Cooter wuddn't thankful for shit this holiday season. Not even the ordinary stuff like family or homestead.
His home was a room over the stables, with a rickety rooftop that sent a steady dribble of everything from acidic rainwater to acerbic toads rainin down on his country ass.
And family? Har! Most of his kin hated his guts worse than they did homosexuals...or hygiene. All his brothers—Floyd, Duke, Doc, Forrest, Garth and Bodean—showed him no kind of attention save for sticking fingers in his asshole while his sister, Eunice, held him down in the hog pen.
Even then the only reason they touched him was so they could holler their cruel nursery rhyme. Here comes a cooter/Zit-face full o' cooties/Stick his snout inside a pig pie/And you will smell his booty/Here comes The Cooter/Shit-pants full o' manure/His face smells like manure/'Cause he drinks straight from the sewer!
Cooter hated that song almost as much as he hated being the only black kid in an otherwise all-white home for orphans.
Every time his hilljack brood were mean he'd shout, “I swear, one o' these days I'ma straight snuff yer asses.”
No one believed it. They had the guns. They had the numbers.
Not a Gat in sight, just JR with his buck-shot and Nanna with her antique armaments with cobwebbed barrels more backed up'n ole Floyd's corn-shoot after a bindin meal.
“I'll get these crackas yet,” Cooter told himself as he sobbed into his pillow and pawed at his scabrous anal fissures.
The next morning was Thanksgiving, the day white folk celebrated the annniversary of their raping and pillaging of the country's native sons.
As his bastard brethren pictured the cranberry sauce and turkey flambe they had to look forward to at supper, Cooter had fevered visions of his own, first of the Trail of Tears, calloused caravan of decrepit Injuns marching to their death by whites, then images of arrowheads and spears bubbling up in their place; he saw himself brandishing a tomahawk and splitting the dome of his youngest foster brother, peeling his scalp back and pissing on his skull, and the others good and well skull-fucked by the fright of it, scurrying for the nearest exit in tears and sheer terror. And him laughing after them, spraying the whole room with venom-tipped arrows from his quiver as he smiled and smoked some strong kush from a peace pipe.
This reverie was rudely interrupted by the accosting musk of Floyd's sweat-drenched pubes as the eldest of the orphans body slammed young Cooter and trapped Coot's mug in his massive armpit.
“Har! Har! Teach ya to be dreamin' yer clammy dreams while we're s'pposed to be doin' chores,” Floyd yapped. “C'mon, Brillo-head. Paw wants you. Now git or he'll tan your nappy hide!”
Cooter scooted off the soggy, yellowed mattress he shared with the studs and scurried across the barnyard to the house.
There he found Paw sprawled out in front of the idiot box, empty fifth of Jack Gagger whiskey in his hand and a boweevil gnawing at his naked gut, a hairy mound of grease with a deep cleft in the center out of which spilled lint fit for a nest.
Paw was a corpulent slob who useta work for the railroad til he got athlete's foot and started collecting disability. Ever since he drew that welfare check he'd been a slab of immovable meat in that very same seat, a mess of coiled springs and torn fabric that had once resembled a La-Z-Boy.
There he sat, a crooked Merkin on under a grime-encrusted trucker hat, eyes glued to that goo tube, rabbit-eared TV he'd shot enough wads at to qualify for world record of gerkin jerkin.
“Hi Paw,” Cooter said softly. “H-happy Thanksgiving...I guess.”
“Don't hi me, nigger! What thanks do I get? Put a roof over y'alls heads and get four hundred measly bucks a month for puttin food in your ingrate gullets? Shit on that arrangement, pal! This's the last time!”
Cooter's hands curled into fists. He hadn't seen a dime of that money. Not one new shirt, not even after his brothers used the one on his back as a cum rag twelve months runnin. He was ready to strike Paw in his pregnant drunkard gut when...
Doc, the cross-eyed runt of the litter, scampered in from the kitchen and threw himself into Paw's arms. The force of the child's weight against him knocked his bowels loose on the shag carpet.
