October Prompt: It started with the pumpkins
treaters, or the small children being escorted through the cold by fathers with something stronger than coffee in their thermos.
We emerged from the tree-lined walkway that separated Maple and Hemlock. Danny pointed at the large house across the street.
An overstuffed scarecrow and skeleton sat in the Adirondack chairs on the veranda, a cluster of plastic headstones scattered the front lawn. On the top step sat the biggest pumpkin I’d ever seen. It took up almost the entire step, its shadow from the soffit lights stretching all the way to the sidewalk.
“Who wants to smash that sucker?”
“The police chief’s house?” Davey muttered.
“Davey’s right,” Marty answered. “He’ll do worse than tell our parents.”
Danny eyed me next, and I lowered my gaze.
He looked both ways, then scampered across the street. He crept onto the porch and grabbed the pumpkin. I checked the light in the upstairs windows for movement as he scooped the pumpkin and lumbered towards the driveway. He arched his back and lifted it over his head, holding it there for a moment like Atlas holding up the world.
He smashed the pumpkin against the concrete. It split open, sagging like a deflated balloon. He repeated the process until it was in a dozen pieces, which he stomped underfoot until the driveway looked like pumpkin pie filling.
A downstairs light flicked on, and Danny sprinted across the street towards us. When he past, we followed him back into the shadows.
I walked home with him. The television flickered through the front window as we approached his father’s mobile home on the outskirts of town, far from trick-or-treaters, decorations and candy.
Danny climbed the steps of the small porch, bare except for a rusty metal chair surrounded by fallen leaves, empty beer cans and a coffee tin filled with cigarette butts.
“I wish we could have seen the look on the chief’s face,” Danny chuckled. “I’m tired of people shoving their stupid decorations in our faces.”
“Until next year.”
I bid him goodnight and went home. As I climbed the steps to my front door, I stopped to admire the candlelight dancing inside the face of my little sister’s jack-o’-lantern, and the beautiful Frankenstein carved by my mother. I decided I would carve my own next year and leave it on Danny’s front porch on my way to school.