Title: Mulder's Creek: 03. The Trouble With Turkeys
Mulder walks through the doorway of his room, carrying two mugs of cider. He looks at Scully who is lying on her stomach on his bed, with a remote control aimed at the vcr ready to unpause "Home for the Holidays." She shifts to a sitting position and takes one of the mugs from him.
"Thanks. I'm going to unpause this now. We're at my favorite scene, you know, the one in which Claudia throws the turkey in her sister's lap." She notices that Mulder is still looking at her. "What?"
"Nothing," Mulder says.
"You can't just stare at someone and then claim it was for no reason," she complains.
"Ok... it's just that most of the time I forget how little you are, and I remembered that just now."
"So most of the time you...think I'm fat?" she asks, trying to rein in her emotions.
Mulder notices the look on her face. "No, you goose. I just forget that you're only about five feet tall-"
"5'1" and the doctor says I might grow still," Scully interrupts.
"5'1" then. It just that you seem bigger, so it's startling when I notice how much smaller than me you are."
"I'm not sure I follow that..."
"Let's just say you have a larger than life appearance and seem less vulnerable than you should."
"Well, you know what they say, Mulder.'Good things come in small packages.'"
"Oh do they now?" Mulder asks archly, the look on his face suggests exactly how he interprets the cliché'.
"Wouldn't you like to know," Scully says, blushing. She had meant to be coy, but not that coy. "Um, let's finish watching this. We do have school tomorrow, you know."
Mulder groans. "Don't remind me!"
Monday 4pm, The McPhee home-
Doggett is standing on the steps, about to knock when Skinner opens the door. Doggett blinks in surprise.
"How'd you know I was here?" Doggett asks.
"I didn't. I was just going to check the mail." So they walk over to the box.
"Ah. Do you suppose you could tell your lovely sister I'm here?"
"Sorry, I can't. She and Fowley were 'volunteered' to go grocery shopping for the thanksgiving meal."
"Weird that Reyes and Fowley have been spending time together, since neither of them has ever showed any interest in close friendships with other girls."
"Yeah, I guess that having to work together for that class has made them realize that they actually have something in common after all," Skinner says, shuffling through the mail looking to see if there's anything for him.
"Good for them. What's with Reyes and supermarkets lately? It seems like she's spending a lot of time in them lately. I hope that doesn't mean she's developing an eating disorder or something."
"Probably not, but come to think of it she does seem to have gained a few pounds. But she was too thin to begin with."
"That's true. So...does your sister shopping with her mean that you and Reyes are having Thanksgiving dinner with the Lindley's?"
"Unfortunately yes. Not that having dinner with Grams and Fowley isn't nice, but Dad's going to be down in Connecticut for a business trip over the holidays. Again. As soon as Grams heard that she immediately invited us over to dinner, which is awfully nice of her."
Doggett sticks his hands in his coat pockets. "It's typical of her though. I hope Fowley realizes how lucky she is to have her."
"What are your plans for Thanksgiving?" Skinner asks. "Friends or family?"
"Family. While you enjoy dinner at the Lindley's, and Scully and Bessie dine with the Learys' like they do ever year, I will be experiencing act one of the horrible play known as 'The Witter family dinners.' Fortunately act two won't be until the end of December..."
"It's that bad?" Skinner asks.
"You've never met my two oldest sisters or their spawn, so you can't even imagine. Well, I'm freezing my butt off and need to finish some homework, so let Reyes know I stopped by, would you?"
"Sure thing," Skinner says and brings the mail in after Doggett leaves.
4:30 pm at the Leary house-
Mulder walks into the house and is surprised to come face to face with Mr. CSM. Mr. CSM smiles at him in a way that Mulder finds alarming.
"Mulder. Nice to see you."
"Is there something about my grades you needed to talk to my parents about?" Mulder asks, confused.
"No, not at all. Your mother and I are both in the book discussion group at the library, and I was just returning the copy of 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' she was nice enough to lend me."
"Oh. Mom doesn't talk much about the book group. The book on the other hand, she assures me is brilliant."
"It is. Have a good night, Mulder," Mr. CSM says as he walks to the door.
"You too," Mulder says, and shakes his head as soon as the door closes.
