Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)
TITLE: Fowl Play
By Bryan Ridenour
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“Lola….” Charlie griped. “We’re having what?”
“I heard you,” she huffed, slamming the oven door. “We’re gonna have tofurky.”
Charlie stomped to the living room and thumped into his easy chair. “Tofurky isn’t even an animal,” he thundered.
“Now listen here, honey,” Lola said, right at Charlie's heels. “Since I do all the cooking around here, I decided we’re gonna have a green Thanksgiving.”
“Green?” he asked, obviously shocked.
Muting the television, Charlie groaned to his feet. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” By the look in her eyes, he knew she meant business. “But what’s Pops gonna say? This Thanksgiving could be his last and we’re gonna serve him tofurky?”
Ignoring his comment, she walked back to the kitchen and returned carrying a plain white box. “This,” she began, digging inside, “is a succulent wreath. Every bit is all natural. How will it look as a centerpiece?”
Charlie studied the knotted moss tied around a piece of grapevine. “My fishing hooks hang up on stuff like this down at the creek,” he commented, unimpressed. “Where’d you get it?”
“I bought it online.”
“How much?” he asked, dreading the response.
Charlie winced and grabbed his chest at the answer. “We’re not going green, we’re losing it,” he moaned.
A loud rapping at the front door sent Lola scampering to make final preparations. Charlie shuffled to the door, already wishing the day was over.
“Hey Pops,” Charlie greeted, putting on an artificial smile.
“Hi Son,” he responded with a bear hug. “Well, aren’t you gonna invite me in?”
“Oh sure,” Charlie answered, sliding out of the way.
Pops hobbled in, leaning on a cane. Sticking two fingers in his mouth, he blew heartily. A half-crippled dog limped in, responding to the shrill whistle. “I hope you don’t mind me bringing Buster.” Looking at Charlie with doleful eyes, Buster’s tongue dangled out the corner of his mouth.
“Of course not Pops,” Charlie assured, scratching the canine’s ears.
“We’re hungry, Charlie. Is it time to eat?”
“Uh, Pops...just about”
Charlie and Pops sat at the table laden with steaming bowls of vegetables and a basket of hot rolls. Balancing a large platter, Lola backed into the dining room and placed the main fare near her husband. “Here honey,” she said handing him cutlery, “you have the honor.”
“Charlie,” Pops joked, “you’ve gotta defective bird. He doesn’t have any legs.”
Charlie winced and glanced at his wife. Lola draped a cloth napkin on her lap, meeting her father-in-law’s eyes. “It’s not supposed to have any legs Poppy. It’s tofurky.”
Pops looked from Lola to Charlie. “It’s true Dad,” Charlie gulped.
“I decided we should go green this year,” Lola informed.
Charlie cut off a piece and Pops jabbed it with a fork. “If I eat this, I’ll be turnin’ green alright.”
Charlie stifled a grin. Lola’s eyes blazed. “Pops,” she responded through gritted teeth, “it doesn’t hurt to do something to help the environment.”
Pops tipped his plate, treating Buster to an unexpected meal. “Give him about an hour, and he’ll go out in the front yard. Come Spring, that spot will be greener.”
Lola threw down her napkin and stormed into the kitchen.
“Pops,” Charlie scolded.
Soon cackling laughter erupted from behind the kitchen door. Lola reappeared with a large beautiful bird, basted to perfection. Pops guffawed, slapping his knee.
“What’s going on here?” Charlie questioned.
“Well dear, my pranks never work on April 1st, so Pops and I thought we’d get you today.”
Charlie grinned from ear to ear, setting the tofurky platter in front of a tail-wagging Buster. Grabbing the knife, Charlie began to carve. “For the environmentalists, there’s still some good news.”
“What’s that?” Lola asked smiling.
Charlie pointed at Buster. “He’s still goin' green.”
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