The Call of Cthurkey

The Call of Cthurkey

I was going to write a blog post listing all things for which I am thankful, but fate intervened. I stumbled upon a story about the the Chermpumple and I noticed a link at the bottom to a story about…the Cthurkey. Here’s a picture:


After reading this, a story instantly came to my mind. And as a Thanksgiving gift to you, I present:

The Call of Cthurkey

by Michael Tefft

(with apologizes to H.P. Lovecraft)


The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human stomach to tolerate the most obscene combinations. Cooking shows on the Food Network strain in each direction to inspire more and more strange combinations, but so far, none that our stomachs can’t handle. But some day, we will find the combination of foods that will surely drive us mad.

My knowledge of such a thing occurred this Thanksgiving. As was tradition, we assembled at the house of my parents. In the morning, we gathered in front of the television to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as was our want. I could smell a strange odor coming from the kitchen; at once delicious, while at the same time repugnant. Strangely, my mother would not let me help in any way with the cooking, saying simply she was trying something different and wanted to make it a surprise.

After some time, I asked my father if I could borrow his computer to check the hockey scores as cell reception was nearly zero at my parents’ house and my fantasy hockey team was not going to run itself. He grunted from his recliner and I went to my former bedroom, now the home office.

As I brought up the browser window, I noticed that one of my parents had left the browser brought up in a page full of strange and arcane recipes. As I read the page, I looked in horror at combinations of gelatin formed into translucent prisons for meat, vegetables or fruit. As the dread rose along with the bile in my throat, I read the “Comments”. And buried in the comments was a link to what was described as the most forbidden food combinations put together. The link simply read “Crockernomicon”.

With some trepidation, I moved the mouse and with a deep sense of foreboding, clicked the link. The site loaded; I immediately felt like I had stumbled on some lost and forbidden lore. I saw recipes for Jellied Chicken Loaf, Shrimp Aspic Mold, and Pickle Stretcher Salad. The more I read, the more my stomach gurgled and I swallowed hard to force down the rising bile. And then at the bottom of the page was a link to “A Truly Unique Thanksgiving Treat”. To my horror, I realized that the link had been already visited. With trembling hand, I clicked the link.

At the top of the page, I saw the phrase “In his tureen of Gr’vy, Chturkey waits for dressing”. Before I could read any more, my sister came to the door to tell me that the feast was ready. I closed the browser before I could finish looking at the screen, sure that I saved my sanity.

I followed my sister to the dining room table and froze. Before me lay a tableau out of a nightmare. On plates and serving trays were a collection of abominations that would destroy a man’s sanity. First, a transparent green tower trapped what looked like cole slaw within its shiny emerald walls. Nearby, a translucent white mound with flecks of red and green; the whole thing wobbling as the plate was handed from person to person. More and more of these transparent or translucent concoctions were handed to me. I knew what was expected and with rising dread, I scooped the various congealed food onto my plate. As I stared at the utter horror awaiting me, I was snapped from my daze by my mother’s voice. “Now for the main course.”

Nothing that that I had seen in my life prepared me for the horror that arrived on the platter. On bed of brussels sprouts that looked like the spawn of the Triffids, lay a true abomination. A fully roasted turkey with the tentacles of an octopus and the legs of a crab stretched the limits of sanity of my mind. This could only be one thing: the dread Cthurkey. Nothing I had seen in the Crockernomicon had prepared me for this. My father took his electric carving knife and hacked into the monstrosity. When asked if I wanted white meat or dark, I asked for white in fear that I might be eating turkey stained with the inky blackness of the octopus.

I ate and soon the strain was more than my brain could handle. Dinner became a blur. I must have paused out as I awoke alone on the recliner in front of the television, dimly aware that a football game was playing. As I tried to shake the horror of the feast from my mind, I kept hearing in my mind the words from the dread Crockernomicon:

“In his tureen of Gr’vy, Cthurkey waits for dressing”


I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful this year for everyone who has supported me as a writer.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.