Tuesday, 3am, the Smith home-
Though Mrs Gladace Smith's daughters urged her to defrost food in the refrigerator, Gladace considered herself too old- 67 on her last birthday- to start doing things differently now. Which is why she is up so early in the morning. Gladace fills the sink with cold water and walks to the fridge to get the bird. She's glad it's only a medium sized one, now that she doesn't have her husband around to do heavy lifting for her. She hears an odd noise, but assumes that it's the motor in the fridge kicking on. She opens the door to the freezer looks in, screams, and falls to the floor in a dead faint.
Tuesday 2pm, the High School-
Most students grab their belongings as soon as the bell rings, and dash out of the classrooms, thrilled to be leaving for the holiday. Fowley is about to leave with Reyes when Mr. CSM calls out, "Fowley, might I speak to you for a moment?" Fowley shrugs helplessly at Reyes, and says she'll be right out. Reyes nods and closes the door behind her.
While she leans against the wall Reyes finds herself staring at the lockers across from her, not thinking of much of anything until she hears Mr. CSM raise his voice. "I told you I'll take care of it," he says. Reyes idly wonders what "it" is, but doesn't try to hear what Fowley says in return since it's none of her business. She's contemplating whether rearranging the belongings in Doggett's locker would be considered cute or psychotic when Fowley comes out looking unhappy.
"Everything ok?" Reyes asks.
"Yeah. Mr. CSM just felt like making excuses about why he hasn't given me a recommendation for honor society yet. It's due next week, and we can't get in without one. But you know that," Fowley says, remembering that most of the kids she knows are trying to get in too.
"I'm sure he'll have it in by Monday. I bet this lights a fire under his butt," Reyes says, glad she asked a teacher who was much kinder about complying with the request.
"I hope so," Fowley says and looks back at the classroom. Mr. CSM is looking out the window.
Wednesday 7:15 am, in front of Mulder's house-
Scully shivers and pulls her jacket more tightly around her, and is thankful that, with this dreary dampness, she chose to wear her wool beret despite her suspicions that it makes her look silly. Mulder is wearing his leather jacket as usual, and for the life of her she can't figure out how he stays warm in it. She shivers again and reminds herself that they're supposed to have a good time today. Finally Doggett pulls up in his mom's battered wood-paneled volkswagon.
"Good morning. Ready for our traditional adventure?" Doggett asks as he unlocks the passenger side doors.
"Sure am," Mulder says, climbing in.
Scully looks at the car hesitantly. "Are you sure that this car is safe?"
"Yeah, sure. Mom said the last time it broke down was in the 80's."
"Has it been driven since then?" Scully asks, sliding into the backseat.
Doggett dodges the question. "This is great, the yearly tradition of driving up to the Berkshires-"
"And avoiding all the requests to help with dinner," Mulder says. "I have to hand it to your sister, Doggett, her suggestion a few years back that someone should 'keep the kids out from underfoot' was inspired - now that it's so ingrained as a yearly event none of our parents have the heart to say we have to stick around. It's too bad that her flight won't get in until late tonight."
"It won't be the same without Grethen womaning the helm, but we must go on. At least she'll miss out on KP duty too."
"It's wrong that I don't feel the slightest guilt about leaving everything to your mom, right?" Scully asks Mulder. "I mean, I'm a girl. Girls are supposed to feel bad about this sort of thing."
"You're a girl?" Mulder teases, and ducks away from her reach.
"Mulder, my Neanderthal friend, I think you're probably the last male in Capeside to not notice that," Doggett says, which confuses Scully. Should she thank him, or chalk it up to him getting his jollies by making her blush? When she notices his grin she decides it's the latter, and looks out the window muttering to herself about "men."
"In fact," Doggett continues," I think you're also the last person to realize what a cute couple you and our girl Scully would make."
"God Doggett, it's not like that," Mulder says, furiously blushing, which makes Scully feel better about the red now fading from her own cheeks. "I,- um- shut up, Doggett," Mulder finishes lamely.
Doggett laughs and turn onto the highway that will lead them to the mountains.
8am, Lindley home-
Fowley is rolling out the crust for another pie while Skinner and Reyes attempt to help complete the list Grams left of needed for dinner prep. Grams herself is at church finishing baskets of Thanksgiving food for the needy.
