I’ve been so busy with my own personal Thanksgiving plans that I lost track of what the town of Dunwich was planning for the holiday. Last year the COVID lockdown put a damper on this but this year First Selectman Cthulhu and the rest of the Board were determined to get things back to normal. So, to get the ball rolling Cthulhu invited fifty of the wealthiest and most influential Dunwichians to his house on Monday for a sumptuous dinner.
Of course, there was a misunderstanding. The guests assumed they were going to eat instead of being eaten but you can hardly fault the First Selectman for that. He was specific that the menu would come directly from his favorite cookbook, “To Serve Man.” When I spoke to him, he was still recovering from overindulging but after a couple of barrels of Alka Seltzer he was feeling much better. He told me his favorite moment was when the guest walked through a doorway and after failing to find any light switches on the walls used their phone lights to determine that they were inside their host’s mouth. Their screams of terror made the meal all that much more enjoyable. Oh, that First Selectman, he’s incorrigible!
I read an advertisement in the Dunwich Complainer that a town fair was going to take place on Wednesday. There would be the usual pie contests and a silent auction for the various crafts that the townspeople would donate. There were also supposed to be games. The one that interested me the most was the sack race. In most towns this is a pretty straight forward affair but the twist that is employed in Dunwich is that Cthulhu alters the geometry of space in the playing field. This makes moving in a straight line rather tricky. Three years ago, Josiah Bishop ended up falling through a portal and landed inside of Azathoth’s gallbladder. He reappeared three weeks later in pretty horrendous condition. His ears had pretty much melted off and his hair was orange. When asked what happened he said, “Outside the ordered universe is that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.” A lot of people just assumed Josiah had just stomped off because he’s a sore loser and because Jenkin Brown took the prize and they’ve never gotten along.
But by far the oddest story I’ve heard this week was from Arthur Birdsong. He was walking through some of the more overgrown areas of the northern hills of Dunwich when he was caught in one of the frequent thunderstorms. Searching for cover he saw a very dilapidated house and ran to it. The door wasn’t locked so he let himself in. Finding a fire in the living room he warmed himself and then looked around at his surroundings. There was a very old book open on a table and he saw that the book was describing cannibalism among certain tribes in Africa and an illustration showed a butcher’s shop with human body parts for sale. Arms, legs and organs were grouped on tables. Suddenly he heard a door open above and a white-haired man in 17th century garb walked down the staircase. The man saw that Arthur had been interested in the book and he began a long meandering tale, the gist of which was that he had come to the notion that feeding on human flesh would enormously extend the human lifespan. Just then a drop of blood from the ceiling splashed down in between the two men and Arthur looked up and saw an enormous spot of blood on the ceiling and realized that the horrid old man was a cannibal and had just been butchering of one of his victims upstairs.
At first Arthur was hoping that a bolt of lightning would burn the house and the cannibal in the righteous fire of heaven. But when that failed to happen, he asked the old man what time was dinner.
Arthur had to admit that human pot pie wasn’t bad. A little gamey and fatty but no worse than mutton. And the old fellow even threw in some pretty decent hard cider. So, they became pretty chummy and after dinner they stayed up late chatting and Arthur discovered that they had both gone to the same prep school. So, they sang school songs and Arthur invited his new friend over for Thanksgiving dinner. He had been planning to serve a turkey dinner but in light of his new perspective on health food he decided to invite his least favorite blue-haired feminist wine-auntie over and serve her up instead. I told Arthur that was splendid and I hoped it became a family tradition. He sadly informed me that he only had three wine-aunties so it would be a short-lived tradition. I told him to cheer up. I have dozens of relatives that need eating. I told him I’d donate one of mine every Thanksgiving for the foreseeable future. Well, this brought tears to Arthur’s eyes and he declared it a “Thanksgiving Miracle.” I said, “Nonsense, it is always better to give than to receive.”
So, you can see we here in Dunwich have a lot to be thankful for; friends, family and meat tenderizer. Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving allows you to enjoy your family as much as we intend to enjoy (parts of) ours.