I'm sorry. I know I promised this in time for Thanksgiving. I'm only about two months late. But here it is, finally. Enjoy. And for further amusement, keep in mind that this is pretty much based on a typical Thanksgiving with my family. Some lines are directly quoted.


Chapter 8

It was that horrible, dreaded, most evil time of year. It was Thanksgiving. Normally, Eric Cartman relished in Thanksgiving. The holiday was centered entirely on food and football. Some people also included family into the mix, but Cartman didn't care about that so much.

No, this year, the joys that the holiday normally brought him—a day home from the office watching football while his goddess of a wife heaped piles of mashed potatoes, dressing, and turkey legs onto his plate—were being completely ruined by the invitation Wendy had extended not only to Kenny and Bebe but Stan and Kyle as well.

Cartman said they should just go back to South Park and make their families deal with them and their gayness, but Wendy countered. Apparently Shelly was going through her third divorce and her parents were taking her on a cruise to console her. They hadn't invited Stan. And Kyle was going to be down in D.C. anyway because of a business trip on Friday. So of course, Wendy insisted that they come spend the holiday with them.

Cartman was no less than seething. Thanksgiving was his time. Stan and Kyle had no right to encroach upon it. The only logical option was to kill them, but Wendy expressly forbid it.

They argued about it enough that Wendy nearly snapped when Cartman flatly refused to go with her to pick them up from the airport. So she left without him, screaming over her shoulder that if the cornbread wasn't crumbled up when she got back there would be hell to pay. Cartman snarled as she shut the door, but he crumbled the slightly stale bread anyway. Fuck if he was going to let Stan and Kyle ruin cornbread dressing.

Task complete, he cracked open a beer and dropped heavily into his armchair, turning on the TV and plotting ways that he could slip Kyle ham tomorrow.

The party entered the house loudly. Michael ran in ahead of his parents, offering Cartman a polite and tentative hello. Cartman was his godfather, but it was obvious that Michael didn't really know how to handle him yet. Kenny assumed that the kid would figure it out in a couple of years and made no efforts to encourage interaction or even explain Cartman's nature to the boy. Michael then scrambled upstairs to the game room that Wendy had set up for him. Cartman didn't budge from his chair. They could just come into the living room if they had something to say to him.

Kenny asked where he was, and Wendy made some snarky reply. A brief moment later, Kenny sauntered into the living room like he owned the place. Cartman frowned at him. Shuffling reluctantly on Kenny's heels were Stan and Kyle. Kyle's shoulders were tense, waiting for the barrage of insults to his religion that Cartman did not fail to deliver.

The initial confrontation then out of the way, Kenny plopped down onto the couch. "So what are you and Wendy fighting about this time," he asked. When Cartman continued to glare heatedly at Stan and—more vehemently—Kyle, Kenny rolled his eyes. "Get over it, man. She's still going to cook lunch and let you watch the game. And she'll be cheerful about it because she's got Bebe around to talk to and plenty of people to use for manual labor."

"Only poor people and Jews are good for labor," Cartman said. "So the emo and bitch are worthless unless they're making cookies."

Kyle snorted loudly, but otherwise said nothing. His restraint came more from Stan's tight grip on his shoulder than from turning the other cheek. "You know," Stan said conversationally, "I only did the emo/goth thing once. And I was, like, eight."

With an almost pitying look, Kenny said, "Dude, any time you and Kyle have a fight, you lock yourself in your room and play bad 80s music with all the lights off."

Kyle patted his hand. "You are pathetic like that."

Cartman huffed, "Fags."

Wednesday night continued on much in this vein, with little in the way of disturbances. When Cartman woke up the next morning, he remained lying in bed for several long minutes, bemoaning his misfortunes of the day ahead.

Most years, Wendy was able to talk her parents out of flying over for the holidays and convince them that she was too busy to come home. Cartman flat out refused to go back and told his mother straight up that she wasn't to come see him. She always accepted his demands cheerfully. Only the first two years they were married did Wendy want their parents to be a part of the day. Wendy was an excellent cook, and she was a perfectionist. If things didn't go according to her exact (over the top) plans and expectations, she lost it. The first year, she kicked him in the balls when he told her to calm her ass down.