Luckily, the family dog, a mongrel with one leg and three wonky eyes, ran over to nip at it, fixing himself whatever meal he could make out of the steaming clump.
Doc whispered into Paw's cauliflower ear. A hush fell over the room. All eyes fell on Cooter in muted awe.
“What, maaaan?” Cooter had had enough.
“Nanna wants you.” The old bitch in the kitchen. But why? Cooter wondered.
“You heard me, boy?!”
“Then git! 'fore you taste my boot!”
Cooter crept into the nook and looked up at the geriatric, her varicosed vag lips dragging on the dusty linoleum floor like a gorilla's knuckles, breasts swinging like floppy pendulums. He could smell her senior stink, but also something else, overwhelming.
“Blackberries?” he asked.
“Sagacious nose,” the old crone crowed. “That's why I picked you.” Jabbing a pointy skeleton finger in his forehead. “You're sharp. Not like my kin. You're a good boy, that's why you're gonna get to make Thanksgiving supper with me.”
“But I wouldn't know how,” he said.
“Sure you would,” the fossil said, flashing grizzled grin. “You want them to taste yer shit as much as I do. So let's give 'em what we got, make 'em thankful they got strong stomachs, eh?”
And with that the caustic cook was on.
Cooter handed Nanna a lightbulb and she broke it under her house slippered foot. He brushed up the bits and she dumped them in with pits. She jerked him off real proud and he produced a quart on a trowel, she sopped the rest up with her tongue and spit on a ladel and into meatloaf it went.
Soon all ingredients were in the stew, potatoes mashed with cheesy feet and gravy's giblets made from poo, fresh dumpling from both their bowels, each doled out with that trowel.
With starters done they licked the main course, hoisting the turkey up and slamming it down where Nanna could clamber up on to the counter and scissor herself with the drumsticks while Cooter plucked dingleberries and cheered her on.
When all that was done, Nanna worked on the sauce—scooping Sissy's premenstrual snatch pad outta the trash can for cranberry color—and told Cooter to select a special ingredient for their dreadful dross.
“It has to be something that means something to you and also to them.
Something'll get the goats of your slut sister and bastard brothers.”
Cooter nodded, knowing just what to do. He slunk off with a two-pronged fork and returned to the living room.
When Cooter returned, his Nanna was so taken with his selection that she pressed him to her bulbous bosom and they each sprouted an erection. And so it was that Cooter and Nana joined hand in hand and humped the kitchen counter, taking turns at pumping the turkey's neck-hole.
For the piece-de-resistance, every year, Nanna made her specialty—the Turducken, a de-boned duck inside a de-boned game hen inside a plump Butterball. Only this year the birds wouldn't be free of bones and the butter would not be believed as butter...
Cooter was ugly and unpopular, this much was true. And he was a Negro, which set him back a ways in these parts. But drop some logic on those fools he did this holiday season. As he and Nanna wheeled out their Thanksgiving supper, all stood in dour honor and hunger, heads bowed in admiration for Cooter, the chosen grandson.
After a prayer, they each dug in, ravenous as they buried their slick faces in slimy strips of browned skin and fluffy taters. Those gray curlies made delicious sprouts! And everyone—Floyd, Duke, Doc, Forrest, Garth and Bodean, and lil Sissy—licked their fingers clean, mming and ooing as they inhaled their plates.
Then their mitts fought over scraps, snatching the last of the bird and one made the fatal mistake of asking, “Why's them sausages so thick all knotted up in this here ribcage?”
And as Garth gobbled and swallowed Cooter hooked his thumb in the air, gesturing to the La-Z-Boy where Paw sat, gutted. And that's when everyone seated at the table puked in a hue brown, green and yellow—brown from the “giblets,” green from the globules, and yellow from a mixture of Nanna's piss and Cooter's jizzurp.
Nanna brought up her cane, waving it in their faces, saying, “Grab yerselves some straws, now, brats. An' show the good Lord you ain't ungrateful.”