- Arthur Carlson, WKRP in Cincinnati
Holidays in my family always suck. As usual I was looking forward to still more major league suckage this Thanksgiving. Dad was away on a hunt. We were stuck in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Maybe I shouldn’t bitch too much. Dean was home. He broke his arm in two places during the last hunt, so Dad left him here with me. Otherwise Dad would have dumped me at Pastor Jim’s house in Blue Earth, or Bobby’s place in South Dakota while he and Dean went off to hunt and kill some fugly somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I like Pastor Jim. And Bobby too. But I always got nervous whenever Dean went out on a hunt. I was afraid he’d never come back. When he was sick or injured Dad always left him with me. I used to feel guilty for being glad about that. Not anymore.
Anyway, that morning we walked to the Safeway down the street from the rented house we’re staying in. Got enough food to last for the next two weeks, but we couldn’t afford a turkey. I wasn’t happy about that. Turkey’s traditional, you know? Just once I’d like to have a normal holiday.
Dean turned to me and smirked. “Come on, Sammy. Let’s head on over to the mall.”
That mischievous glint in his eyes let me know something was up.
“We just maxed out the credit cards, Dean.” I juggled the shopping bags in both hands. “You’re good, even with one arm in a sling, but if you’re planning on using a five finger discount to score a turkey you might as well know I don’t have cash money to bail you out of jail.”
“Oh ye of little faith. Come on, dude.”
Ten minutes later we stood on the far side of the Pinedale mall parking lot. Around us crowds of people did normal stuff. Parking their cars. Shopping. Families together.
That pissed me off. Again.
Dean looked at his watch. Then he reached into the front pocket of his fatigue jacket and pulled out a pair of binoculars. I wasn’t expecting that. Wasn’t expecting him to glass the sky above the parking lot, either.
I sat down on the ground in a huff with the bags. “All right. What’s going on?”
I heard a noise. It was a helicopter flying in from the east. Civilian ’copter. At first I couldn’t read what was on the banner trailing behind it. Then I recognized the words: Happy Thanksgiving from WKRP.
“Right on time. Here we go,” Dean muttered.
I didn’t like this. Not at all. “Wait a minute. Isn’t this the same station that gave away all those blonde wigs to earthquake survivors in Guatemala?”
“Yep.” Dean didn’t lower the binoculars. He was totally zeroed in on the helicopter. “So you know whatever happens is going to be epic. Totally epic and completely fucked up.”
The helicopter hovered over the middle of the parking lot. People milled around below. I didn’t understand that. I thought the helicopter was going to land.
I was wrong.
Something dark dropped out of the side. I knew it couldn’t have been a skydiver. Too small. And the helicopter was only two thousand feet up. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I kept waiting for a chute to open, though. Another dark object fell out. And then another.
Then I realized what was going on.
“My God, Dean, they’re turkeys!”
“Yep.” Dean lowered the binoculars. He grinned from ear to ear.
The people below scattered. The first bird frantically beat its wings as it dropped. Didn’t do the poor thing any good. It hit the windshield of a car nearby. Glass shattered. The second bird squawked all the way down. The noise it made was cut short when it hit the pavement with a sickening wet splat, like a sack of wet cement. That made me flinch.
I remembered something from school just then: domestic turkeys can’t fly. They’re too heavy.
Eight more turkeys were tossed out of the side of the helicopter. People screamed. They ducked and dodged incoming turkeys as they ran.
Oh, the humanity!
Dean tossed me the binoculars. “Be right back.”
I fumbled the catch and nearly dropped the darn thing. “Dean? Wait a minute!”
He sprinted across the parking lot like a deer. People ran away from the scene. Only my big brother would run into that mess.
The idiots in the helicopter must have decided that enough was enough. They didn’t throw any more birds out. Instead the helicopter moved back in the opposite direction, looking for a big enough place to land.
I used the binoculars to track Dean. I knew what he was doing. He was looking for the birds with the least amount of damage. He circled the area like a coyote or a wolf on the prowl. One of the turkeys landed on top of this man whose arms were filled with parcels. Dude screamed, clutched his packages to his chest and stumbled forward when the bird hit him. The turkey bounced off with its wings flapping, but it hit the pavement wrong and broke its neck.
Dean darted in and grabbed it up. He scooped up another bird nearby. I still don’t know how he was able to do that with only one good arm, but he did. Then he turned and ran back.
I lowered the binoculars and quirked an eyebrow at him when he came back. Dean smirked. He looked pretty damn pleased with himself. He lifted both birds up by the necks with one hand, the mighty hunter with his catch. The turkeys looked pretty banged up. I almost felt sorry for them.
My bitchface came out in full force.
Dean rolled his eyes. “What? You’re always bitching about us never having a proper Thanksgiving. Now we got one, so drop the attitude. We scored enough food to last until Dad gets back.”
“Oh all right!” I slung the binoculars around my neck by the strap. I kept right on grumbling as I stood up and gathered up the bags.
I tried not to grin. I didn’t mind plucking feathers. Knowing Dean he’d probably just skin the damn things. That was fine by me. He knew his way around a kitchen, even with one only one arm. And with the stuff we’d gotten from the market, I knew we’d have a decent Thanksgiving dinner for once. I’d probably be sick of turkey after two weeks, but that was okay too.
Dean turned towards home, but the sound of the ’copter landing caught his attention. I turned to look too. The helicopter landed on the opposite side of the lot. The side doors of the helicopter opened again and ten live turkeys were pushed out onto the parking lot.
Two men wearing business suits came out next. I guess they were trying to shoo the turkeys away. Maybe they thought someone in the crowd was still going to catch one. Didn’t turn out that way.
The turkeys turned and attacked the two men. They jumped on their backs. Pecked at their heads, hands and clothes. Those birds looked royally pissed. It was payback time.
That did it. I couldn’t hold my bitchface anymore. Dean and I laughed all the way home. Just because, y’know.
Spending the day in the kitchen with my big brother? As a Winchester, I’ve had worse holidays, all things considered.
This one wasn’t going to suck after all.
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