At that meal, there had only been five people present. During his childhood, Cartman had always spent the day with his family in Nebraska. The Cartman family was numerous, and they seemed to grow larger—not just in weight—every year. He'd made the mistake of wandering into the kitchen once when he was seven, looking to steal a turkey leg before dinner was ready. After stepping on him and nearly splashing him with boiling water in the process, one of his aunts had screamed at him until his ears were ringing. He'd always hated that bitch. And when she had ordered him to get out of the kitchen, his uncle had nearly opened the oven on his head, and his grandfather tried to rope him into carrying a stack of twenty-five plates along with all the numerous utensils into the dinning room.

Cartman had never made the mistake of walking into a kitchen on Thanksgiving again. That was where the cooks belonged and as a spectator, he preferred to sit on the couch with the television on.

So this year, although they wouldn't be cooking for twenty-five, there would be seven, and Wendy would turn it into a big production because neither Stan nor Kyle had ever been over for such a festive meal before. And because they were her guests, Wendy would refuse to let anyone else help her with the preparation. That meant that she would try to make him do all the bitch work. And he wasn't going to be a part of that, which meant their fight was about to escalade to all new proportions.

Cartman sighed and heaved himself out of bed, preparing for the day and the inevitable. He dressed in a pair of jeans and a Broncos jersey, and after walking out of his bedroom and down the stairs, he walked straight for the bar in the living room to make a strong whiskey drink.

"Bit early for that, isn't it," Kyle asked snidely. Cartman was tempted to throw the drink on Kyle, but that would be a waste of good alcohol. So he settled for flipping him off. He sat down on his chair—throwing Kenny up and over to the couch in the process—and focused his attention on the TV, but he could still hear the sounds of Wendy in the kitchen over the speakers. Things sounded calm enough, but Cartman knew that she would erupt the closer everything got to being done.

It was about when the pregame show started that Wendy yelled, "Eric, can you come in here?"

Cartman didn't budge. He didn't even move his eyes from the screen. "Cartman," Kenny said. "She's calling you."

"I don't care," Cartman said.

"The game's not on for another half-hour at least," Stan said. "You're not missing anything."

"Eric!"

"Dude, just help her out for a few minutes," Kyle said. "She won't let the rest of us in there."

"She's the one that wanted so many people over. Now she has to deal with it," Cartman said.

"ERIC!"

"Dickhole," Bebe scoffed, getting up from her seat and stalking into the kitchen. They could hear the mini fight break out between the two women. Wendy was shouting that Bebe was a guest and that it wouldn't kill Cartman to come help her out for ten God damn minutes. Bebe countered by telling Wendy not to worry about Cartman because men would be men, which meant they needed their precious football, and that she could use some practice in the kitchen anyway.

Cartman returned his full attention to the TV and his drink, ignoring the glares that Kyle and Stan gave him on occasion, and Bebe remained in the kitchen until Wendy declared the food to be ready at the start of the second quarter. Kyle and Kenny immediately got up, Stan following a second later with a little look of longing at the TV. Cartman remained in his seat. "Eric, food's ready," Wendy said.

"So bring me a plate," he said.

Wendy frowned, stepping to block his view of the TV. She planted her hands on her hips, further blocking the screen when he tried to lean over. "We have company this year. We're eating in the dinning room."

"You might be eating in the dinning room," Cartman said, "but I'm eating right here where I can watch the game."

"The game will still be on when we're done eating," she said.

"I'm not going to miss an entire quarter just because you invited the fag and the Jew over," Cartman said.

Wendy's eyes flashed. She ripped the remote from his hand and quickly set it to record the station. "There," she snapped. "It's being TiVo-ed. Now come and eat or so help me, I will jam my gravy ladle up your ass!"

She'd do it.