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Why I Love Halloween

Why I Love Halloween

Halloween is very nearly my favorite holiday of the year – it’s closest rival is Christmas which I think I give the edge to because of the giving of presents.  It used to be the receiving of presents (and don’t get me wrong, I still like to get presents), but I love seeing the look in someone’s eyes when I get them the right Christmas present.

But Halloween is the next biggest holiday in our household.  And it started from when I first had my own place. That year, my (now) wife and I threw a Halloween costume party for our friends which was an annual occurrence until our son was about two years old. When we moved to our current house (a century plus old Carpenter Gothic style house), we created treasure hunts that went to scary themed rooms through out the house.  Once our son started to trick or or treat, the parties ended, but we still decorated.  For a couple of years, we had a graveyard of terror for kids to explore if they dared.

Why do I love Halloween so much?  I blame it on two things: a love of theatre and a love of horror.  Before my son was born, my wife and I participated in two – three community theatre shows each year.  I have to say, I love costumes…not that I ever got really great costumes.  But costumes do contribute greatly to character. And as an outgrowth of that, I have an interest in makeup. I honestly think that one of the worst things for my makeup interest was watching the SyFy show Face Off, as it only wants to make me do more things with makeup.

My love of horror probably goes back to my childhood to Monster Movie Matinee.  Every Saturday, starting at 1:00 PM when the cartoons were over, we travelled to the mansion on the hill (actually, a well crafted model), to see long fingers of Dr. E. Nick Witty, the host, with occasional appearances of Epal, his assistant. We never saw our host’s face, only his hand with the long fingers and dagger long nails.  The host would introduce the movie of the day which ranged from the classic Universal Monster movies (Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature From The Black Lagoon), to all manner of 50’s and 60’s horror movies including The Blob. I sat transfixed every Saturday afternoon that I could watching those movies. I think at one point, I even had put together one of those plastic models of Frankenstein with the glow in the dark gravestones (like in the original movie Fright Night)

In many ways, I was really lucky to grow up at the end of the Baby Boom era (I fit the generally accepted criteria for Gen X, but just barely).  At the height of the Baby Boom era, shows like Monster Movie Matinee could be found many places across the country as movies were used to fill time on the channels and I’m sure that many of the movies could be broadcast cheaply.  Shows like Monster Movie Matinee just don’t exist anymore and it’s damn hard to find a channel with the classic monster movies.  TMC is usually a good bet (like they were much of Halloween this year) to see the 1950’s and 1960’s Hammer Studio remakes of the classic monster movies with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee seemingly changing place as the monster du jour.  I find it sad that we don’t get to appreciate these old movies very often.  They aren’t scary in what we would consider scary according to modern sensibilities, but they have such great atmosphere. And they have defined the tone of many horror genres since.

This has been a great Halloween for me as I’ve been able to reconnect to my love of the old horror movies. I got to watch two Hammer Studio productions of Dracula, Prince of Darkness and Dracula 1972 (sort of Dracula meets Austin Powers). In addition, I watched two horror classics that I’ve never seen before; The Exorcist (yes, I’m ashamed that I’ve never seen it until now) and The Evil Dead. This will probably keep me sated for horror movies until next Fall (Walking Dead  not included in that statement).

So here are some pictures of the Tefft House of Terror.  We went with the ever popular Frankenstein theme with my wife Colleen as the mad scientist and yours truly as the monster. I went with an interpretation similar to the Peter Cushing Frankenstein of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed because I thought it made more sense than the green, block-headed shape of the Karloff Frankenstein.

So what does all of this have to do with my writing? My love of horror will be evident in my next book. Without giving away too many spoilers, the book will drift more into the supernatural and horror genre. Malcolm and friends will find themselves confronting horrors that they are not necessarily prepared to fight.  I don’t want to say too much more because: a) I don’t want to spoil anything, and b) it’s not written yet so everything is subject to change.

Until this time next year, creepy dreams!


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