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[Fiction] Giving Thanks


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Ken Wu had never felt very welcome in Boise, Idaho. The town was too small for him after New York, and he felt very lost and alone most of the time.

Sometimes, he hated that he had come here to study Community Planning at the University of Idaho, but it was his dream, and he couldn't say no to the scholarship package he had earned. He wasn't working and being broke all the time didn't help his general mood. And when he'd realized he couldn't afford to go home for Thanksgiving, he had plummetted into depression.

But all that had changed when the local Food Pantry had dropped by his small apartment, leaving him with a small frozen turkey and fixings for a modest dinner. He had felt, for the first time, that he wasn't alone out here.

The problem was that he couldn't remember where he'd put the stuff. He knew that he'd recieved it, but he couldn't find it, which was really weird. A hazy memory of a visitor at his door surfaced, but he shrugged it off; what could that have to do with the fact that he was a doofus who could lose an entire Thanksgiving meal?

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Shewanna opened the door cautiously, her dark face suspicious as the door opened to the limit of the safety chain. "Yeah?" she asked the white man standing on her step. He was tall, and very handsome, but that only made her more tense; Mr. Calagy at school had been very handsome, and he had gotten Rosalyn pregnant. Mom was always getting taken by pretty-faced losers who treated her like shit. Shewanna didn't trust handsome men.

"Ms. Madison?" he asked, and Shewanna felt herself relax. This guy was ok; just his voice was soft and comforting. She felt like she could wrap herself in his words, and never be cold or afraid again. "Is your mother home?"

"Naw, she's at work," Shewanna replied, starting to smile at him. "Ken I help ya?"

"Yes, I think you can," the man said, extending a hand. "My name is Tom Jefferson, and I'm doing a survey of the block." Shewanna took his hand automatically, even as the part of her still thinking wondered where his clipboard was. Every other person doing surveys had clipboards. "Has your family received a turkey from the food pantry?"

"Yah, we did," Shewanna smiled. And Mr. Jefferson smiled too, but it wasn't a pleasant expression this time.

"Shewanna!" Her mother's scream shook Shewanna out of her reverie. The girl glanced around, frowning and blinking. She was sitting on her couch, but hadn't she just been doing something else? Hadn't someone else been here?

"She-wanna!" her mother stood in the doorway to the kitchen. "Where in the hell is the turkey, girl! I left it in the fridge to thaw!"

"I don't know," Shewanna answered, and then for no reason she could understand, she started to cry.

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Poppin' D had heard the stories about the white man stealing people's dinners in the poorest parts of Boise. One of the houses hit had been in his neighborhood, and that didn't sit right with him and his crew. So now they were patroling, looking for anyone who looked to be up to no good.

Poppin' D came around the corner and stopped, scarcely able to believe his luck. A white man with dark blonde hair was loading a turkey into a van; through the open door, he could see that there was a cooler in the back. I bet those are just poppin' with stolen turkeys!

Pulling out his piece, he took a deep breath and stepped bravely forward. "Well lookit what I see," he said, grinning as he sauntered up, gun extended. "I've caught myself a turkey-taker. Ain't bad enough that whitey's gotta keep us down; now they gotta steal gifts too. That's low, muthafucka."

The man turned around casually, smiling. "I'm sure we can talk about this."

"No a chan-" Poppin' D blinked up at the white ceiling. Disoriented, he looked around; he was in a bed, with an IV attached to his hand. "What tha-? How the fuck did I get inna hospital?"

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