Cartman sighed heavily, conveying as much suffering and plight into the gesture as he could. When Wendy remained unimpressed, he took to growling obscenities under his breath. Wendy turned on her heel and went back into the kitchen, presumably to grab some more food or another serving dish. Cartman shuffled into the dinning room, taking his place at the head of the table. Wendy walked in with a basket of rolls, took her place next to her husband, and said, "Dig in, everyone."

Stan, Kyle, and Kenny immediately showered Wendy with compliments to the spread, and Wendy humbly brushed them off, as if she didn't know that she had God's hands when in the kitchen. Cartman loaded up his plate with a turkey leg, a few thick slices of ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, rice and cornbread dressing, green beans, three rolls and a chunk of canned cranberry. As he scooped it off the plate, Stan made a face. "Gross, what is that?"

Cartman's eyes narrowed as he lowered the plate back to the table. "Canned cranberry," he said lowly.

"Canned cranberry," Kyle repeated, the look on his face almost as repulsed as the one on Stan's. "Really, Wendy," he asked. "Considering the rest of this?" Everything else on the table had been alive less than forty-eight hours ago. The vegetables had been grown in Wendy's little garden in the back, and she had as good as hunted down and killed the turkey and ham herself.

Wendy smiled sheepishly. "Eric insists on it," she said. Then she giggled, lifting up the plate. "It's not too bad. I mean, look at it. It's got the shape of the can on it." She pointed to the little ridges in the gelatin like substance.

"That's still gross," Stan said.

"I'll eat it," Kenny offered, reaching over Bebe and grabbing the plate from Wendy's hands.

The meal progressed pleasantly enough, if the others ignored the big pile of tension that was Cartman. Finally, after he was finished eating and not waiting for anyone else, Cartman stood, leaving his dirty plate behind for Wendy to take care of and walked into the living room, but not before throwing a slice of ham right into Kyle's face. He snickered at the obscenities Kyle flung after him and ignored Wendy's indignant screeches.

He sat back in his chair, picked up his newly refilled whiskey, and flipped the game back to where he had been forced to get up. Wendy came storming into the living room after him, Kyle on her heels and the others hovering in the doorway to watch the show.

"Eric, what is the matter with you?"

"That's not funny, fatass!"

"I bitch-slapped your Jew-rat face with a ham. You're going to have to explain to me where there is a lack of humor in that," Cartman said.

"Eric, you're thirty-one years old," Wendy lectured. "It's time to grow up. You can't just do that to one of our guests."

"He's your guest," Cartman clarified. "And I hate him."

"Hate him on your own time," Wendy snapped. "No offense, Kyle," she added in a more pleasant tone. Kyle simply shrugged at her. "Eric, come help me with the kitchen. It's the least you could do after that stunt."

"I'm not going in there," he said, laughing at the very idea.

"You didn't even bother to bring your plate to the sink!"

"I never do," Cartman said. "Why would I start now?"

"Just come help me," she demanded.

"No," he said. "It's woman's work, and even if it wasn't, I'm sure it looks like Hiroshima in '45 in there. That's the sort of shit we have a maid for."

"She's not scheduled to come again until Tuesday," Wendy said. "And we aren't leaving the kitchen looking like that for that long."

"You keep saying we like I'm included in all this," he said.

"Eric, God dammit, you get your ass into that kitchen right now and help me straighten up."

"Did I or did I not already clarify that cleaning the kitchen is the work for either women or illegal Mexicans," Cartman asked. "Now get out of the way, bitch. I can't see the TV."

"You can't call me a bitch," Wendy screeched.

"I can if you keep screaming in my ears," he yelled back. Wendy reached out, grabbed the remote from his hand and jammed her thumb violently over the power button. The screen went black, and Cartman snarled, "What the fuck is wrong with you, ho? Put it back on."

"No," she said stubbornly. Glaring, Cartman reached into the depths of the chair, where he had hidden an extra remote for just such occasions as when Wendy was being difficult and hit the power. The TV flared back to life, and Cartman smirked smugly as Wendy's jaw dropped. With a snarl, she stormed over to the TV, reached behind it, and ripped the power cord from the wall.