"Why do I always get stuck doing the pies?" Fowley complains to no one in particular.
"Because you're not good at anything else," Skinner guesses.
"You. Snap peas, not snappy comments."
"Yes sir," Skinner says, saluting her.
Fowley chooses to ignore both the gesture and the look of barely concealed smile that's on Reyes face. "Grams told me the weirdest story before she left-"
"Oh! Stories!" Reyes exclaims, looking up from the potatoes she's peeling. "I love stories."
"I think one of the women in her church is losing her mind, but Grams seems to think that it really happened. So it seems that this woman got in the wee hours yesterday, and was going to defrost her turkey. Only when she opened the freezer to get the bird, it wasn't exactly frozen."
"Wasn't exactly?" Skinner asks.
"The woman said that it was...moving. And I don't mean moving in the heartstrings- tugging way, either."
"Frozen turkeys don't move," Reyes says.
"Exactly. Which is what makes the story weird. I think the poor old woman is mental," Fowley says.
"Speaking of turkeys, this list here says to put ours in the fridge before Grams gets home," Skinner notes.
"I'm sure we can handle it," Fowley says.
10: 26 am, on the side of the road in the mountains-
Doggett concludes his string of swears and asks, "How the hell could she not have a spare tire?"
"When you last drove a car during the Regan years little things like keeping a spare on it aren't in the front of one's mind," Scully says.
"I guess," Doggett says, looking up warily at the cloudy sky.
"Any ideas on what we're going to do?" Mulder asks in as non-accusatory tone he can manage. "I don't think that anyone else is likely to drive up the back roads any time soon."
"I know," Doggett says. "So this is what is going to happen. Since I got us into this mess I'm going to take care of it. You two stay here on the off chance someone happens along. I'm going to walk back to where I last saw a garage."
"Where was that?" Scully asks.
"Oh, I don't know, eight or ten miles back."
"We can't let you walk that alone!"
"Yes you can, and you will. If the three of us go we'll miss any possibility of someone driving along. No matter how remote that possibility is, we can't risk it. It's safer for two people to stay here than two to walk. It'll be easier for one person to get a ride back, too."
"Ok," Mulder says, throwing Scully a look to cut off any further protesting.
Doggett walks around to the trunk and rummages through it. He returns a couple of minutes later with a care-worn comforter. "Here," he says apologetically. "We can't leave the motor running because the nearest gas station was a lot further back than ten miles. Keep the emergency blinkers on, though, that'll attract attention even if it gets darker."
"It's only 10: 30 in the morning, how could it get dark?" Mulder asks.
"Did you look up at the sky? There's a storm coming."
"For your sake I hope that the storm is a few hours off still," Scully tells him. "Here, take my scarf, I forgot I had it in my bag, so I won't miss it."
Doggett waves and starts down the road. Mulder watches him until he's no longer in sight. "You know why I said ok, right?" he asks Scully.
"You hope he freezes to death?"
"No. He's the type of person who feels the need to make demonstrable amends, or he never gets over whatever it is that goes wrong."
"I guess. It's still dangerous for him to be walking that distance with a storm looming."
"I know, but we have to have faith in him," Mulder says, unfolding the comforter.
"What are you doing?"
"I plan to tuck this around us, because the car is going to lose heat awfully quick. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not freeze to death, either."
The Lindley home-
Skinner, Fowley and Reyes are sprawled on the couch, watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on DVD.
"I love this. High quality cartoons on demand. What could be better?" Reyes asks.
"Not much," Fowley agrees. Her eyes wander past the clock, and she jumps up with a gasp.
"The Turkey! Grams will be home in two hours, we need to get that bird into the fridge to thaw now or we're doomed. "
Skinner stands up and makes a show of flexing his muscles. "This sounds like the job for a guy."
"Yeah whatever," Fowley says. "If you want to do it, feel free. It'll save me the trouble."
"You ruin my fun."
"Sorry. Let me try again then." She clears her throat. "Oh my, I don't know what I'd do without a big strong man around to help me," Fowley says, batting her eyelashes.
Skinner doubles over in laughter. "You have a gift, too bad it's one that's wasted on me. Let's see to that bird."
