Thanksgiving Eve had come again,
Outside a blustery chill.
A tiny boy of six years old,
Came crashing down the hill.
The leaves did scatter, brown and orange.
How fearsome was the sight:
Of Franklin Tom, the Turkey Beast,
Screeching in the night.

The grownups gathered so cozy,
Drinking and baking the pies.
Finally off work—if they had work at all,
These pilgrims were filling with wine!
Children ran wild, in twilight gloom,
No reason to be afraid,
Of something out there in the dark,
With claws as sharp as blades.

The doorbell rang unanswered,
The tunes too loud to hear.
The grownups blasting hip-hop hits,
Deaf to what was near.
His feathers were ruffled, black and brown,
His beak did click and cluck,
Wee Small Ben, the six-year-old,
Had plum run out of luck.

"Come with me," the old bird croaked,
Its talons 'round his fingers.
"Thanksgiving Eve has come again,
A time so fine to linger."
The bird took flight, up to a tree,
above the small boy's 'hood.
"Now take a gander 'round your town,
It's up to stuff no good!"

"That Best Buy and that Walmart,
That carpet store a-light.
Already selling Christmas things,
Before Thanksgiving Night!
Those workers working, young and old,
Beneath the lonesome glare,
Of sickly warehouse shopping bulbs,
and benefits not there!"

"Benefits?" The boy did ask,
"What's that, and why tell me?"
The wattle shook on Franklin Tom,
Who whispered, "Let's just see."
They walked into a Dollar Store,
Nobody said a word,
To Franklin Tom, the Turkey Beast,
A fierce and angry bird.

He flew atop a store display,
Of iPads, snacks and beer.
"I'm Franklin Tom, Thanksgiving's mine!
I bring Thanksgiving cheer!
Hear Me! Don't look at your phones,
Or text the ones you love,
Franklin Tom shall send you home,
with money in your gloves!"

The manager was furious,
Wall Street so ashamed,
The CEO's pay shrank six times,
To a level almost sane!
The workers laughed, their jobs secure,
The manager managed a grin,
They all went home, where they belonged,
Or on the town with friends!

The young boy yawned, as children do,
When drowsy in their heads,
Franklin Tom flew him home,
Just in time for bed!
"Now tell your folks," the Turkey said,
"If the TV's still good they should keep it.
Thanksgiving Day comes but one time a year,
It's for people and birds, let's not [BLEEP] it!"

Special Thanksgiving Multimedia Bonus Content: Ken Layne reads "The Turkey Beast of Thanksgiving Eve."

Ken Layne marks the nation's holidays and anniversaries in his American Almanac. Illustration by Jim Cooke.