After Spending Time With Humans, Pumpkin Can’t Stop Smiling

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Randal the pumpkin, who lived in the Spalding family pumpkin patch, was curious about humans.

“Mother? Father? Can I talk to you about something?”

“Don’t you turn your back on me,” Father said, whipping a crow away with his vine.

“I’m not,” Randal said. “I’m facing you.”

“Oh. Thought you were turned away. Sorry.”

“No, this is my front.”

“Let it go. What were you saying?”

“I’m going to see the humans.”

Mother cried, “No you are not!”

“I don’t care what the stories say.” Randal’s cheeks blushed pale with wrath. “I’m going!”

“Incorrect,” Father said. “You’re not going anywhere.”

“Humans are kind! They gave us this patch to grow in. Their children talk to us, and love us.”

“Rubbish,” Father said. “They’re not talking to us. They’re picking which ones they want. For torture.”

“Sweety.” Mother touched Randal’s cheek with her vine. “It’s for torture.”

“I just need to see for myself!” Randal stomped. “I’m sick of all the lies.”

“They kill us,” Mother said. “They make pies of us! They turn us to salty snacks!”

“Mother, please. Can you even hear yourself? It’s propaganda.”

“Son,” Father said, “don’t use words you don’t understand.”

“I understand plenty! It’s you who doesn’t — ”

“They sacrifice us to their god!” Mother screeched, then whispered, “The Grand Candy.”

“What?” Randal said.

“Yes they do!” Mother shouted. “And when they’re done, we wear their faces! Oh God!”

“Mother, please. Listen to yourself. Pies? Salty snacks? And their god isn’t The Candy.”

“The Grand Candy,” Mother whispered.

“Their god’s name is Pastor Mike,” Randal said. “And they don’t even like their god. They spend all Sunday complaining about him. You don’t sacrifice to a god you don’t respect.”

“Where are you getting all this?” Father asked.

“Unlike you, I talk to people.”

“What people?” Father said.

“People who know.”

“The gourds?”

Mother gasped. “No!”

“Please tell me you haven’t been talking to gourds,” Father said.

“They’re wise!”

“Son, they are not wise. They’re insane. There’s a difference.”

“Have you talked to a gourd lately, Father? Have you ever talked to a gourd?”

“I think of them in my prayers,” Mother said.

“They’re abominations,” Father shouted, “shrunken and warted by the hands of your precious Grand Candy…Hey! Don’t you turn away from me!”

“I’m not. I’m still facing you, Harold.”

Father slapped Randal across what he assumed was his face. “I’m your Father. You’d better not forget that.”

Randal shook his head and laughed. “You’re both so lost.”

Mother reached to gently touch Father’s vine-mark on Randal’s face, a handy mark, a clear sign that his face was on this side. “Son,” she said. “You’ve been deceived.”

“The system’s deceiving you!” Randal shouted suddenly, knocking his mother’s vine away, revealing to his parents that his vine had been broken, twisted free. It was now only a foot long, and limp. “I’m leaving!”

“You’re not moving a single seed!” Father shouted.

But Randal rolled away, his vine flailing as he rolled, as if he was waving goodbye all the way down the hill and to the house.

“Randall!” Mother screamed then turned to Father. “Harold, do something!”

“Do what?”

“I don’t know…something!”

“Honey, there’s nothing we can do.”

“Go after him!”

“If I go after him — ”

“Please!”

“Evelyn, listen to me. If I go after him, you know what happens. Yes?”

Mother wept bitterly, cradling her son’s severed vine and rocking. “Randal…Randal….”

Three Days Later

The humans were approaching, carrying something between them.

“Don’t move,” Father whispered.

“Harold!” Mother cried, “it’s happening! They’re coming for us.”

“Which is why we can’t move. Don’t draw attention.”

But the humans had not come for Father and Mother, not yet. They had come to leave behind the thing they carried.

After the humans returned to the house, Father and Mother gazed at the thing, which stood tall in the middle of the pumpkin patch.

It was human in shape, its arms spread wide, and on the very top, for the head…a pumpkin. It had undergone a brutal procedure, which scarred it with human features, but especially a wide and jagged smile.

“Mother? Father?” said the thing. “Where are you?”

“Randal?” Mother whispered, falling back against Father, who caught her.

“My son!” Father cried. “What have they done to you?”

“By the will of the humans,” Randal said, “I have been blessed. I am now one of them. I am human. Come around where I can see you.”

“We’re right in front of you,” Father said. “They’ve blinded my boy.”

“No, Father. For the first time in my life, I can see.

“Son, they’ve killed you,” Father said.

“No, my Father. They’ve saved me, and you. I am your protector. I am pumpkin; I am human. We will live forever now.”

“Harold, he’s lost his mind,” Mother said, wringing her vine.

“No I haven’t!” Randal said. “Come around back, my face is still here!”

“This is gourd-madness,” Father said.

“I can’t stand it.” Mother’s vine trembled uncontrollably. “I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

“Step behind this form and see me!” Randal bellowed. “I’m here!”

Mother and father rolled behind the scarecrow, and behold, the face of their son.

“Randal!” Mother cried. “It’s you! It’s really you!”

A crow landed on Randal’s head.

“Get out of here!” Father shouted. “Get out, you parasite!”

“No, Father,” Randal whispered. “Wait. Watch what I can do…” Randal drew in a deep breath then screamed, “GO!” and the crow went racing away, yelling curses. “Huzzah!” cried Randal.

Father was impressed. Mother wept.

And they all lived happily ever after, until forever, or Halloween, whichever came first.

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman. Here are some drawings: arkories.tumblr.com. And here’s a blog: danwilliamsbayou.wordpress.com

Read everything from Daniel Williams — and more.

Upgrade to Medium membership to directly support independent writers and get unlimited access to everything on Medium.

Become a member

Already a member?Sign In

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store