Fire, Metal, Oil, and Turkey
“So,” Hikaru Sulu said when he pulled the vehicle up to their destination. “I gotta ask, Scotty, why exactly you can get away with bringing a fire extinguisher to Thanksgiving, but we all had to bring food?”
In the back seat with said fire extinguisher resting on his lap, Scotty’s smile told Sulu that he had zero intention of answering the question, but held confidence that before the end of the day everyone would find out that answer. How they’d find out was the real question, and Scotty was not about to spoil that fun. Seated next to him with a freshly baked blueberry pie secure on her lap, Uhura grinned at the Engineer. Apparently, she could know the big secret, but no one else could. Not exactly fair in Sulu’s opinion.
Sulu powered down the transport, sighed, and looked at the house in dread.
“And vhy did ve have to vear these shirts?” Chekov whined from the front passenger seat, the navigator’s position during road-trips.
“Because we all agreed to wear the plaid shirts to make Jim happy. Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday, and he wanted to go all out with the autumn dress code, which means plaid,” Uhura reminded him through a smile, ignoring Scotty mumbling that the correct word was tartan not plaid. “It’s kind of nice to see everyone wearing it, actually.”
“Nice for you, maybe,” Chekov groused. “Not all of us can look good in ewerything, including plaid.”
Uhura looked at the youngest of them, skimming her gaze over the crossed-armed, pouting, disgruntled man wearing a peach and black plaid shirt. It wasn’t terribly flattering on him, but then again, his attitude didn’t improve the look either. She shook her head and opened her door to get out. “Let’s stop delaying this.”
With a long, dramatic exhale, Sulu flung open his door and stepped out. “Hey, Chekov, could you hand me the—” Chekov shoved the large bowl of steamed vegetables into his waiting hands. “Right, thanks.” He stood there, waiting for everyone else to get out of the transport and join him on the driveway, facing the house, to join him for the slow walk towards intestinal suffering for the next half a day.
“Vell, here ve go.” Chekov stood next to Sulu with his own offering, a heaping bowl of mashed, whipped potatoes. Neither of them moved to approach the house.
“Don’t worry, gentlemen, I’ll go first,” Uhura said, shoving aside Chekov to lead the way to the front door. Scotty followed closely behind her. Knowing they had no choice anymore, Sulu and Chekov trailed behind.
Uhura knocked on the door firmly and stepped back to wait. The door remained shut. She knocked again, harder. Scotty snickered. “Leave it to Doctor McCoy not to install a chime on the thing.” The door didn’t open.
“Maybe no von’s home?” Chekov said, a desperate, hopeful note in his voice.
Sulu glared at Chekov. “Really?”
“Then vhy is no von answering?”
Everyone looked to Uhura for an explanation. She rolled her eyes and pressed her ear against the door trying to hear anything that could explain why they were stuck standing there on the porch. Just as she raised her hand to knock one more time, the door flung open to reveal McCoy’s daughter, Johanna, looking frazzled and at the end of her patience. “Thank Jesus!” she exclaimed. “Maybe you guys can get Uncle Jim’s insanity under control!” She turned around and stormed back into the tense depths of the house where the now obvious sounds of an argument clashed.
Awkwardly, the group entered the house and gingerly headed closer to the shouting match. The entered the kitchen to find Doctor McCoy, Spock, and Kirk facing off against each other circled around the kitchen island, upon which sat a deep pot and various tools. Johanna leaned against the far counter, arms crossed and looking just as fed up with the situation as the men.
“I want a deep-fried turkey, Bones!” Kirk demanded. “This Thanksgiving gathering was my idea and I want a deep-fried turkey!”
“Well, Jim, it’s my house, and I’m not in the mood for—”
“Turkey and oil are a dangerous combination, Jim,” Spock pointed out, he being the calmest of the trio. “Especially in your hands.”
Flabbergasted, Kirk stared open-mouthed at Spock. “What the—what does that even mean, Spock?”
Spock silently sighed and then began to explain his premise. “Hot oil and a wet, frozen turkey when pushed together make steam, and the weight of the turkey pushes the hot oil over the top of that pot and it then immediately ignites on the open flame below it.” Spock pinned Kirk with a challenging glare. “Which is precisely what happened the last time you insisted on a deep-fried turkey.”
Kirk threw his arms up. “I was young and arrogant!”
“It was last year,” Spock reminded him.
Bones joined in on Spock’s argument. “Jim, you were blinded by your hunger and ignored basic safety with that disaster!”
Spock nodded. “He spat in the face of science.”
“You set yourself on fire!” Bones leaned on the island to glare heatedly at Kirk over the pot between them. “I remember telling you then ‘Damnit, Jim, that’s too much oil!’ But you didn’t listen and ended up setting yourself on fire!”
Kirk pursed his lips and stubbornly said, “Fried turkey tastes great. And I just want a moister, tastier turkey.”
“I want to know how you plan to keep our family safe from your turkey-fryer fires!” Bones exploded angrily. “You damn near burned your house down last time because you had the thing set up way too close! You burned yourself!” He pointed a finger at Kirk to try to make his stance stick in Jim’s stubborn, thick head. “Well, Jim-boy, you ain’t burning down my house because you can’t cook a god-damn turkey!”
The three of them glared at each other in lingering silence until Kirk nodded in agreement. “Alright, I admit that that first fryer took so much from me,” he said. “Mostly arm hair and a little skin!” he amended when he saw McCoy winding up to crow his victory.
