Holiday Surprise
By: George Miller

It was 3:00 a.m. when Sparks sent Kowalski to find Chief Sharkey. The message that the Chief had been waiting for had finally come. Sparks had been given orders not to notify Sharkey by the ship’s intercom system. Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane were both off duty at the moment, and were sleeping in their cabins.

The Chief made his way to the Control Room along with Kowalski. The two men were being very quiet as they proceeded down the corridors. They could not afford to raise suspicions in the minds of any crewmembers. Word might get back to the Captain. Only a small number of the crew were in on the details of Sharkey’s secret mission.

“Man, Chief” Kowalski whispered, “this plan of yours better work or we’ll all end up in the brig. Meeting another ship at sea without the knowledge of the Captain and the Admiral. . .”

“I know, I know” Sharkey said, cutting Kowalski off. “It’s all going as planned. Nothing can possibly go wrong. Don’t worry so much.”

“Easy for you to say,” Kowalski grumbled. “You and Mr. Morton are officers on Seaview, while Sparks and me are only enlisted crew. . .”

They made it to the control room and Sharkey went directly to the radio shack to see Sparks.

“They’re here?” Sharkey asked.

“Yes, sir. They’re waiting for your instructions.”

“OK, Sparks. Tell them we are going to surface. Have them pull along side Seaview and cut all engines. We must not wake the Admiral. Make sure they understand that the transfer must be quick. We can only be on the surface for one minute.”

 “Aye-aye, sir.” Sparks replied as he began to transmit to the mystery ship.

Sharkey went over to Chip, “OK, sir. It’s time. The ship is just off our bow. Are you sure you can surface the Seaview without waking the Skipper and the Admiral?”

“It shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve had diving controls transferred to my command. We’ll surface and dive without the general alerts.” Chip then added, “Chief, you better pray this works! You’re asking me to make a trip to the surface and not log it into the computer.”

 “Oh, sir, you sound like Kowalski. Quit worrying. I’ve got all the details worked out. Nothing can go wrong. Nothing!!!”

Chip, still not fully convinced, went over to the diving station and talked to his men. “OK, surface the ship, quietly and slowly. I don’t want to even feel a small shift in the deck.”

The Seaview slowly began to rise. Chip was proud of his men. Even knowing the Seaview was going to the surface, he could feel no movement. The only indication was on the depth gauge. It seemed to take forever, but in just a few minutes Chip realized they were, indeed, on the surface.

 “OK, Sharkey. We’ve surfaced. You have one minute. Get on deck now...” Chip ordered. “Oh, one more thing... You have the money?”

“Yes, I’ve got it. One minute, yes sir. I’ll be right back!”

Sharkey went out on deck to meet the other ship. It was arriving just as he got there. They put out a platform to the Seaview and one of their sailors came across carrying a burlap bag. The Chief met him as he reached the Seaview, took the burlap sack and handed him the money.

 “Hey, this is pretty light!” Sharkey called out.

“It’s the best we could do,” The sailor replied. “You want it or don’t you?”

“Yeah, yeah, it’ll have to do. Thanks for your efforts. Now, shove off. The Seaview is diving in less than twenty seconds, whether I’m on board or not.”

The sailor ran back to his ship and withdrew the plank. Sharkey just made it back through the hatch as the Seaview began it’s dive.

Sharkey made his way down the ladder, handing the sack to Kowalski. “Is this it?” He asked Sharkey.

Hitting the floor in the control room, Sharkey said, “Give it to me! Yes, that’s it! It’ll do the job.”

“OK, Chief. . . lighten up. . . here it is,” he said, handing the burlap sack to the Chief.

Chip came over to the two men and advised, “We’re back to ninety feet. Looks like we pulled it off, Chief” Looking at the sack, he added. “Is that it?”

The Chief was becoming agitated. “Yes! This is it!”

“Well, relax, Chief, and get it below. Can’t have the Skipper walking in on us now, can we?” Chip asked.

“Right!” Sharkey, with sack in hand, headed below decks. He was proud of his accomplishment even if the others weren’t. They would all be glad later.

Sharkey was glad that his part of this plan was almost over and everything was going without a hitch. He went into the ship’s Galley and called out, “Cookie, you in here?”

“Yes!” a voice called from the back room. “Well, Sharkey, did you get it?”

