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The Dead Birds of Christmas
by Ed Ahern

“I don’t like turkey.”

Sarah made shushing noises. “Phil, it’s Christmas. Pretend it’s veal. Or pork.”

“It tastes like greasy cardboard. I’ll tell my brother I’ve gone Vegan.”

“They’ve been to your cookouts. They already know you scrape vegetables off your plate.”

“Yeah, but anything is better than butt-stuffed avians. What about a dietary restriction? I’m allergic to bird meat, ask for a burger instead?”

Sarah sighed. “We’ve been going to your brother’s family for Christmas for almost a quarter century, and you’ve never told him you hate his turducken. Either man up and tell him or suffer in silence.”

Phil went silent, but refused to suffer. He brooded, but only came up with one idea. He called a friend suspected of pyromaniac tendencies. “Rob, how could I set fire to a deep-frying turducken?”

“Ah. What fun. Not that I’d know anything about this, but you’d need a hefty accelerant to ignite the mix. What does your brother fry the birds in?

“He’s a traditionalist- uses lard.”

“That’s heat-stable, you’ll need more than lighter fluid. Just hypothetically, I’d get a squeeze bottle, the cylindrical kind you can hide in the breast pocket of a jacket. Then fill the bottle with 150-proof vodka. If anyone smells alcohol, claim you’d been drinking. It’s plausible denial.”

“And then?”

“Chant ‘Hecate, hunc cremari quaeso.”


“Just do it. Then squirt vodka into the fryer and dribble the dregs down the side so it ignites the mix. Hide the squirt bottle and yell ’FIRE!’ Then watch the fun.”

“Wow. Thanks. I owe you.”

“Pay me back by taking a phone video. I, ah, keep an anthology of this stuff.”


The deep fryer erupted like Etna, and the stench of burnt bird filled the yard. Phil’s brother cried as he removed the charred corpses. Then he licked his fingers, smiled, and put the trimmed bird bits on a dinner platter.


Phil reluctantly cut into the smoky turducken chunks on his plate, and slowly chewed. And smiled at his brother. “It’s a miracle, tastes like bacon.”