Turkey Day was fast approaching and the moment I had been dreading since arriving in the Creators Realm was here.
For the past few months, I have spent my days cocooned in Professor Zell’s protective care. It was he who encouraged me to remember vividly my past life in Cratersville, while gradually embracing a new life in the Realm that he had always called home.
Revelations had come swift and steady. Instead of grounding me, however, these only added to my sense of dislocation.
While I never felt truly at home in Cratersville, I had never been itching to get out like Blueberry. My high school years were more like the slow walk of dread. I knew I didn’t belong, yet I didn’t know where I was supposed to be going.
The tragic last year of high school and my abrupt entry into the Creators Realm left me stranded in a wilderness of despair. I was numb, I was sad, I was wistful. I refused to believe my only joy would come from reminiscing of days past, yet I was unsure of how to move forward.
When November finally came, Professor Zell made an offer to host a Turkey Day feast in my honor.
I was hesitant at first. Zell had no history at hosting Turkey Day festivities. He was a Creator partnered to a Patron, and despite his interest in ancient Earth cities such as New York, his life was far from the kitschy life I led in Cratersville with its saccharine holidays.
At last, I relented, scheduling a planning session two weeks before the big day.
We met in a small, yet ornate room located somewhere near his Creation Room. I say “somewhere near” for the rooms that Professor Zell inhabited seemed to always be reconfiguring themselves from one day to the next.
Professor Zell was sipping on a drink that had been brought from the kitchen by one of the myriads of creatures that kept his vast celestial domicile running.
He was dressed in a flowing blue robe adorned with golden symbols. The drink in his hand looked just as wizardly. It was electric blue. It was in a martini glass. It was smoking. I wasn’t sure if it was alcoholic. I hoped for his sake it was.
I started our planning session by opening the cookbook I had been gifted on Winter Wish past by Blueberry’s sister, Bluesy. The cookbook contained holiday recipes all personally curated and scribed in Bluesy’s immaculate hand.
The previous day, I had selected the recipes that featured regularly at the Turkey Days our families shared.
Dishes such as green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, oven roasted veggies, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, bread dressing, turkey friendly gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and the ubiquitous jello salad were all present and accounted for.
I reviewed the menu with Professor Zell, while a diminutive creature named Music Box transcribed each recipe into a symbol-based script more familiar to the kitchen staff.
When Music Box was finished, Professor Zell gathered and reviewed the recipes. At times, he would scratch something out and write something new instead.
After a while, I asked him what he was doing.
“Editing out any ‘substitutions’ Music Box may have made,” he replied, drily.
“What kind of ‘substitutions?’” I asked, feeling a bit nervous.
He picked up a recently edited recipe. “Instead of ‘crispy fried onions,’ for your—no doubt—tasty green bean casserole, she had written down ‘crispy fried worms.’”
“Music Box!” I shrieked. “Worms weren’t on the menu in Cratersville!”
Music Box rolled her eyes. She then wrote a response, which she handed to me. It spoke in lieu of the voice she did not have.
“No, but a selection of creepy delectables better be on the menu if you want me to attend. I am invited to the party—aren’t I?”
“Of course you’re invited!”
Music Box was always by Professor Zell’s side. She was his go between, his organizer, his helper. She was also an all around busy body. She knew all the juicy gossip and was no doubt a fine purveyor of it too. You didn’t dis her. Not that I would. I liked Music Box, even though her choice in nourishment was suspect.
“Instead of crossing out her ‘substitutions,’” I offered diplomatically, “just add the original ingredient with a side note: ‘make both versions.’”
I turned to Music Box. “Happy?”
She wrote a reply. “Very. I wasn’t relishing the idea of noshing on nothing but rainbow chubbies the entire evening.”
Rainbow chubbies were Music Box’s delicacy of choice. I’ll save you all the juicy details. Let’s just say that ‘chubbies’ were usually served in a bowl of rich, loamy dirt. Delish.
Of course, there were still the other guests I had to consider. I suggested that Professor Zell serve a few dishes of more familiar fare for his friends and extended family. There’s only so much traditional, mid-century Americana food that one could consume in one sitting—especially, for the uninitiated.
“What about the guest of honor?”
Professor Zell may not have known a lot about a Turkey Day feast, but a missing turkey recipe was just too obvious to ignore.
“Yes, about that…” I struggled on how to proceed. “Instead, of ingesting turkey on Turkey Day, Poppy and I had come up with something even better.”
“Go on,” Professor Zell said.
Taking a deep breath, I told him the story of how Poppy and I had turned a simple Thanksgiving Day Feast into a Turkey Day Celebration, and how there might be an uninvited guest or two of the comically feathered variety.
After I finished my tale, I could tell that the Professor was reconsidering the whole Turkey Day event.
Nevertheless, I was certain that everyone would find a way to have a gobble, gobble good time, just as I was certain that everyone would be truly thankful when it was all over.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures