On Pumpkin Row
Written by EvanC
This work was last updated October 31, 2018
Wednesday. Seven days until Halloween
Alice set me down on the cold wooden porch floor. She knelt down in front of me, chewing some freshly roasted pumpkin seeds.
“One week,” Alice said. “You’ve just got to survive one week until Halloween.”
Jeffry entered the front porch to join Alice, “You always talk to your pumpkins?”
Alice replied without taking her eyes off me, “He’s my baby.”
I watched Jeffry rolling his eyes, “You’re too cute,” he complimented Alice. “But come inside, you’re letting the cold in.”
Alice stood up, “Alright fine.” They entered the house and closed the door behind them.
My face burned with the newly scarred extrusions.
Henry was wrong when we were together in the cardboard crate at the Loblaw’s grocery store.
He said, “You won’t feel anything. They start at the top your scalp and cut at your stem making a hole into your head. The first stab will kill you, without a doubt. It’s not such a bad death.”
Across the street I could see another carved up pumpkin. His face was shaped with a large emoji smile, but I could see that it wasn’t its true character. Between the crevices was pain like mine. The other pumpkin was too far away to communicate with, but at least I wasn’t truly alone out here.
The sun was beginning to set. I tried to focus on ignoring the pain. Eventually I lost consciousness.
Thursday. Six days until Halloween
I awoke to colder air. The view remained the same as yesterday with the exception of the pumpkin across the street. A large portion of its face has been chewed off. Was this my fate? The squirrels are fat and greedy bastards.
I shivered through the cold day. I tried to distract myself by trying to remember the past. It took great concentration, probably something to do with having my scalp cut open and head gutted with a spoon. I tried to think of my childhood at the pumpkin farms. Those were good times, full of sunshine, naivety, and lack of pain.
Friday. Five days until Halloween
The pumpkin across the street looked even worse. More of his face has been eaten off, and now it didn’t really resemble anything, just a mangled corpse or something close to it. He was my closest friend.
Back on the farm there was a scarecrow. He always yelled foreboding words, “October 31 is the end of your lives. I haven’t seen it but the crows tell me no lies!”
We didn’t listen to the scarecrow. An old crazy thing we all thought. If we had listened would it change anything?
Tonight was even colder. I was about to fall asleep but was alerted when I heard scuffling nearby.
Peaking from behind the garbage can was the squirrel. Its eyes were on me and its hungry mouth hung open.
The squirrel wasn’t going to wait for my slumber. It took a step forward, then another. I tried to give my most menacing stare but to no avail. It kept approaching. It was several feet away and then it darted straight for me. Its mouth sank into my skin. Its little razor teeth nibbled until a chunk was ready to be pulled off.
The pain was different from the carving. This was more brutal. This was raw pain. A raw ravenous pain.
I wish I could pass out but each bite was a new burn that overlapped the previous.
The door opened. The squirrel immediately stopped and looked up. It was Jeffry.
The animal ran off leaving behind a solid chunk of my face lying in front of me.
Jeffry examined the results of the assault and understated the situation, “Shit, god damn squirrels.”
Saturday. Four days until Halloween
The weather was warmer. It felt good. The chunk of my face and my splurted guts were no longer in front of me but instead was a clean porch.
The pumpkin across the street was no longer there. I wondered what happened to him.
Before night fell, Alice opened my head and inserted something. I didn’t know what it was as I have no eyes on the inside of my head. But it felt warm. Painfully warm that made my insides feel like there were melting. And yet this warmth comforted me. A small glow of light also illuminated from my open wounds.
I felt warm this night but I was far from feeling secure. I was exhausted but awake in high anxiety about the squirrel. Every rustle of the wind caused my heart to skip a beat.
Hours passed. The moon was now high in the sky. Something approached, it wasn’t a squirrel but a person. He wobbled his way toward me until he was standing directly over. He reached down and picked up my scalp and dropped it next to me. It’s a strange thing to see one’s own scalp. The man began to unzip his pants and piss into my open head. His aim was bad and started to piss over my face before proceeding to drain directly into my body. The warmth and glow inside of me vanished into the darkness around me.
Sunday. Three days until Halloween
I looked up at the voice. A slim black cat sat in front of me.
The cat stretched and continued, “Looks like you hit some bad luck eh.”
Monday. Two days until Halloween
I sat there waiting. I felt nothing. Time was frozen but also moved quickly. Before I knew it the sun was gone. The people that walked along the sidewalk were gone. The fall colors were gone and replaced with darkness.
Their eyes glowed in the dark. Their movement was sly but they weren’t quiet. Leaves crunched under their scurried steps and loud squeaking noises hissed out of their mouths. Shiny teeth reflected in the light.
A small family of them surrounded me. Their fat stomachs and greedy eyes gave away their intentions.
The moon was dark that night.
Tuesday. One day until Halloween
The exhaust of a heating vent nearby kept me warm.
I tried to think of the farm with the other pumpkins but I couldn’t. I no longer had any memories.
The squirrel didn’t come when night fell. Neither did the raccoons. It was two men this time. Was one of them the same man that urinated in me? I couldn’t tell. Did it even matter?
“Look at this piece of shit pumpkin.” One of them exclaimed.
The other man slurred, “Fuck man, I don’t want to dirty my shoe by kicking this one in. It’s disgusting.”
“C’mon don’t play chicken shit. We’re kicking them all.”
“This one’s already beat up enough, there’s no point."
“No point? Since when was there a point for anything? You think there’s a grand point for farming pumpkins to carve out? It’s for the experience man. And this experience is kicking every mother fucking pumpkin in this shitty downtown. So c’mon let’s leave our point."
The man brought his foot back and swung it in a quick kick. The noise was more squishy than smashing.
Alice silently knelt down in front of the remains of the pumpkin.