"Speaking of waste... It sucks that dad still won't let you have Ethan over for a weekend," Reyes says as they walk into the kitchen.
"I think he's coming around, though. He managed not to cringe once the last time Ethan spent the afternoon," Skinner says as he swings open the freezer door. He's about to reach inside when he shouts "Oh my God!"
1pm, the mountains by the side of the road-
Doggett opens the door to the tow-truck and thanks the driver for the ride. Then he pulls the tire out of the back of the truck and waves to the man as he drives off. He rolls the tire over the ground and towards the car that still has its blinkers merrily flashing. As soon as he's around to flat tire he lets the good one wobble to the ground, and looks in the window, about to open the door and ask Mulder to help. His hand freezes on the door handle when he looks in the window.
Scully and Mulder are slumped together up against the door, fast asleep. Doggett is amused for a moment how much they resemble little kids that fell asleep before taking off their snow suits, because they're equally bundled up. "It's not like that at all," Doggett says to himself when he notices that a sleeping Mulder has pulled Scully as close to him as possible. Sure, it could be merely for warmth, he thinks, but I wonder if he did it before or after he fell asleep? I'll be she was asleep regardless.
Doggett finally raises his hand and knocks on the frame of the car. " Rise and shine," he says loudly. "I need help with changing the tire." Scully wakes up first and pulls away from Mulder with a startled look, confirming Doggett's suspicion that she had been asleep. Mulder slowly opens his eyes, and looks up at Doggett and yawns.
"Oh good, you're back. Is there a jack somewhere in this car?"
"Yeah, in the trunk. I made sure it worked before setting out."
"Good. Let's get this changed and we'll still have time to get to that restaurant before the lunch menu is over."
Scully gets out of the car and takes a short walk while the boys wrestle with the tire. The day hasn't gone as planned, and she's sure that Doggett is going to harass them about having fallen asleep. It was so cold though, she thinks, we couldn't help it. Sighing she turns to walk back when she hears them crow their self-satisfaction with having changed their first tire. She sighs and hopes the tire stays on.
"What?" Fowley and Reyes scream simultaneously.
"You didn't tell me that you and Grams own stock in Ben and Jerry's," Skinner accuses Fowley. "There are a dozen pints in here!"
"Oh, that! Dammit Skinner, you scared us! Grams buys it by the case at Sam's Club. Come to think of it, Grams said we could help ourselves after we finished the list. I just forgot."
"Sure, you 'forgot'. I can't believe that you were holding out on us," Skinner accuses.
"I wasn't. I really forgot."
"I think-" Skinner begins.
Reyes interrupts the argument. "The turkey? Let's put it away, be done with the list, and have ice cream while we finish the cartoons."
"You have to be so reasonable all the time, don't you?" Skinner asks his sister as he picks up the turkey. Suddenly he drops it.
"Skinner! What did you do that for?" Fowley asks.
He looks as confused as they do. "I didn't. I mean..." he trails off as they notice the package twitch.
The Valentine home-
Mrs. Valentine throws up her hands while she yells at Krycek. Krycek glares at her and declares," I'm not spending Thanksgiving with that man."
"You are spending the holidays with your father, per the custody arrangement, and that is final."
"You can't make me do anything. I'm bigger than you are, so what are you going to do, carry me onto the bus? I'd just get off at the next stop," Krycek says with a smirk.
"You know what? You're right. I can order you to do it, but I can't make you. You don't want to go see your father, then don't. But I'm still going to spend the holidays on a cruise, one I've planned on for almost a year. Stay here and fend for yourself, for all I care. You're the one who'll have to face your dad about this, anyway."
She doesn't look like she thinks her speech would make a difference. In fact, Krycek thinks she looks like she really is too tired to care. And that hurts. Since he can't back down now, he is going to be alone on Thanksgiving.
A restaurant in the Berkshires-
A cheerful looking waitress takes their menus. Then Doggett heaves a sigh.
"I don't think I can take this."
"Take what?" Mulder asks.
"This, the holidays. Every year I gather with my family, and the verbal battering drains me. They're emotion vampires, and I'm afraid that one of these dinners is going to prove too much and I'm to slump to the floor, dead."
"Melodramatic much?" Scully asks.