With a murderous frown, Cartman jumped up from his chair and walked over. He pushed Wendy out of the way and plugged the TV back in. She tried to reach around him to get at the cord, but his much larger bulk effectively blocked her every move. He grinned after her when her cheeks puffed up like a chipmunk and she stormed from the room.

Cartman went back to his chair, pleased with himself. He had won that battle spectacularly. But his victory was short lived. Just as he was getting comfortable, Wendy returned, a pair of large hedge clippers in her hands. Vaguely, Cartman wondered if she was going to threaten his balls with them again, but then his eyes widened in horror when she stuck them behind the TV and snipped. The screen erupted into static.

"WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST DO," he thundered. Michael clung to his mother's leg and began to cry. Kenny reached down to appease him with a slice of canned cranberry.

Wendy stood triumphant before the TV, the hedge clippers poised to inflict more damage. "I'll follow you through every room in the house," she warned. And Cartman knew that she would. She'd snip every single cable cord in the house, even the one he'd set up in the slave house.

He stood seething at her for several long minutes, his fists clenching and unclenching and his left eye twitching. His mouth moved in silent rage, his vocal cords completely unable to express the degree of outrage he was feeling towards his wife.

Very suddenly, he yelled, "Kenny, get your poor ass in the car and drive me to a bar!" Cartman's face had turned red with rage. Kenny, knowing that if Cartman threw so much as his whiskey glass at him in that fit of rage then there were no less than five ways he could be killed, scrambled into the kitchen to grab Cartman's keys from by the garage door. Cartman made a very dramatic and violent exit from the house, slamming the door so loudly that they heard glass shatter. Wendy slammed her foot down and let out a scream that sounded not unlike an owl thrown into a blender.

Bebe, who was the only one brave enough to approach Wendy, patted her back sympathetically. She motioned towards the kitchen with her head, and Stan and Kyle scrambled to wash dishes and put leftovers into the refrigerator. Michael even helped by wiping down the counters. He thought for a moment about sweeping up the glass that had shattered around the door, but decided against it. He was half convinced that his father's chronic deaths were an inheritable trait, and he wasn't taking any chances.

They had finished with most of the kitchen—only the heavily dirtied pans left—when Bebe ushered a sobbing Wendy into the kitchen. Kyle quickly rummaged through the liquor cabinet and pulled out some s'more flavored schnapps. He was about to mix it into a drink, but Wendy snatched the entire bottle from him. "Why does he always do this," she wailed. "He ruins everything when we have company over!"

"Honey, he's anti-social," Bebe said, not bothering to touch on the myriad of other mental problems Cartman had. "Of course he's going to ruin things."

"But Thanksgiving is always so nice when it's just us."

"Because you're the only person Cartman likes," Bebe reminded her.

"He still doesn't need to throw ham!"

Stan shrugged and leaned his folded arms on the counter. "At least he didn't slip it in where Kyle accidentally ate it."

"Thanks for your input, Stan," Kyle said dryly. Stan grinned at him.

"Excuse me," Wendy snapped, reaching over to grab several tissues from a nearby box. "We are focused on me right now." Stan and Kyle both turned to her with rapt attention. Wendy brought the tissue up to her nose, irritation fading to be replaced once again by misery. "I just don't know why he can't behave."

"You married a jerk, Wendy," Kyle said. "You knew what you were getting into."

"I know you have a problem with him," Wendy said, "but you don't get to see him like I do. He really can be so great. He gets me. He doesn't back down and just let me walk all over him. He's a challenge, all the time, even now. I mean, he's the best guy I've ever been with. All the other ones were just marginally acceptable."

"Ouch," Stan said a brief moment later. Wendy only shrugged. She continued to wail and bemoan the argument she'd just had with her husband, much to the misery of her guests, especially Kyle and Stan's when she got into their sex lives.

It was nearly two hours later that the phone rang. Bebe glanced over at the caller ID. "It's Cartman," she said.

