Turkeys -- A scene for Thanksgiving

In honor of the impending food porn holiday, I'm posting an old scene from the second play I ever wrote, and the first that was performed in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's from a collection of scenes on loving called, ehm, "12 Scenes About Loving". Catchy title, yes? Here you are. Enjoy. Read it aloud with your family or post it on Youtube. You'll make me happy doing this.

Inquisitive Turkey (Pondering his doom?)


(by Tanya Eby who is an honorary Turkey)

NARRATOR:  You know this scene.  You’re wearing clothes that are too tight and too uncomfortable.  Your crazy Aunt Betty is talking to the spot on the wall.  Your Mom and Dad look older than you remember.  Your brothers and sisters are more obnoxious.  And no matter how old and mature you get, as soon as you get around your family, you’re twelve years old again.  It’s the time for giving thanks.

LIL:  Harold, could you grab the turkey? Dad can’t lift it.

MARGIE:  Everyone got something to drink?

HAROLD:  No, Dad, I’ve got it.

EM:  For Chrissakes let him lift the turkey.

RICH: I was sitting there Em.

EM:  Shut up.

RICH: My glass is there.

EM: Sit over there.

RICH: You can plainly see my glass sweating in front of you.

EM: Always a poet.

HAROLD:  Sit down, ma, will ya?

MARGIE: James, you can’t sit with mommy.  Let’s move you so you can sit with your other cousins.

HAROLD:  Here, Dad, let me help you.

MARGIE:  I’ll be right there sweetie…James, don’t hit her.  How would you like it if she hit you? (pause)  Not now, angel!

RICH:  Em, I would appreciate having my seat back.

EM:  Appreciate, huh?

RICH:  Yes.

EM:  No.

RICH:  Now.

EM:  I’m not moving.

RICH crawls over her and sits next to her.

HAROLD:  Mom, sit down.

LIL:  Are you gonna let Dad carve the turkey?

EM: Jesus Christ, look at him with that knife.

RICH:  Someone get Dad the electric knife. He’s gonna kill someone.

EM:  Shut up, Rich. He’ll hear you.

RICH: Dad’s as deaf as stone.

EM: There you go again—we’ll just call you Robert Frost from now on.

RICH: I prefer Dylan Thomas, thank you.

MARGIE: Dad is not deaf.

LIL: Hey, Dad, you deaf?

EM: He’s not answering.

LIL: He can’t hear anything.

EM: He’s not deaf. He’s ignoring you.

RICH: Hey, Dad, you still giving it to Mom?


RICH: Mom’s deaf too.

HAROLD: Jesus, look at them smiling like that.  They’re both deaf and old.

MARGIE: They are not deaf and old.

EM: That’s right. They’re insane. There’s a difference.

MARGIE: Everyone got a seat?

LIL: Obviously.

MARGIE: Something to drink?

RICH: Cheerio.

HAROLD: Cheerio old chap.

EM: Would you guys shut up?

MARGIE: James, stop eating.  We have to wait for your grandpa to pray.

LIL: You guys remember last Thanksgiving?

HAROLD: Dad prayed for ten minutes.

MARGIE: Shhhhhh.  He’ll hear you.

HAROLD: Dad, make it short, will ya? I’m starving.

MARGIE: Shhhhhhh….

EM: Shhhhhhhh, yourself.

They bow their heads.  There is a long, long pause.  RICH and EM start poking each other. LIL bites her nails.  HAROLD looks up wide-eyed.  MARGIE remains focused in perfect prayer-position.

RICH: Jesus.

EM: Shut up.

A long pause.

EM: Good God, he’s going for the record.

LIL: Come on, Em.  Shut up and listen.

MARGIE : And stop swearing in front of the kids.

EM: I don’t swear.

MARGIE: You swear all the time.

EM: Fuck you.  I do not.

LIL: Both of you, shut up!

RICH: How old are you guys anyway?

LIL & EM: Shut up!

A pause.  They bow their heads.  They begin to look confused. HAROLD starts snickering. Everyone except MARGIE starts laughing.

MARGIE: He did not just say that.

RICH: He did.

MARGIE: He did not.

HAROLD: He did.

MARGIE: I did not hear my father just ask God to keep his (whispered) sex like healthy for another year.

LIL: Oh, my God.  Look at Mom smiling.

MARGIE: He did not just say that.

EM: He did.

MARGIE: James! Knock it off!

EM: I’m getting a creek in my neck.

RICH: Huh?

EM: A creek.  In my neck.

RICH: Is that the right word?

EM: You and your words.  My fucking neck hurts.

MARGIE: Could we please not swear for one minute while Dad prays to God for our family?

RICH: If it were only a minute maybe, but, Jesus, the turkey’s decomposing.

LIL: Oh, thanks, Rich.

RICH: No problem.

LIL: Now while I’m eating I’m going to think about flesh rotting.

RICH: Hey, no problem.  Glad I could provide a clear image for you

HAROLD: Hey, Rich, what happened o you and that woman?

RICH: What woman?

MARGIE: Will you guys be quiet and listen to dad?

HAROLD: That woman…you know…with the big…

RICH: Oh…..

MARGIE: I don’t think you should be discussing amorous relationships during a prayer.

HAROLD: Who said there was anything amorous about their relationship?  You were just sleeping together, right?

RICH: Yeah.  Which is why I didn’t want to bring her here.  I didn’t know if she’d be able to ward off Dad.

LIL: Oh, shut up!

MARGIE: That’s disgusting.

EM: My potatoes are freezing.

HAROLD: Hey, Margie.  Check out your little angel over there.

MARGIE: James?

RICH: Wow!  That’s really something!

MARGIE: James, get that fork out of your nose, you could puncture your brain.

EM: Wonder what else he could fit up there.

RICH: Hey, James, look at this!

RICH is trying to put his entire fist in his mouth.

MARGIE: Honestly, I don’t know where he gets it from.  Stop that!

RICH: Sorry.

THEY bow their heads and continue to listen to the prayer.

HAROLD begins to sing a limbo tune.

EM: Shut up!

HAROLD: Listen, I’m about to fall asleep so before I do, I thought I’d offer us a little entertainment.

EM: You need to take lessons.

HAROLD: You gonna pay for them?

EM: You gonna pay me the fifty bucks you still owe me?

HAROLD:I don’t owe you fifty bucks.

LIL: Yes you do. I remember.

HAROLD: What do you mean, you remember?

LIL: Well, Em borrowed the money from me to give to you.

EM: I did not.

LIL: Yes you did.

EM: That was fifteen years ago.

LIL: And the interest is still accruing.

EM: You did not add interest to it.

LIL: Yes I did.

EM: You are such an ass.

MARGIE (exploding with pent up fury): SHUT UP!!!!!!


Dead quiet.

MARGIE: That was a lovely thing Dad just said and you missed it.

RICH (softly): Well, what did he say?

MARGIE: I forget. It was something about clouds.