Lucius Short Stories

Turkey Sweater

I reckon a couple of folks have noticed I ain’t been writin’ too many stories lately. What with the pandemic keepin’ everyone apart, the cold, wet weather, and your typical wintertime malaise, there ain’t been much to tell. Fortunately, the love of my life never lets me down.

I was out by the barn the other day checkin’ on the bitties and tinkerin’ around on account of bein’ bored. I had let Darla’s turkey, Tom, out to stretch his legs. Well, it seems ole Wobbly must have been as bored as I was because he started chasin’ Tom around the barn.

I suppose some could argue I should have intervened earlier than I did, but I was achin’ for some entertainment, and I finally had me some. The turkey would squawk and throw up dust and loose feathers, and Wobbly would bellow and throw spit up in the air. It was somethin’ to behold.

About the time things were reachin’ a crescendo, that dog decided to pick Tom up in his mouth. Well, Tom didn’t cotton to such actions and tried to dodge the dog. Wobbly ended up with a mouth full of back feathers, and Tom took off. I winced at the view of naked birdskin. I knew Darla was goin’ to skin the dog and me alive.

I ran over, grabbed Wobbly, and Tom took off for his pen. I reckon he had decided it was time to quit. Wobbly shook his head violently, tryin’ to get the feathers out of his drool and off his tongue. I was dodging spit and workin’ to calm him down.

When things began to settle a mite, I finally got his mouth cleaned out and then went and got cleaned up. I figured it was probably time to head back to the house. I took a peek at Tom on my way out. He was shiverin’ and hunkered down in the straw. I knew I couldn’t leave him in that state, or he might not survive.

Not trustin’ my best friend, I put Wobbly in the back of the truck and put a miserable bird in the passenger’s seat. Tom didn’t move much on account of him tryin’ to stay warm. Feelin’ sorry for the critter, I took off my coat and threw it over him before headin’ down the road.

When I pulled into the driveway, the dog was shiverin’ in the bed of the truck, and I was wishin’ my heater warmed up the cab faster. Tom had his head poked up over the dash, lookin’ more like his old self. I got the dog and the critter and headed into the house. I had already rehearsed my story for the love of my life.

I marched through the front door and hollered, “Darla, look what some critter did to your bird.”

“My bird,” yelled Darla as I heard her feet scurrying through the house.

She came in and stopped short at the sight of Tom wrapped in my coat. She pulled back the jacket, gasped, and grabbed Tom out of my arms. She kissed the top of his nasty head and then glared at me.

“What did you do to my bird?”

I made sure I stretched my eyes wide with surprise, “Nothin’ my love.”

“What about your dog?”

I reached down and petted the dog who was sittin’ there like a stone. “He ain’t harmed a hair on Tom’s head.”

Darla glared at Wobbly, “Uh-huh. What’s that thing stuck to his lip?”

I looked closer and winced at the small turkey feather still stuck to the corner of Wobbly’s wet lips. I knew I had to think fast.

I reached down and pulled the feather off as I answered, “Babe, there were feathers all around the floor, and Wobbly went sniffin’ to find the critter. You know anything within ten feet gets stuck to his wet mouth.”

Darla was silent and plopped down in her chair and rocked her semi-naked bird. Wobbly looked up at me, lookin’ for what to do next.

Darla finally said, “I need to get Tom a sweater.”

Before I could think, I busted out laughin’. I knew about twenty seconds into my frivolity that I had made a mistake.

Darla said, “Lucius, this ain’t no laughin’ matter. I’m serious. Until Tom gets his sweater, he stays in the house.”

That was all I had to hear. There wasn’t no way I was keepin’ that bird in our house long term. Without sayin’ a word, I took off to the computer. I searched the internet for a turkey sweater and son-of-a-gun, I found a woman who would make them.

I sent her a message and asked her if she could make one for a male Turkey. She agreed and even offered to embroider his name on the sweater. I thought that was a nice touch. I was about to close the message screen when I spied an apron she had made for someone. I asked her if she could make a second sweater with that pattern. She replied with a “yes” followed by “lol.”

A couple of long days later, the sweaters finally arrived. Darla was busily sweepin’ up the floor when the box showed up on the front porch. I brought it inside, took out the textiles that would bring peace to my house, and headed to the laundry room where Darla was chasin’ feathers around.

“Look honey, they came.”

Darla spun around. She grabbed the sweater I had placed on top that had Tom’s name on it. She tried it on the bird, and it fit perfectly. Tom perked up, I reckon the warmth felt good to him, and knowin’ he was headin’ back to the barn made me feel even better.

Then Darla spied the other sweater. She pointed at it, “What does it say?”

With much glee I replied, “I got this for Tom durin’ the holidays.”

Like a prideful child with his first “A” I held it up. A large, plump roasted turkey took up most of the sweater with the words, “Happy Thanksgiving” embroidered on the top.

Evidently, Darla doesn’t “lol.” She snatched it from me and threw it in the trash. I fished it back out.

Darla pointed at me and said, “You either put that in the trash or make Wobbly wear it.”

So, I hollered for the dog. He came in, and I held it up. I knew it was a foolish gesture, but sometimes that dog surprises me. I reckon this was one of those times because he didn’t fuss one bit at havin’ it slipped over his back. He seemed to wear it with pride.

Now, Tom is back at the barn, and Wobbly is sweaterless. It seems that the dog lost his outfit in the dark of the night. At least, that is what Darla claims. I reckon we both have our secrets, but that’s what keeps the romance goin’.

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