“Here it is,” Sharkey said, placing the burlap sack up onto the counter.

Cookie opened the sack, looked in and said, “Is this it?”

“Man, I’m really getting tired of that question! Yes! This is it!” Sharkey added, “You can make it work, can’t you?”

“Well, I guess so. I’ve done more with less before,” Cookie added as he fully opened the sack and let out the live turkey.

The turkey, glad to be released, just pranced around the counter.

Sharkey said, “He is kind of cute. Do you think he knows?”

Cookie told Sharkey, “Don’t go soft on me now. In two days it’ll be Thanksgiving and you’ll feel differently then. All the men will.”

“Well, like you said, it’s two days away. Where are you going to hide our guest until then?”

“Don’t worry, Chief. I’ll come up with an idea.”

“OK, Cookie. He’s in your hands now. I’ve done my part,” the Chief added as he turned to leave the mess.

Sharkey left and Cookie was alone with the Turkey.

“OK buddy, we’ve got to find a place to hide you for the next two days. Where would be good?” he wondered. Then an idea came to him: “I’ve got it! You’re going to spend some time in the lab. We’re just on the way to a new mission and Admiral Nelson will not be going in there for about a week. It’s off limits to all other crew members, so no one will find you there.”

 Cookie put the turkey back into the sack and made his way to the lab. Checking the corridors to be sure no one was coming, he let himself in. He went to an area in the back of the lab and let the turkey out of the sack. “No need keeping you in there. We’ll just tie you up to the shelf here. I’ll be back to feed you a little later.”

Cookie checked through the slightly open door and seeing no one, quickly left the room. He was confident that all would be OK now. He thought to himself, “Boy is the crew going to be surprised for Thanksgiving!”

Captain Crane arrived in the control room at 08:00 to relieve Chip. “Good morning Chip.”

“Good morning, sir, sleep well?” Chip asked.

“Pretty well, one thing though. . .”

“Yes, Captain?”

“I had the strangest feeling at one point this morning... Did we surface last night for any reason? Anything unusual?”

Chip now felt himself in a spot that he’d never been in before. He was going to have to lie to the Skipper. He assured himself that it was for a good cause, but it still didn’t feel right. “No, sir. We’ve been on course all evening. Nothing unusual. Didn’t surface either. . . would be in the log.”

 “OK, it must have been a dream. Think no more of it, Chip. Maybe I should see the Doc for some pills to help me sleep better.”

“Maybe so, Lee.” Chip replied, still not at ease. “We’ve just ended one mission and now have started another. . . Need to get your rest when you can.”

“I’ll go see Doc after my watch. I’ve got the con, you go get some rest now. Everything should be uneventful for the next few days until we reach our destination.”

“Yes, sir.” Chip said. “We all need a break.”
Meanwhile, in the lab, a curious turkey had chewed threw the rope and was now investigating all parts of the lab. Being clumsy, he began to knock things onto the floor. He was creating quite a mess. Containers were breaking as they hit the floor, spilling their strange contents. One bottle that broke and poured it’s fluid on the floor seemed to interest thr turkey. He licked the liquid off the floor. He immediately began to feel strange. . . He went into a frenzy, destroying even more things in the lab.

A few hours later, Admiral Nelson was in the control room with Captain Crane and Mr. Morton, going over the details of their current mission. As they were plotting their course of action, Seaview violently listed to one side, throwing both the items on the table and the men to the deck.

Crane yelled to the helmsmen, “What the devil’s the problem? Regain the ship’s trim!”

“Trying sir. . . Don’t know what’s wrong. Seaview’s too heavy on the port side,” the helmsman replied.

“Ballast control!” the Admiral ordered. “Flood starboard tanks! Blow Port tanks! Balance out the load variance.”

The Seaview slowly responded, regaining a level setting.

“Damage control, report,” Chip called into the intercom.

“Damage control here sir, No damage.”

Lee grabbed the mike, “What caused the weight shift?”

“Don’t know, sir. . . Investigating.”

“Keep me informed!”

Just then the Seaview was rocked by an explosion. “What now!” Lee yelled out.

“Sir,” called Patterson. “Theres a fire showing on board.”


“In the lab, sir. A fire detail is going there now.”

Nelson was visibly upset. “In my lab? I’m on the way.”

