When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed. I was crestfallen. We’d carved it from one of the nicest pumpkins on sale at the Piggly-Wiggly grocery over in Grant County. It was from our weekly family time, when we all make something nice together for crissakes.
The means of the destruction was clear enough. Yellow-orange tire tracks had spread Jack’s innards across the walk and onto the lawn. Deliberate vehicular pumpkincide, the police report would say. But there wouldn’t be a police report. As the garage door opened, I understood why. Parked in its usual spot was a hot pink Power Wheels Barbie Jammin Jeep Wrangler with slimy orange yellow tires.
Walking into the house, the carnage continued. Laying on the laundry room floor was a powder-blue Disney™ Cinderella princess ball gown (size small) and silver sequined sparkling ballet flats. Both were smeared with pumpkin viscera the way a butchers apron is stained with blood. The smell was sticky and too-sweet in a way that made my nose itch.
“Hi Honey, how was book club tonight?” my husband inquired brightly, clearly burying the lead, with his hands sticky and yellow as he busily eviscerated what could only be described as Jack’s much bigger brother. My expression clarified that we would not be discussing that topic first.
“Oh this? Well, apparently little Brittany from next door explained to our princess that proper Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins simply must come from Henderson’s Punkin Patch, and never the grocery. Oh, and they must also be bigger than a six-year-old can carry. We got back from the Punkin Patch about a half-hour ago.”