"You don't understand. Yeah, your family is slightly dysfunctional, with your mom dead and your dad in jail, but at least it's an ok dysfunctional. You and Bessie make things work without reliable parental figures. But my family is royally screwed up. Evil sisters with even more evil children, a brother that despises me for the most part, a father who is alternatingly distant and emotionally abusive, and a mother that just smiles and says nothing. The only one who is ever on my side is Grethen and she's not around much since starting college. I don't think I'm being overly melodramatic."
"I'm sorry. I bet you can't wait until you turn 18," Scully says sympathetically.
"Amen. So, I bet you two are looking forward to your dinner, anyway."
"Well...yes. But your speech has made me feel too guilty to express joy," Mulder says and Scully nods.
"Enough of this. We're supposed to be celebrating our narrow escape from slave labor," Doggett declares. "So, who do you think will win tomorrow's football game?"
"The Pats for sure," Scully says with conviction. "My dad make not be the world's greatest guy, but he did instill in me the belief that one should always have faith that the home team will win, no matter what."
"Of course they will. I just hope none of us are betting money on it," Mulder says.
"What money?" Doggett asks. "We're sixteen." The cheerful waitress's return with their food curtailed further conversation.
The Smith house-
Mrs Smith smiles and opens the door, inviting in Skinner, Reyes and Fowley.
"Thanks for having us over, Mrs. Smith," Fowley says.
"Oh, I'm glad to, dear. I was afraid your grandmother was going to be the only one to believe me."
"No, after what we just saw, we believe you," Reyes replies. "Where's your bird?"
"I put it on the table in the kitchen. It's still moving," Mrs Smith says as she leads them into the kitchen.
This turkey, which is unwrapped, is more active than the wrapped one sitting in the Lindleys' refrigerator. It's limbs twitched spasmodically, as if it somehow thought it was trying out for a part of a broom in Fantasia. They expected it to get up and walk any second.
"I think," Reyes says, "That we're dealing with some sort of demonic possession."
"Which is oh-so-common to the greater Capeside area," Fowley quips.
"I don't think we should dismiss the idea out of hand. It's a viable possibility."
"What are we supposed to do? A turkey exorcism? Evil spirits, leave this turkey!"
Skinner has been staring at the twitching bird, and turns to Mrs Smith. "Do you mind if I cut it open?"
"No dear, be my guest," she says, then hands him a sharp knife.
"Thanks," Skinner says, returning his concentration to the turkey. Reyes and Fowley don't notice what he's doing because their argument about the plausibility of turkey possession has now escalated to a point just short of name-calling.
With a few careful cuts, Skinner finds exactly what he's expecting. He turns to the girls and issues a command rather sharply. "Shut up and come over here." They sheepishly shuffle over and peer down at the dissected bird.
"What are we- hey, what's that?" Reyes asks.
"Looks like metal," Fowley comments.
"It is," Skinner says. "It's similar to a clockwork, and the reason these birds are reanimated."
"Who the hell would do that?"
"I don't have the slightest idea. All I know is that it looks like someone had a grudge and too much time on their hands."
"I think we ought to give the turkey plant a ring then. Maybe we can help them head off some lawsuits," says Reyes.
"That sounds like a good and charitable idea," Mrs. Smith says, beaming at her. "Good thing the phone number and address are always on the packaging."
A quick phone call later the trio is on their way back to a waiting DVD and ice cream.
Thanksgiving Day 9am-
Krycek sighs and walks down the road towards the Ice House. His mom has made good on her threat, and left three hours ago for her cruise. The reason, however, for his dismay is not that his mother isn't around, but that none of the area grocery stores are open. He knows because he's checked. It's the thought of there only being peanut butter and jelly in the house that propels him on this errand that he would otherwise avoid like the plague. Taking a deep breath, he walks up to the door of the icehouse and knocks.
Scully, who is packing her nephew's diaper bag while Mulder cracks jokes, is the first to hear the knock on the door. "I wonder who on earth that could be."
"I dunno, maybe my dad, wondering why we're taking so long to show up to go to the Capeside high game?"
"Your dad would just come in, he knows he wouldn't have to knock. I'm going to go see who it is."
"Me too. What if I wait here and Bessie tries to hand me a screaming toddler? No thanks. Even if it's an axe-murder I'm safer with you."