Nelson and Crane left the control room on the run, heading for the lab. When they arrived they found the fire detail already knocking down the flames. Nelson went into the lab to find the room destroyed. There was also a huge hole broken through the back wall leading to the other corridor. Two men were injured and laying on the deck. Other emergency crew members were assisting them.

 “Lee, look at this place! What could have done this? Look at the size of the hole in the bulkhead,” the Admiral said.

Crane replied, “I can’t imagine. . . You men, get those two to sick bay. Tell Doc to check them over and that I’ll be there later to speak with them.”

Nelson asked Lee, “How are to two men?”

“They’re a little shook up,” Lee replied. “They should be fine.”
Admiral Nelson began searching through the debris in what was left of his lab. He was making a mental check of everything damaged when he stopped in his tracks. “Lee, come over here, now!”

The Captain quickly went over to Nelson’s side. “What is it? Find something?”

“I’m afraid so. I hope I’m wrong about this, but this vial contained an experimental growth serum that I was going to test on marine life when we reached our destination. Whoever or whatever got into it could be in big trouble, and I mean big trouble.”

 “Admiral, I don’t understand.”

“Lee, this serum is untested. Only a few drops could make small trout grow to the size of a full grown dolphin. I still have no idea what it’s limits are. If someone or something got a larger dose. . .”

 At that moment, the Seaview was violently rocked again. The submarine felt as though it would roll all the way over.

“Ballast control,” Nelson called over the intercom, “Correct for the weight shift. Level us off!”

“Trying, sir!”

“Admiral, Chip here. You’re needed in the control room, now!”

“On my way,” Nelson called.

Another message came across just then, “Captain Crane, Doc here. You better get to Sick Bay on the double.”

“The men, doc, how are they?”

“Please, sir, just come to the Sick Bay at once!”

Lee gave quick orders to his men to clean up the lab, but to stay away from the area with the serum. He then took off for the sick bay. When Lee arrived, he found that Sharkey was already there, checking on the condition of his men. The Captain passed Sharkey and went right over to Doc. 

“How are the men?”

“Captain, I wanted to see you before word got out about their injuries.”

“Yes? They were hurt in the explosion, right?

“No sir. They were not hurt in the blast. I’ve seen that type of injury on the Seaview before. This is different.”

“What do you mean. . . different?” Lee asked.

“Well, Captain. . . It appears these men were attacked.”

“Attacked? Come on doc, get to the point. Attacked by who?”

“Not who, sir. More like a what. This is going to sound crazy, but these men were attacked by a bird, a very large bird. They have both claw marks and injuries where they were bitten by the large powerful beak of a bird.”
Sharkey, overhearing this, said, “A bird, sir? Like maybe a turkey?”

Captain Crane turned to Sharkey, “Do you know something about this?”

“Me, sir? Oh no, sir. Not me.”

“Come on Chief. You’re too nervous. Spill it. What do you know about this?” Lee demanded.

“Oh, well. It’s a long story. . .” the Chief started to explain.

Nelson, in the meantime had reached the control room. “Chip, have you been able to maintain the trim of the Seaview?”

“Yes, for the moment. But, we’ve got another problem.”

“What now?” an angry Nelson asked.

“We’ve blown the ballast tanks to regain trim as needed, but the submarine is being weighed down. We don’t know what it is, but if the increase in weight continues, we’ll sink to the bottom in about twenty minutes.”

 “Chip, run at flank speed, full up angle on the planes. We’ll try to remain near the surface by using our speed and using the Seaview as you would an airplane.” Nelson added, “Check the navigational charts. Are there any islands nearby? We may have to beach the Seaview to keep from sinking.”

Chip hastily checked the local area navigational charts. He slammed his fist down on one particular spot. He called over to the Admiral, “Right here! It’s about eighty miles away. At flank speed, we might just make it, in case we can’t get rid of the extra weight.”

“Great, plot a course, flank speed, we’ve got to make it!”

Admiral Nelson turned to Kowalski, “Check the computer and try to locate the thing that is weighing us down.”

“Aye, sir.”

Kowalski began to check the computer and other ships sensors as requested. “Yes” he thought, “That’s it!”

He called to Nelson, “Sir, I show the excess weight on board being in the aft missile room.”

“Good job, Kowalski! Get some men together and follow me to the missile room. Chip, you’ve got the con.”

As Nelson was leaving the control room, a call came over the ship’s intercom. “Admiral, Crane here. I think I know what the problem is. You’re not going to believe this!”

