The Haven
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The Haven

2020 Presidential Pardon Turkey Declares, “I’d Rather Die Than Be Pardoned by That Guy”

Photo by Greg Lippert on Unsplash

Mashed Potato and Gravy are twin turkeys who’ve been selected for this year’s annual Thanksgiving Day presidential pardon. They wait on the Rose Garden lawn next to a cloth-draped table festooned with autumn leaves and acorns. The president is late which adds to the irritation they already feel having been given stupid names, unlike last year’s more fortunate Bread and Butter.

Mashed Potato: So, where is this guy already? I want to get this over with and move on to sweet retirement on Gobbler’s Farm with Bread and Butter. They’re still alive, you know. As are Peas and Carrots.

Gravy: Dunno. Maybe it’s not happening this year, what with everything else going on… Maybe someone with brains decided that displaying a huge turkey in front of a shoulder- to-shoulder crowd would signal to Americans that it was ok to go ahead with their large Thanksgiving gatherings as usual.

Enter President, thirty minutes late, ambling towards the podium while peeling off his golf gloves.

Mashed Potato: *hissing* Oh it’s THAT guy? From what I’ve been hearing, HE’s the one who needs a pardon. From EVERYTHING. He can take his pardon and shove it, I am NOT getting up on that table, Gravy. It’s all you, sis.

Gravy: {torn between her political leanings and her one shot at fame} Yes, I, uh, totally feel the same way. But I’m just the backup turkey, you’re the real star here, Mashy.

Mashed Potato: We are identical twins, no one will know the difference. You go, if you can stomach the hideous irony. I’m gonna head back to the truck and hide. *grumbles under breath* pardoned by the unpardonable PPPFFTTTT.

Just then, two hands firmly grab Mashed Potato and place him on the draped table.

The turkey resists, wriggles trying to break free, but it’s no use. Soon he is beak to maskless nose with what appears to be an orange with human facial features.

President: {one hand on the very distraught bird} Ok, Mashed Potato, you ready to be pardoned by the best pardoner in the world?

MP: *under breath* Only one of us needs a good pardoning and it ain’t me.

Pres: what was that now?

Mashed Potato looks down at Gravy who nods encouragingly.

MP: *to the president, shouting* You’re not even wearing a mask! What’s your plan? To pardon me then send me off to Gobbler’s Farm with a deadly virus?

President: Don’t worry, little guy, turkeys can’t get Covid!

MP: Oh really? Well YOU did. *looks proudly at Gravy who mouths “BURN!”


President: Pardon??

MP: You heard me. I’d rather have my neck snapped, my head cut off and every feather yanked out of my revoltingly pale, fleshy body-

President: Pale, fleshy bodies are so hot right now…

MP: — have soggy bread and celery and carrots and fresh thyme sprigs shoved up my ass, then lay on a bed of potatoes in a raging inferno for 7 hours than have to stand next to you for a photo-op, let alone be pardoned by you. Ugh.

The president, momentarily lost in a reverie induced by the mention of pale, fleshy bodies, loosens his grip on Mashed Potato who seizes this opportunity to run.

President: *hamming it up before the sycophantic crowd seated before him* And that’s EXACTLY why we’ve had a backup turkey every year since 2001, the year I told Dubya, “You should really have a backup turkey.” Let’s get Gravy on up here!

The crowd cheers, spraying droplets all over each other.

Gravy shoves her guilt way down into her fat belly and swans for the crowd, seizing a different sort of opportunity. She allows the president to pardon her but forces her mind to be somewhere else the whole time. “You want fame?”, she thinks, “Well fame costs. And right now, is when I start paying. With my dignity.”

Mashed Potato makes history by becoming the only turkey to live out his days at Gobbler’s Farm despite not being pardoned. He and Gravy encounter each other several years later when she breezes through town on a book tour promoting her tell-all memoir entitled “Pardon Me: My Journey from Table to Tabloid”.