Friday, November 27, 2015

How to Make a Thanksgiving

(The POW Boys won the vote, so I present to you....)

How to Make a Thanksgiving, A Second POW Camp to the Right Short Story


To Rudy, Asher, Abram, and everyone else not from America the forth Thursday of November meant nothing special. In fact, the only ones who made a big deal about it happened to be Tommy and the Miller brothers. Zack joined in, saying something about how Canada was connected to America and if Tommy, Jerry, and Max planned to steal a feast he wanted part of it.

Because Zack took part in the Thanksgiving celebration Rudy found himself pulled along as well. Zack had that talent. For that reason he found himself outside the camp with Asher. The young Jew had jumped into the plans with the same kind of eagerness he did with everything else.. He even hinted at a pie, but Rudy wouldn't believe it until he had a bite in his mouth.

Through the snow, they struck out for Honor's farm. Rudy had his doubts when he realized the direction Asher lead him in. He even voiced his doubts, though it had never done him any good in the past.

"We're not stealing from Honor I hope," Rudy said. He thought of the young German girl who helped them for reasons none of them knew. She had three brothers in the German army, but she spent her time smuggling out information for a top secret allied mission.

"What do you take me for?" Asher had the good grace to look completely offended. "I don't steal from girls, let alone Honor."

"What are we doing then?" Rudy asked. When it came to Asher he always had doubts about him and his intentions.

"Stealing some pies." Asher winked and Rudy smacked the back of his head.

"What was all that about not stealing from girls?" he demanded.

Asher laughed. "She made them for us."

"You're my least favorite person in this war, you know that, right?" Rudy asked.

"I feel so honored," Asher said with a pretend sniff. "Completely touched."

The only thing which kept Rudy from shoving Asher in a snowbank was the promise of pie.

____

Back at the camp Tommy found so many holes in his plan he didn't think he'd be able to pull it off. The biggest happened to be that he couldn't find a turkey anywhere in Germany. (At least in the area he could get to and back from without Kosh or anyone else getting suspicious.)

"How can they not have a turkey?" he asked no one in particular. The only ones who really shared in the tragedy over the lack of proper Thanksgiving food were Jerry and Max. Zack pretended but he didn't pretend all that well.

"Exactly!" Zack shouted as loud as any of them dared to shout in the tunnels.

"Canadian," Harnish reminded him, "turkey tomorrow doesn't mean anything to you."

"You're an unsympathetic soul," Zack said.

"I'll start to care when one of you comes up with a workable idea of preparing a feast," Harnish said.

"Won't work," Abram said with confidence.

Tommy ignored them and looked back at his list. He'd written down everything he'd heard went into a traditional dinner. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pies...and then he'd adjusted the list with things he could use instead. Mostly things taken from their Red Cross boxes. Tinned pudding instead of cranberry sauce, it wasn't exactly the same but he figured it had to taste about the same. He figured they could use their tinned veggies and biscuits in place of stuffing. Honor had promised pie so thankfully they wouldn't have to go without that. But if he couldn't find something for the turkey they'd be left with tinned meat rolls.

Everyone donated some of their rations for the feast and Tommy, Jerry, Max, and Zack prepared what they could once darkness fell and roll call had been taken. Tommy still hadn't solved his turkey problem though by the time Rudy and Asher got back with the pies.

Honor had made them three. One was apple, one a berry pie, and one peach. Tommy couldn't imagine where she had gotten all of the supplies needed for them, but the sight and smell made his stomach rumble and he felt a little better about his lack of turkey.

"I'm in love," Zack said as he leaned over the pies and breathed in. Rudy pushed him off as if he feared he'd eat them all on the spot.

"With Honor or the pies?" Asher asked.

"Both," Zack said, "I'm going to marry her when this war is over and she will make me a pie every night for dinner."

"Just what every girl hopes to get out of a marriage," Rudy said.

"Can't," Asher said, "I'm marrying her. I already proposed."

"Right when he saw the pies," Rudy said. He rolled his eyes. "Honor laughed him off."

Zack looked relieved and Tommy smiled as he tucked the pies safely away in a chest for the night.

"I guess we will have to do with what we have got," he said. He also supposed he'd have to wait until he got back home to have his first real Thanksgiving. Someday though, he promised himself, he'd have it.

____

Thanksgiving morning dawn icy cold. They didn't have to spend long outside and soon found themselves alone in the tunnels. Tommy welcomed the cold, and the fact Kosh had a small sliver of a heart even if Rudy claimed his commanding officer didn't.

It wasn't until they were making their way to Asher's part of the tunnel that Tommy realized he hadn't seen Harnish all that morning. It should have surprised him but it didn't any longer, neither did the fact that Kosh didn't realize it. Harnish had that talent, he could vanish when he wanted.

When they got to the door which closed off Asher's quarters from the rest of the tunnel Tommy paused and took a deep breath. The smell stunned him and he stared in disbelief at the men behind him.

"Smell good," Abram said in his broken English.

"What on earth is it?" Zack asked.

"Turkey," Jerry and Max said at the same time in the same state of disbelief as Tommy felt.

It couldn't be. But when he opened the door Harnish and Asher stood in the middle of the room over a homemade, tin stove. They had the door open and inside in a large pan sat a beautiful roasted turkey. Tommy rubbed his eyes at the sight.

"The smoke!" Rudy gasped.

Harnish scowled. "I've been in this camp long enough not to take risks. I have the smoke worked out, no one above will see it or smell anything."

But Tommy didn't care about smoke. All he cared about was the bird.

"How..."

Harnish laughed at his hanging opened mouth. "Penelope and Henri. Don't ask me how, but I asked them for a turkey and they managed. Figured it was the least I could do for my men."

"You were teasing us over it though," Zack said.

"I always tease you," Harnish winked, and then smiled right at Tommy, "Happy Thanksgiving, Thomas."

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