“Good, I don’t know what it is, but I do know where it is. . . The aft missile room. Meet me there on the double!”

“Aye, Sir!” Lee replied. He turned to Sharkey, who was sitting there rather dejected. Well Sharkey let’s get going. You heard the Admiral. It’s in the missile room, and well, it is your turkey.”

 “But Captain, it was going to be a surprise.”

“No problem there Chief... It was a surprise. Now let’s get moving!”

Crane and the Chief were just arriving as Nelson, Kowalski and the other men were preparing to enter the missile room.

“Admiral,” Lee called. “There’s something you should know.”

“Later, Lee,” the Admiral called back to Lee as he was going through the doorway. All the others
passed into the room and simply froze where they were. They could not believe there eyes. Lee and Sharkey both knew what to expect, at least they thought they did. Standing at the back of the missile room was a turkey which was over fourteen feet high, and just as wide. It appeared to be getting larger and larger. 

“Wow!” called Kowalski, “Now that’s a bird!”

“Admiral,” Lee asked, “What are we going to do? It’s still growing!”

“I can see that, Lee!” The Admiral looked around the room for anything that could help. He spotted the power packs for the minisub on the nearby shelves. “Sharkey, Kowalski, bring the power units over here. Lee, let’s get these cables and two spearguns. Quick!!! Move it!”

“Admiral,” Lee responded, as he was getting the spearguns, “These will never even get through the feathers, much less stop it.”

“Thought of that already Lee, but one thousand volts with the spearguns as conductors should be able to stop it.”

“Right!” Lee agreed.

Sharkey and Kowalski had brought the power units and Nelson quickly wired his invention together. He could see the turkey was still growing at an alarming rate. “This just has to work,” he thought.

 Nelson threw a pair of rubber diving gloves to Lee. “Put these on,” he ordered. “Remember, Lee, we’ve got to penetrate the feathers to get good contact with the skin. We’re only going to get one chance at this”

Nelson turned to the other men. “All right men, all of you stay back. Lee, you take it’s left side, I’ll go over to the right. We’ve got to place the current at the right spot. Are you ready?”

Lee called back to Nelson, “I’d better be!”

“OK, then let’s do it!”

Nelson and Crane were approaching the turkey with their homemade probes, when the turkey turned and picked up a torpedo in his huge beak.

“Lee, wait!” yelled the Admiral. “Not while he’s got that torpedo. The voltage could cause it to explode!”

Sharkey, still feeling guilty over this whole mess, left the group of men and headed straight for the turkey. “Hey you. . .”

The turkey turned toward Sharkey.

“Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking to you!” He continued walking towards the turkey. “Put that down! Put it down, now! Or it’s back in the sack for you.”

The turkey must have remembered his days spent in the burlap sack and seemed to shudder with fear. His size caused the Seaview to shudder along with him. He turned his huge head and put the torpedo down on the floor. It rolled toward Sharkey. 

“Men,” called Sharkey. “Stop that torpedo before it hits anything!”

As the men all ran towards the torpedo, the turkey was busy watching them and didn’t see Nelson and Crane approaching with the probes.

“Lee, now!”


At the same instant, they both shoved their speargun probes into the underside of the turkey. There was an arc of electric current visible around the turkey as it let out a very loud scream. In just a few seconds the turkey fell to the deck. Lee and the Admiral backed away and disconnected the power units.

“Well, Lee. It worked.”

“That’s something we can be thankful for!” Lee replied.

The Admiral added, “There’s no better time for being thankful, Lee. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving
day, and I think the entire crew now has something to give thanks for.”

Sharkey, upset about everything, turned to leave the missile room. As he neared to the door, Cookie came running in. “Sharkey, I’ve been looking for you everywhere. It’s gone, Chief! I left it tied up in the lab but it got away. What are we going to do?”

 Sharkey stopped and pointed back across the room, “Don’t worry Cookie, we found it. The surprise is out.”

Cookie began to cross the room to where Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane were standing. He, like the others, just stared in amazement. “Wow!” was all he could say.

Nelson patted Cookie on the back and said, “There it is Cookie, it’s all yours. Hope you have enough gravy to go with it!”

Nelson turned to Sharkey and called out to him. “Oh, Sharkey. . . Thanks for thinking of the crew and a special ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ to you. . . .”

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