When the Turkey cried Fowl

02- BOX - 023Charli Mills is at odds with her prompts just now. Not sure who put the grit in her grits but it’s all about jarring contrasts.

December 3, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that pairs something seasonal with something odd. You can select your own two or pick from the suggested pairings above. Keep one associated with the December holiday season.

04 - BOX - 014I don’t recall controversial Christmases. Boring, wacky, hilarious, eye opening but never aggressive or angry. Well apart for the year my Gran, my mum’s mum, got a bit squiffy on the port and lemons, fell asleep during the Queen (for those who gave up the British Empire as a bad job 200 plus years ago and others on whom the benefits of British dominion was never endowed, this means listening to Queen Liz’s Christmas message to her subjects at 3 pm every Christmas Day – part of the ritual in our house, like Mum up with the lark ‘to put the bird in’, satsumas in my Christmas stocking and Dad saying grace at Christmas dinner – by which, for once, we meant lunch – a sign of the British class divide here, or maybe the north-south divide – meals in the middle of the day were lunch to the middle classes and dinner to the working classes, save at Christmas) … where was I? Oh yes, Gran. She ate a hearty dinner, fell asleep and woke at 5 demanding food. She would only believe she’d had her turkey when she saw the destroyed carcass but swore we’d not given her Christmas pud because there was none left and the plate had been washed so there was no evidence to show her. She was angry at what she saw as her daughter’s duplicity that year.

2014-07-17 17.22.26Oh, and there was the time Mum and I were teamed for charades – I was rather full of gas after the turkey feast and had bravely held it in check in front of my gorgeous cousins but as soon as we left the room to plot our team mime my muscles gave way to the seismic forces within. Mum was half a sentence into her plan when the guttering, choking bit of Wilfred Owen’s WW1 poem about Gas! Gas! got to her. She stopped, went pale and staggered back into the sitting room collapsing on the floor into a dead faint. When she had been dragged upright she pointed at me and said, ‘How can any human body convert good food to silage so quickly?’ I suppose the only thing that saved my shame was that, at that time, my cousins didn’t know what silage was.

2014-07-17 17.23.28

The archaeologist and me, forced to look happy…



Anyway, Christmases were and are and, I hope, will remain happy, pleasant if not often especially memorable family occasions. However Charli insists we take a different stance and this foreign air I’m imbibing has once again triggered two ideas.

First there is Mary. Here’s the link to her back story

Hanging the decorations

‘Let’s do the decorations today, mum.’ Penny rubbed her hands. She loved the tradition of dressing the tree.

While Mary fetched the box and Paul put the tree in the stand, Penny disappeared to her room. ‘Look,’ she said, ‘Uncle Rupert gave it to me. He got it from Grandpa.’

Mary googled at the hand carved Santa hanging from red string. Didn’t her half-brother realise how this much would hurt?

‘Let me,’ she said.

While Paul fixed the star and Penny the tinsel, Mary coiled the string into a noose, hiding the loop in a groove. ‘All done.’

And here’s an alternative

The stuffing

‘Reindeer? But we always have turkey.’

‘It’ll be a change.’ Patrick grinned. ‘Special offer.’

Marcie swallowed her anger. Always doing things on the cheap. ‘Patrick, it’s Christmas. Can’t we forget the cost…’

Patrick’s smug grin was almost too much to bear. ‘I know you hate waste so we’ll just have to go with it.’

Patrick was pleased when, later, Marcie began hunting for a recipe. ‘The stuffing,’ she said. ‘It has to be perfect.’

Patrick carved. Inside there was a roasting bag. ‘For you Patrick.’

He held the divorce papers in sticky fingers.

‘It won’t be cheap,’ she said.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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25 Responses to When the Turkey cried Fowl

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Woo hoo! Both flash fictions have a definite kick! Mary hangs Santa and divorce is served for dinner. Not to mention cheap reindeer steaks. Must be that inspiring fresh air and adventure. 🙂 And speaking of fresh air, I think I went afoul in offering you an extra bowl of beans!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Norah says:

    I love your hot air anecdote! I know a few people around here with the same silage-creating ability. Not myself of course!
    And the two of you poor boys, forced to look happy beside a fully-laden Christmas tree. Life can be so tough!
    Mary’s story continues. When will Rupert learn how hurtful he is to Mary? Is it intentional, or does he just not get it? While he is so kind to Penny, he doesn’t seem to understand or respect Mary’s feelings at all.
    And another quirky dinner menu to match the pork and kiwi. Love it. Well done!
    A very amusing read. 🙂


  3. Annecdotist says:

    Lovely pair of flashes, Geoff. How about a reindeer recipe next time? You might be starting a new trend in alternative Christmases.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Archaeologist says:

    You failed to mention two other curious aspects of our family Christmas.
    The first was the tree, then as now there were two options for most people. A real pine tree, either cut down or in a pot, or an artificial tree. Mum went for the third option. She thought buying a real tree was a waste of money, and considered artificial trees a bit naff. So she made a tree each year. She would find a suitable branch that had a rough Christmas-tree shape to it, then we gathered pine branches and wired them to the branch. She considered that no one would notice that it wasn’t a real tree when it was covered with tinsel and baubles.
    The second was wrapping paper, it seemed such a waste only using it once. So we were under strict orders to unwrap each parcel carefully, then the paper would be ironed and put away for the following year. Some paper lasted for many Christmases.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. willowdot21 says:

    Brilliant all round brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ruchira says:

    Loved it!!

    Both the stories had so much poignance in it, yet the contrast!


  7. Great flashes Geoff. Particularly like the divorce papers. I think he was stuffed in the end.


  8. Great photos, all. Love the story of your Gran. Hilarious. I’m sure not so much at the time…

    Reindeer meat? Geoff! Wrong. So wrong. And Anne wanting a recipe. Who are you people? Love Mary’s flash, as always. (It’s become hers now, not yours. Just saying.) I don’t think I trust Rupert. He can’t be that much of a dolt.


  9. Sherri says:

    The reindeer isn’t the only one who got stuffed here Geoff…great idea. Why didn’t I think of that, haha! I mean before, obviously…but let’s not go there. Anyway, moving on…just to say had a great laugh at your Christmas memories, classic. As for the gas explosion, of course nothing like that ever happens in our house… 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Reindeer Games « Carrot Ranch Communications

  11. rogershipp says:

    Two enjoyable pieces… love the silage reference.. I’ll use that oe here in the valley. The scene with the divorce papers… priceless!


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