Krycek is almost convinced that no one is going to answer when Scully swings the door open. He does his level best to make sure there is no smirk on his face when he asks, "There's no chance that you're serving food today, is there?"
"No, sorry. We close every year for Thanksgiving."
"Oh," Krycek says, sounding crestfallen.
"Why do you ask? Aren't you eating with your family?" she asks.
"No, actually. My mom's gone for the weekend."
Mulder interrupts, "Scully can I use your phone?"
"Sure," she says, and he walks away.
"You're not spending the holiday with your dad?" Scully asks Krycek.
"No. I barely know my dad. He and Mom got a divorce when I was three..." He trails off, shrugging.
Mulder returns and asks, "Do you know where my house is?"
"I think so, why?"
"Mom says to be there by noon, ok?"
"Yup. See you at dinner."
"Thanks," Krycek says sounding grateful, then walks away whistling.
"It's true that there's no love lost between us, but no one, not even him, deserves to be alone on the holidays."
"You're a good guy, Mulder."
"Sshhh. Don't tell anyone."
12pm, the Witter home-
Doggett looks at his shrieking nieces and nephews as they whirl past him. He can hear his sisters screaming at each other from the kitchen, and his dad bellowing about the food not being ready yet. Before he can sink into complete despair, Gretchen walks into the room and gives him a hug.
"I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you much last night or this morning, but there's something I want to tell you."
"What?" Doggett asks.
"I want you to know that spending time with you is the only thing that makes coming home for these family things worth-while. What do you say little brother, how about we sneak back up to the den to play video games, and avoid the rugrats and shouting, until they call us for dinner?"
"You've got a deal."
"Good. I pick the game though," Grethen says with a grin. "Race you upstairs."
12:15pm, the Lindley home-
Grams smiles as Fowley, Reyes, Skinner, and her old friend Mr. Brooks take their seats. Skinner and Reyes smile up at Grams, though they wish more than anything that their father was eating dinner as well. Though Fowley wouldn't dream of saying it, she's secretly glad that her friends are here instead of in Connecticut.
"Does anyone mind if I give the blessing?" Grams asks them. They all shake their heads.
"Thank you," she says, then bows her head. "Dear lord, thank you for allowing us to gather here today with friends and family. Thank you for the blessings we receive daily, and for the food we are about to eat. And thank you for allowing us to find a turkey that doesn't have springs and gears in it in time for dinner." Fowley's eyes are closed, but she thinks that her grandmother is probably watching her shake with silent laughter and tries to stop. "Please allow us to have many more days as bountiful as this one. Amen." Grams concludes. "Let's eat."
12:30 p.m., the Leary home-
The game ran a little later than expected so everyone is only now sitting down to eat dinner. Mr. Leary holds up a hand and says, "I know you kids probably think this is corny, but I'd like for us to take the time to say something we're thankful for. Who wants to start?"
Bessie says "I will. I'm thankful that I own a business successful enough to support my family, whom I'm also grateful to have," Bessie says, dandling her son on her knee.
"I'm thankful that I'm not eating a peanut butter sandwich in an empty house right now. Thank you Mrs. And Mr. Leary," Krycek says, sounding entirely sincere.
"I'm thankful to be here with friends and family," Scully says simply.
"I'm thankful that another year has gone by and everyone I love is safe and happy," Mulder says. Although as usual he's thinking of his sister.
Mr. Leary smiles brightly and says," My wife and I are grateful to be having this meal with all of you, and for having this happy news to share - we're expecting a new baby next year."
Mulder stares at them in shock. He's not sure which is more stunning: the news itself or that they didn't choose to tell him before telling everyone else. A quick glance around the table shows that the others are also surprised, and the only one who looks happily so is Bessie. Mulder corrects himself mentally, Krycek doesn't look surprised, but he's so much of an outsider, Mulder decides he really doesn't have reason to be.
The silence is replaced only by the clatter of silverware.
Produced by CC, KW and Neoxphile
< Voice Over>
This episode of Mulder's Creek featured music from:
Hippos ("Wasting my life")
Long Pigs ("On and On"
Lucky Boy's Confusion ("Fred Astaire")
Stay tuned for the next episode of Mulder's Creek
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