October Writing Prompt
Bonni Rambatan

When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed. The thought of the look on my young granddaughters face immediately entered my mind. I stayed in a motionless state for what I thought was only 10–15 seconds but in fact the sun set and moon rose before I came out of my trance. Just as my senses came back I realized this was not a total loss, I had taken pictures and video and if I could find a similar pumpkin I could fix this. I immediately went in to overdrive mode, as much as a 75 year old can anyway.

I scoured the local pumpkin patch which was more of a hay bale and cider selling vendors dream. I finally came across what I thought was a perfect match as far as size and shape and walked to the counter to pay for it. Having braced myself for the total I was surprised at the tone of the 16 year old behind the register, when she said “that will be $29.99 with tax and handling”. What handling are you talking about? She laughed “everyone freaks out when I say that it’s just a way to say boo…and to make you not think about the cost of the pumpkin” which worked I guess since I forked over the money without another word.

Arriving home I went to the truck and unloaded the pumpkin and then the task of moving it unseen into the garage to start the recreation. I pulled out the knives and shaping tools and located the stencil I had made for the occasion to trace from. After 45 minutes I realized that I was done, the perfect replica was now on my workbench and I was covered in pumpkin snot from elbow to finger tips. I went to the yard and hosed my arms off and returned to the garage and proceeded to deliver it to the front stoop.

Just then my wife and daughter Jules appeared, they were a buzz over something that had happened to the neighbors three doors down. It appears that a gang of 3 year olds had been running around and smashed several pumpkins on the porches on the block, “so that was what happened to ours, I thought.”

My daughter asked “ what’s with the new pumpkin dad?” I replied “what new pumpkin? I was just rinsing it off to make sure the bugs were not getting to it”.

“Why did you do that dad; I never saw anyone else do that before?” Her question was probing me, for what I did not know.

“Besides that gang of three year olds was made up of Charlie, Sam and Becky your sweet angel granddaughter” she stated. “I can’t see how you could have washed something we just had to throw away?”

Busted and confused without thinking I uttered what was an obvious lie. “What do you mean, honey; the pumpkin is right here?”

“Now dad, you know that isn’t the $4.99 pumpkin that was smashed by our lovely Becky” she grinned knowingly. It was then that I realized the porch was clean and that the spot I had been headed to was empty.

Finally cornered and without anything better to do, I threw the pumpkin to my daughter and said “guess your right and heads up”, knowing the only athletic bone in her body was only good for bowling I knew what would result.

The pumpkin hit the ground and split and that children, is how the band Smashing Pumpkins got its name…of so I was told.