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Green Light in the City

Turkey Time

27 December 06 words: Shedfixman
illustrations: Rob White

There's a bloke works at our factory looks forward to this time of year. He never calls it Christmas, he always calls it Turkey Time...

There’s a bloke works at our factory looks forward to this time of year. He never calls it Christmas, he always calls it Turkey Time.

He’s not the brightest of blokes, to be generous to him. Youthful mid-thirties; slow talker, slow mover. Andy Weatherall tattoo. Bald as a coot, colour blind as a cow. He puts mint sauce on everything he eats. Radical dentistry required. If you ask him to guess who you saw in The Spread Eagle in Wandsworth last night, he’ll stand and think, then start throwing the names of the entire United Kingdom back at you, usually beginning with Mick Walsh - the World’s number fourteen at darts. I once sat in his portakabin, secretly recording him as he banged on and on about the crap weekend he’d had. When I played it all back to him, he asked who it was. Then there was the time someone stood talking to him whilst craftily filling his front jeans pocket with two inch woodscrews. He never noticed until he stuck ‘em in the wash and it sounded like a gunfight. And the marijuana years haven’t been kind; last week, he came over to speak to me and the lads and his head jammed. All he could do was stand with his mouth wide open and his thumb hitch-hiking over his shoulder.

When Turkey Time arrives on the Thursday before Christmas, his housemates will have hogged up the freezer with their own stuff, so he’ll pick up his free company turkey and place it in a bucket of water in the boot of his car until Boxing Day, which is also his birthday – when he’ll drive up to his parents’ house in Great Yarmouth to hand it to his mum to cook. We’ll probably be standing there as he opens the bootlid, squeaking out the customary “I’M GNOT GOING IN THAT GUCKET IN THE GOOT, YOU GIG GASTARD!” from the sides of our mouths.

It’ll probably be the only turkey going back to Norfolk this Christmas.

But the point of this tale isn’t to celebrate the man’s dimness. Because strapped into the seat beside him will be his seven year old son. The boy is hyperactive and has acute behavioural problems. He’s the only fruit of a broken relationship which culminated in his free-shagging, alcopop-swigging mum booting his dad out onto the streets a long while ago. But he never bore any grudges and more than anything he loves his little boy and sees him when whenever he can. This trip will be the highlight of the year for both them and the eagerly waiting grandparents, who’ll see their grandson grown another year.

The real point is: if such a simple man can give and do so much for his troubled young son, why are so many others among us who are variously far better acquitted in life content to do far less for their kids?

Have a great Christmas; and make sure everyone around you does too!!

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