Head on Straight

“Are we close to being done?” The voice of my brother filled the chilly October air as he lifted his left foot and shook it. “Honestly, I don’t like my feet feeling mud between their toes.” I glanced down and saw his feet were indeed encased with muddy soil.

“Look, a bit longer until we find a perfect fit for Jack,” I said as we went closer to the end of the row of pumpkins. As had been the case of the last several rows, we weren’t able to find a pumpkin with the right size and shape. We get that carving it was a tricky business in itself, but half the battle is to find a perfect specimen. We took pumpkin carving to a whole new level. This is something we took pride in, and we wanted it to be the best it could be.

Rain, snow, sleet, and mud we would trek to find just the right squash for our plans. Complaining, whining, and plain whimpering often came from either one of us, but we knew the importance of the mission. So we trudged on until we saw it. There we stood, hands on each other’s shoulder, smiling. A pumpkin that was just the right size and shape. Not to tall, or square, or too bumpy. Together we lifted the treasure back to the car and secured it in the backseat, buckling it in.

Driving cautiously home, we were able to avoid any damage to our reward. Setting it on the counter, knives, towels, and other required instruments were gathered.

“Dude. we got it! It’s perfect! Wait till mom and dad see it.”

“Isn’t a better one out there,” I framed it with my hands, “even tops last year’s.” And that one had been great.

We took to our task and slit a nice opening along the crown of the pumpkin, used a sliver scoop to remove the excess innards, save some at the very bottom and took to cleaning the inside walls. When that met our standards, next came the sketching of the facial features. Carefully using fine tipped markers, the eyes and mouth were done as best we could.

“Crap.” My brother had made a squiggle. “How…?”

I ticked him on the shoulder, “It’s fine but be careful ya?” I used a wet cloth to remove the mistake and fixed the line.

To work we went, through and again to complete our task, like carpenters finishing off a masterpiece.

Then it was complete. With a wicked grin, the pumpkin was ready.

We picked it up and moved it through the house to the frontyard to where our headless scarecrow waited. Using to step ladders, we mounted the head onto its owner, and got down to step back.

A few seconds later the body shivered. With a curl of its rotted hands, our friend moved and their eyes lit up.

“Like it?”

“Good job my friends,” it took up its sword, “let us commence the night’s fun!”