of shredded magazines from the 1990s. Porb ate all three drumsticks.

The gnomes had hidden in my wainscoting until we departed for the McBorbleys with our turkey and all the fixin’s. The moment the front door was locked, they emerged and got up to their usual wheedling and needling mischief. When Becasue and I arrived back home, I found my kitchen in complete, disastrous disarray. An overturned, empty barrel of bacon grease lay on the floor. A chain fall was embedded in one wall, a Trabant engine in the other. There was a turkey-sized and -shaped hole in the drop ceiling panels above what had been my defrigerator—but which was now a crumpled heap of metal still spewing blue flame from a broken gas line.

55 gallons of bacon grease, give or take a droplet or two, now mostly solidified, covered the ceiling, floor, walls, cabinets, fixtures, trinkets, baubles, dibdaubles, and every other surface in sight (both Euclidean and non-Euclidean alike). Worst of all, the cabinet-dwelling skeezle-wumpus had escaped.

Memories of cooking mini beef ravioli flashed through my walnut-sized brain, but that was neither here nor there now. What was here was a kitchen thoroughly gnomed to death. I was flabbergasted how the little bearded and befezzed fiends could wreak so much destruction in just four hours—and with nothing more than lard, a gas stove, and a frozen turkey stuffed with, inter alia, eleven sticks of dynamite. But they were gnomes and, like the Owl Gods, there was nothing they could not do when they put their befezzed little minds to the task.

It didn’t make sense, and it didn’t have to.

A wise man once said, “You got to feed the geese to keep the blood flowing.” Becasue and I went upstairs and fed the geese.

Another wise man once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction—fiction has to make sense.” And that’s how you know all of this is true.

[Feetnote: No actual turkeys were harmed in the making of this entry. However, three squirrels were run over on the way home, a goat was sacrificed, and Porb choked on a drumstick and died en route to the hospital.]