Both of these tales belong, by rights, to my father, the party animal. They took place in the early 1970s, somewhere in the wilds of Oregon. My father has been telling them for years, and I decided that I should write them out from memory, both to avoid losing them and because I suspect that some of you may find them entertaining. You can read Part One, Dante’s Inferno, over here.
II. Turkey Jack
After years of hearing the story of Dante’s garden, one of my father’s friends decided to attempt to replicate it. Much scheming and debate was involved, as people discussed whether or not Dante’s garden was the result of the explosive distribution of manure and chicken parts, or just the really thick manure, or sheer magic. Eventually, it was decided that rather than blowing up meat, they would attempt to mimic the phenomenon simply by spreading ample amounts of turkey manure on the garden, since chicken poop in the desire volume was not available.
My father and the friend duly loaded up in a pickup truck and drove to a neighboring turkey farm. For some inexplicable reason, the men choose a dark winter night with copious snow to perform this task. They duly filled up the pickup truck with shovel loads of turkey manure, and set off home across a mountain pass, which they quickly realized was partially snowed in, forcing them to periodically get out and dig their way through.
This was not an enjoyable task, as the cabin of the truck smelled quite strongly of turkey shit, but was warm, while the outside of the truck was extremely cold and also smelled like turkey shit. The two men rapidly grew more and more cross as the evening progressed. Arguments erupted over who would get out and shovel, who thought of the turkey manure idea in the first place, and who was responsible for deciding to collect the manure in the middle of January, when it couldn’t even be put on the garden for months. Neither man had gloves, which made digging out the snow a distinctly unpleasant experience, and their hands quickly reddened and chapped.
After several rounds of digging and driving, the truck developed a flat. The two men searched high and low for the jack, and eventually realized that it was precisely where it was supposed to be: in the bed of the pickup truck, snapped into place. Thus it was that when the highway patrol came through to close the road, they found two disheveled men and a large pile of turkey poop by the side of the road, next to a dilapidated pickup truck with one flat tire and an extremely strong odor.
The jack, of course, was exactly where they’d left it: by the door of the house.