The clock struck high noon at the McComb County Courthouse as Carter steered his water-logged Buick into Bruford. After locating what seemed to be an ideal spot to start a poultry business, he parked the Carter's Fresh Turkeys, Inc vehicle, set up a paste board sign announcing fresh turkeys for sale and waited for customers to, excuse the wording, flock to his market
The crisp morning air soon gave away to autumn warmth as the sun poked through the valley fog. The afternoon temperatures climbed into the 60's, causing the crushed ice in the back seat to melt faster than Carter anticipated. The murky water flowed out the door, onto the warm pavement, then slowly formed a stream heading towards town square. A large swarm of flies found sudden delight in the crimson creek.
Carter sold two turkeys right off the bat. This he thought, had to be the big payoff he waited for all his life. Sixteen more sales and he could return to the poultry plant and repeat this transaction until every soul in Bruford had their Thanksgiving turkey–not just a turkey but a genuine Carter Edwards' Inc. Fresh Turkey. Within the hour he sold three more turkeys and the Crosby Diner, the home of his wayward-one-time–hoped-for girlfriend, bought four. Nine more to go, Carter thought, with a comforting sigh, as the warm afternoon sun made his eyes feel a little heavy. Nine more to go.
Carter jerked when he suddenly heard steps walking up from behind. There was a familiar sound to those steps, worse yet, a recognizable voice complaining about some jerk who parked a foul smellin' car on the street causing his Blue Tick hound to have nasaler type fits. That voice caused fear to run through his blood. He jumped from the seat of the Buick to confirm his suspicions. There stood gramps, leaning on his old hickory cane, eye to eye with Carter. Gramps greeted his grandson with an unmerciful whack across the legs. Carter fell to the ground in tormented pain.
"You stupid moron," Gramps yelled in his quaking elderly voice. "Why you ain't no smarter than your no account pa. Look at this mess you're a makin'. And where in tarnation did ya git that barge your drivin, what makes ya think ya got money ‘nuff to own the likes of that–why your probably breakin' your ma's heart actin like this."
"Well gee," Carter responded, "I only tried...."
"Shut up," Gramps yelled, as he took another swing at his grandson and hit the door of the Buick, causing it to fly open, allowing a deluge of water to cascade out. "Now get off the ground and stand up. Act like an Edwards, not like some kinda weasel. Stand up I said."
Carter grabbed the half-opened car door and pulled himself up, though he swore both legs were broke.
Gramps looked about at the mess. "Now the way I sees things, you must ah spent a king's ransom on these turkeys. Where did ya git that kind of money," he asked squinting at Carter through one eye and still threatening to wallop him with the hickory cane.
Before Carter could answer a crowd gathered about, taunting him to clobber the old man. A circus atmosphere surrounded the area as town folks placed bets on who was going to win this fight. Suddenly Eb Victor pushed into the throng and asked what in the world the commotion was about. Eb held the pastorate at the Bruford Church of Attempted Redemption.
Gramps took over the conversation. "I'm jist tryin' to beat some sense into this youngen', why jist look at this here mess he's ah makin. And besides, he ain't tellin' where he got the money to be buyin' all these turkeys.".
Eb looked at Carter with compassion. "Why he's just trying to make something out of his worthless existence here on earth. All God's children deserve at least once chance. Who knows, maybe selling turkeys will give this poor lost dreg at least a half of a chance of making it out of his miserable existence. Go ahead son, tell your poor confused old grandpa how you earned the money to invest in poultry futures."
"Come on son, git a talkin and tell me now where ya got the money and this better be good or I'll wail on ya until ya see stars," Gramps yelled, as he took another swing at Carter with his cane.
"Well," Carter spoke with his eyes looking to the ground. "I, I, well, I pawned off your Studebaker. But I'm gonna pay it back as soon."
"You what," yelled Gramps. "You pawned off my pickup. Why you no account son of a......"
Gramps lifted his cane to administer the coup' de grace when Pastor Eb wrestled it from his wiry old arms.
"Please, please now," Eb said. I'll show you compassion, as the angry clergyman set out to beat Carter within an inch of his life.
"Steal your poor ol' grandpa's Studebaker will ya. I take back all my kind words you wicked heathen, now take that."
One could hear the wind being sucked behind the blow of the hickory cane as Carter jumped up and took flight down the main street of Bruford. Onlookers grabbed rocks, cans or anything else they could find and started pelting him. It became obvious that Carters Fresh Turkeys, Inc was all washed up. Looters claimed the remaining nine turkeys then rolled his Buick Electra over and torched it. Sirens could be heard from all corners of town as emergency vehicles came roaring to the scene.
The angry destruction of his life started looking like a black and white James Cagney movie, complete with thugs, villains, cops and police cruisers. Carter now found himself backed into a dead-end alley. Officer Thompson of the Bruford Police Department threw him to the ground and handcuffed him. Carter now started to convulse and thrash himself around as Officer Thompson kept shaking him harder and harder.
"Wake up Carter, hey wake up buddy. Man what's wrong with you"
Carter flew out of the seat of his car screaming. Sweat poured off his forehead.
"Gosh, I must have fallen asleep. Where's Gramps?"
Gramps, he was just here, I what, I mean he was just here beating on me, wasn't he?"
"Now look here Carter, I don't know anything about your grandpa but you can't be sellin' these turkeys without a health license and I'm sure you don't have one," Officer Thompson said. "Besides look at the mess you're making with all these bloody flies, now scram."
Carter jumped into his water soaked Buick and drove to the edge of town and turned the pasteboard sign around and scribbled, "Turkeys half price, must sell quickly." Curious drivers pulled over and soon he sold the rest of his inventory for what he had into it, except the last three where he took a rather bad beating because all the local dogs came sniffing around and it was time to sell and get it.
As the story winds down we find Carter at Honest Jake's Swap Shop paying back his debts and quickly stuffing the title to gramp's Studebaker truck into his jacket. After a hard day of selling and beating off his imaginary nemesis (or was it imaginary) he came out with ten dollars which he used for gas.
As Carter pulled down into his driveway his car coughed and died. Hard to say if the gas tank was empty or the engine seized up, but for the moment the huge Buick Electra had given up the ghost. Carter slammed the door, went into the house to get the family shotgun and find the turkey that started the whole mess.
As for the car, it sat there for quite a long spell, which is okay because in Carter's world, nobody is going nowhere anyhow.