On the day of Thanksgiving, I stood in the kitchen of my childhood home appraising my options for a pre-dinner snack. Whether from boredom or an insatiable need to substitute my anxiety with food, my feet found themselves plodding down the carpeted stairs and straight to my refrigerator.
“What the fuck are these paleo chips?” I thought to myself as I rifled through the pantry. “Why isn’t there any food in this house?”
Deciding to settle for a slice of pre-packaged Havarti cheese, I made my way towards the alluring hum of my fridge. It glowed yellow against the moonlit floor, as if to say, “Opennnn meeeeee.”
My hand moved as if possessed, and slowly and apprehensively, I opened the door.
I heaved a sigh of relief. In the dim glow of the backlight, I saw a jar of mayonnaise, a carton of milk, and a couple of containers of leftovers. Scared of the fridge? What had I been thinking?
Suddenly, I heard a “Psst!” I looked around wildly. Was one of my siblings there to make fun of my binge eating?
“Psst!” it came again. “Down here!” With a twinge of horror, I realized that the voice was coming from the fully prepared turkey, already soaking in a lemon butter sauce, just waiting for its seven hour oven stint.
“Are you hungry? Want a snack?” I stared back at a pair of eyeballs and lips that had appeared on the turkey.
“What’s going on??” I sputtered. “You aren’t real! You’re a turkey! Is this a dream??”
“You want a snack?” the turkey repeated, ignoring my query. “Gobble me, Swallow me.”
“Excuse me?” I whispered in shock. “Are you quoting Cardi B?”
“You’re goddamn right. Now, Gobble me, Swallow me!”
“But you’re not even cooked!!! I’ll get salmonella!!!” I cried.
“Every year, my kind is roasted in an oven. Let me break free from this cycle, and eat me raw! Gobble me, swallow me! Do it!” I took a step backwards, only to realize that all the food in the fridge had come to life. They began to chant:
“GOBBLE ME, SWALLOW ME. GOBBLE ME, SWALLOW ME. GOBBLE ME, SWALLOW ME.”
“No! I can’t!”
“GOBBLE ME, SWALLOW ME. GOBBLE ME, SWALLOW ME.” The food jumped up and down rhythmically in time with their refrain.
Above them all, the turkey levitated and settled itself into my outstretched arms. It was heavy and wet, but something about it just felt… right.
“Take me with you,” it begged. “Gobble me, Swallow me. Release me from this pain.”
Alas, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I knew it was wrong to shove fistfuls of raw turkey into my mouth, but I couldn’t stop myself from gobbling and swallowing. Turkey breast after turkey breast I slid down my loose gullet, until my stomach felt that it would explode.
Ten minutes later I found myself lying on the kitchen floor surrounded by turkey bones, my face covered with grease, and my veins congealing with fat.
The last thing I heard before my eyes fell shut was the faint whisper of the turkey’s voice:
“Thank you for gobbling and swallowing. I am at last free……”