I won’t apologise for what I am, it’s not for me to say.  I was made this way, by forces I had no more control of then, than I do now. Then I was innocent.  Benign, I trusted without fear, then; then it changed and I coped as best as I could. Having no mechanism I learned on the road, had my baptism on fire and burned in hell and damnation of Earth. I burned and I longed to be free of my torment, even for a brief vacation in a cooler climate, I admit that I needed to be saved.  No one could see me, drowning in self-pity with severed dreams and not much to live for.   I know what it feels like to be empty and this was so much worse, bad enough that I begged  detachment and cried when I found if, in relief and dismay.

But one must still subscribe to social convention and that is why I agreed to join friends for Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s also why I agreed to bring the bird.  Baked by me with a special recipe of spices I was assured would have them clamouring for more. K-Cee was so damned excited that I was coming that she screamed, and Pete scoffed and said in a derisive manner, “Ten bucks she blows us off again.”

I’m no Scrooge and granted I have blown them off in the past, but that was then and for their safety.  Now is different. Different time. Different me.  My home is filled with the mouth-watering scent of roasted fowl; a reminder that time grows wings and flies. There is so much to do and only four hours left to complete it all.  I quickly shower and wash my hair, humming with my mind full of the night’s events and considering scenarios of how it will play out. I’m actually looking forward to this. While my skin is still damp, I smooth baby oil on and pad nude to the kitchen to remove the Turkey from the oven. There shouldn’t be any leftovers if I planned it right. That’s a very good thing. It smells divine and I fight temptation to tear off a bit of meat or lick my fingers before washing them. That would be very stupid of me, especially after going to such lengths to purchase these heat resistant gloves. No fingerprints. Another guarantee that has yet to be proven out.

The phone rings and its K-Cee on the answering machine, all full of holiday cheer and probably a lot drunk already. Christ I still have two hours. “Everyone is so excited to see you!! Come whenever, we’re ready baby!”  she sings and I rethink my acceptance to go. All that chirping and whatnot is annoying.  Still I have that pretty new dress I bought and it has been a very long time since I’ve seen the crew.

Slowly I dress, slipping into my lace underthings and straightening my stockings with care.  The dress is blue, snug and short but appropriate considering the company. I’d be surprised if people were dressed at all. Touching up my makeup I consider my reflection a moment, and practice my non-creepy smiling in the mirror. It needs work but would do for tonight. The pan is heavy and I can feel the bits of bird sliding around under the foil as I lock the front door and unlock my trunk.

K-Cee lives in Ashbury Acres on Mockingbird Lane, if you can believe there is such a place in our modern world.  The thought makes me want to turn the car around and go home, but K-Cee is counting on me and be damned if Pete will get to boast that he called my actions again.  He will love the dressing, after all, its his grandmother’s recipe, and I know he loves cranberry sauce.  Mine has a little something extra to add a little oomph.

The driveway is full already and it looks like a real crowd.  My blood is cold, and I’m already sweating.  Why does it have to be so difficult? Deep breath bitch, I snap at myself and take that deep breath before stepping from the car and around to the trunk.  I’d have to do two trips.  Twice the stress, but a chance to regroup before being amongst humanity. I just hope I know everyone. Cigarette smoke, then a voice from just out of view, “Can I give you a hand? Looks like you have a bit more than you can handle on your own.”  Plastering a smirk on my face, I peek around the edge of the lid, and see an unfamiliar face with dancing dark eyes holding out a hand in greeting, “My name is Curtis.”

I can see K-Cee in the window with a shit eating grin on her face and shake my head, “looks like we are the unfortunate victims of a set up my friend.  Nice to meet you, I’m Camie,” I laugh a little, placing the roasting pan full of meat in his hands, “I appreciate the hand. Shall we go meet the inquisition?”  Curtis snickers and shakes his head, the words he throws over my shoulder shocking and suspicious, “Did you poison the bird?  That would get us off the hook.”  Forcing laughter, I follow him through the door into the party atmosphere.

Dinner went off without a hitch, except for the several bodies face down in their plates.  Thanksgiving was a lot of fun this year, and sadly the last one I will have with these friends.  Next year though, I might just show up at your door…

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