Wendy snarled. "Don't answer it. I never want to talk to him again." Stan and Kyle exchanged confused glances. Wendy had just spent the past few hours worrying—loudly—that Cartman would never come home because she had done the unthinkable in cutting the cable wire. A moment later, the call went to the answering machine. No message was left, but the phone began to ring loudly again.

"It might be an emergency," Bebe said.

A second later, Kenny's voice came through on the answering machine. "Hello," he called. "Hello? I know you're still there. Someone pick up!"

Bebe reached over and hit the speaker button. "Hi, hun," she said.

"Bebe, oh thank God," Kenny said relieved. "Whoever hasn't been drinking too much over there, they need—" Here his words jumbled. "—out of control."

"Kenny, you have to speak up. It's really loud where you are."

"I said, Cartman's out of control. Someone needs to come take care of this."

"Can't you talk him down, dude," Stan asked.

There was a loud shout and the sound of breaking glass. Kenny cursed wildly. "What's going on over there," Kyle asked.

"Cartman got smashed, and now's he's picking fights with people. The bartender just called the cops."

Wendy seethed. "He's going to get arrested? Kenny, you poor bastard, did you even try to stop him?"

"What? Of course I tried! I tried to stop Eric Cartman from getting in a bar fight after having a huge fight with his wife. And I got a God damned deli toothpick stabbed in my eye as a consolation prize. It's taking me longer to die than usual, so this is really painful and bloody. But don't worry about me," Kenny said meanly. Only Bebe dared to snicker.

Just then, through the phone, they could hear the sound of police sirens. Wendy buried her face in her heads. "Oh dear Lord," she muttered. "Where are you, Kenny?"

"Wet Whistle or Worse for the Wear or something gay like that," he said over the sounds of Cartman and a new voice—presumably a police officer—screaming at each other. "Shit, he's trying to fight him. Cartman, stop it!"

There were some more scuffle noises, Kenny shouting, and finally, Kenny came back on the line and calmly asked, "Can someone come down here and take care of him? I'm almost out of blood."

Almost simultaneously, everyone in the kitchen looked at Kyle. "What, me," he asked.

"Well, I'm not going," Wendy said roughly. "I don't care if I never see him again."

"Think about it, dude," Stan said. "You've been fighting Cartman—like physical fist fights—since we were little kids. And he's never been small."

Bebe nodded. "If he's out of control, who better to send in than the Jew with anger management who wouldn't hold back from smacking him around?"

"Use your Jew Kung Fu," Stan said, expression deadly serious as he mimicked martial arts moves.

Kyle rolled his eyes. "Fine," he said. "But I need directions, and, Stan, stop doing that." Stan dropped his hands and pouted. Wendy made a show of being irritated as she wrote them out directions to the bar—and for good measure, the police station—but then she snapped at them to hurry back with her husband.

They had almost forgotten that the phone was still on. It was just as Kyle and Stan shrugged on their coats and walked toward the door that Cartman's voice thundered, "Bitch, I took business law! I know my rights!"

Stan couldn't stop the snort of laughter in time. Wendy, mortified, slapped one hand to her face, the other motioning for Stan and Kyle to leave.

The misadventure of collecting Cartman from the police station was nothing short of hell. In the mere half hour that he was there, Cartman had managed to rally all of the inmates into a rebellion. They burned down the station and escaped out into the city. Stan and Kyle managed to find him a couple of hours later chunking a Subway sandwich at the statue of Abraham Lincoln and slurring some rant about George Washington Carver and his peanuts.

Kyle wrestled Cartman into the back of the car, and then talked his ear off about how he needed to apologize to Wendy because the rest of them were ill-equipped to deal with her raging emotions. Cartman's response was simple. "If I—if I died in a car crash, I only hope that bitch is in the seat next to me."

The car fell into silence for several moments. Finally, Stan, turning to glance at Kyle, said, "Now, see, I choose to interpret that as he can't live without her and she can't live without him." Kyle just buried his face in his hands and bemoaned his life.