by Gary V. Powell

These old  boys down the street, the ones with the commode in the yard and a rocking chair on top of their trailer, invited me and my little girl, Della, to their place for the holiday, and because I had off at the Smash N' Grab and ain't exactly on speaking terms with my ex or my folks, anyway, I said why the hell not, besides which the one boy, Travis (not, the goofy one, Roy, or the bucktooth, Donny), isn't that bad looking, holds a job with the county, and has a boy, Carter, about Della's age lives with him, and I figured they could play together—they love that abandoned chicken coop back in the woods—while the adults enjoyed beverages and some of Donny's homegrown, the only problem being what to take along so I didn't look like a leach, you know, but I finally settled on green bean casserole because it's kindly elegant and I had like a bunch of beans left over a week or two from the Wal-Mart deli, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and corn flakes that worked just fine instead of those fake, crispy onion rings you always get on top, and  everything would've been copasetic except about the time we got down there they put the turkey, which any dumbass knows should've been thawed out first, into the fryer, and when that frozen turkey hit that hot peanut oil, holy shit, they blew up the turkey and the fryer and brought the fire department and the Feds (who thought they'd busted a meth lab) down on us like hogs on slop, the bottom line being what should have been a nice Friendsgiving and celebration of our nation's birth turned out to be turkey chunks in the yards and second-degree burns,  maybe not the worst thing because I could have ended up with Travis instead of banana cream pudding for dessert, and neither of us can afford more kids until they get this economy fixed, stop the flood of immigrants, and kill every damn one of the terrorists.