“But it did give him a healthy and much needed fear,” Spock quickly said before Kirk could claim he won the discussion.
“Jim, it’s just so dangerous with you doing it, you can’t even imagine!” Bones said, the fight starting to go out of him.
In the sudden lull of the argument, Scotty stepped forward. “Well, lads, it just so happens that I have some knowledge on how to properly deep-fry that there turkey, and—” He nodded to the fire extinguisher he had. “—I had a suspicion that was what the Captain was going to want to do, so I came prepared this year.”
“Oh my sweet Christ in Heaven,” Johanna mumbled, though not quiet enough to prevent everyone from hearing it.
“Amen, Jo,” Bones agreed.
Kirk smiled. “Thanks, Scotty.” He turned his confident smile to the McCoys. “See? We can still deep-fry this thing!” Bones moaned in despair. Kirk beamed at Scotty. “Don’t you agree that deep-fried turkey is the only way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey?”
Scotty shifted. “I wouldna say the only way, sir. But I would say that fire, metal, oil, and turkey are glorious when in harmony but their power is unrelenting in careless hands.” He pointedly nodded at Kirk, whose smile evaporated like moisture meeting hot oil.
“Thank you, Mister Scott,” Spock said.
“Captain, why don’t ye let Mister Sulu and me do that turkey this year?” Scotty proposed. “I’ll allow ye to watch, but not take part, and carve it up after, but there’s no way I’m letting ye near that pot of oil.”
Kirk pondered over the offer.
“Jim, I’m not kidding,” Bones stated. “The only way in Hell you’re eating a deep-fried turkey today is if you don’t lay a finger on it until it’s fully cooked and sitting on a platter ready to eat!”
Kirk sighed. “Fine.” He waved a dismissive hand at Scotty. “Carry on, Mister Scott.”
Scotty straightened. “Aye, sir!”
Sulu groaned, knowing he’d been volunteered into this culinary mess. He handed his bowl of vegetables to Chekov and started to roll up his plaid sleeves. “Let’s get this done, then.”
“Right!” Scotty led Sulu towards the back of the house and the back door to the large yard where he planned to find the most open spot to fry the turkey. He called back to the kitchen, “Johanna, lassie, could ye bring the pot on out here?” Her loud groan sufficed as agreement.
Everyone followed the Engineer and Helmsman towards the back door, having grabbed the other supplies that Johanna didn't bring with the pot, and Chekov loudly assigning someone to bring the turkey out when it was time. A light touch to her shoulder stopped Uhura. "Miss Uhura, a moment," Spock said, his other hand typing on a padd he'd produced from seemingly nowhere. "Would you please be sure to relate these instructions to Mister Scott and Mister Sulu during their preparation?" He handed her the padd. She skimmed the bullet points and struggled to hold back a grin. She nodded to him, turned smartly and headed out after everyone else.
"Come along, Doctor." With a long-suffering eye roll, McCoy trailed along after Spock. Neither of them left the house, but they stood at the door, watching through the window as Uhura rejoined the turkey-frying party in the yard.
"Where's the dingle-dangle?" shouted Scotty, who'd quickly rigged up the contraption's configuration.
Sulu held the strange metal piece aloft triumphantly. "There's the dingle-dangle." With a devilish and suggestive grin he handed it over.
"Alright, listen up!" Uhura said, coming forward reading from the padd. "Mister Spock has some helpful tips."
"I think we can all figure out how to do this safely without our resident vegetarian's guide to cooking meat," Kirk protested, making sure his voice carried back to the door where Spock observed. "Just because I burned myself last time doesn't mean I need the warnings read to me this year."
Scotty chuckled as he started to pour the oil into the pot. "I think ye might, Captain. Obviously did ye no good last time."
"Number One!" shouted Uhura before Scotty could proceed further. "Avoid spillover. Don't overfill the pot!" Scotty immediately slowed down his pouring speed. "Number Two: Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the oil."
McCoy leaned closer to Spock to mumble, "I think that's where Jim went wrong last time."
Spock nodded. "Indeed."
"Number Three: Fry outside and away from house," Uhura said.
"Check!" confirmed Kirk, glaring at McCoy and Spock from across the yard.
"Number four: properly thaw turkey before frying." Uhura turned to Johanna. "Since Chekov decided you're going to get the turkey from the house, I'm leaving you in charge of that step." Johanna nodded. "And lastly, number five: keep the grease fire-approved extinguisher nearby at all times."
Scotty lit the fire under the pot. "That's why I brought the thing, lass."
"You knew this was going to happen?" Sulu asked.
"I had a mighty suspicion about it, aye."
"I'm impressed, Mister Scott," Sulu said, nodding.
"So am I," McCoy grumbled as he turned away from the window and back towards the kitchen. Spock, having no interest in seeing the backyard explode like last year, followed him. When he arrived in the kitchen, McCoy had rolled up his pink and black plaid shirt sleeves and was pouring two bottles of alcohol into one glass. "You want one, Spock?"
Spock waited until McCoy finished mixing his own drink, complete with a light leafy garnish before replying. "I think I do, Doctor." McCoy's hand froze halfway towards tasting his drink. "I think I do," Spock repeated, copying McCoy's body language and rolling up his green and black plaid shirt sleeves.
Silently, McCoy mixed a second drink, garnish and all for Spock. He slid it across the island and then raised his own. "A toast to Jim not burning down my house in his quest for a goddamn deep-fried turkey."
"Thank Surak for our shipmates," said Spock, raising his drink.
McCoy clinked their glasses together. "Amen to that, Spock."