It started again. There I was, wasting half my life away in the Starbucks line, when a most luscious fragrance, which I had thought lost to past delights, wafted past my delicate little nostrils. “Hark!” cried they, “for the season of our gourdly gods is upon us once more!” Reality seemed crisper, shining at me like the first bite of a juicy Empire waiting to be bought and forgotten about in my fridge, until mold took over and forbade me from the joys of lackluster food preservation. In the distance, the roar of crinkling leaves filled my ears, swirling faster and faster as pre-caffeine-induced-anxiety anxiety started to build. “Oh, no!” I thought, the palpitations taking hold of me. “If only the shrill of Facilities’ chainsaws could cut through my reverie now!”
Pumpkin. Pump of kin. Kin of pump. McPimp? My lover, my enemy. Dear gourd, why must thou be so versatile and strange in your torture of me? Might your evil know no rest? I ask questions which I cannot answer. Only you, in your endless cycles of rebirth, mutilation, and decomposition on my mothers’ veranda, could possibly grasp the very secrets of the universe. You frighten me, Mr. Pumpkin. Your violent delights can only meet violent ends.
I see you lurking around corners, whispering unseen at the passerby, entrenching yourself in the fabric of my reality. I spoke only yesterday of achieving the perfect sexy-yet-recognizable group Halloween costume, and now Hillside is already fully stocked with confections flavored with your bodily fluids? So unassuming, your hard exterior and your alien insides, a sea of seed suspended in goop. A shell of your former self, allowing people inside to the real you, but with no you to be found. It’s almost like you yearn to have a cheery grin cut out of your side; as if you’d ever be satiated enough to be content. You won’t know rest, Mr. Pumpkin, until you gaze upon a world razed to the ground. A lone flame dancing where your heart used to be.
What will your dominion look like, staring out onto an apocalyptic wasteland of your design? For those of us lucky enough to be chosen to stand as decorations, beaming out a bloody smile with the teeth we have been permitted to conserve, slowly melting into the ground as our insides cave?
Your folly infiltrates my compatriots as we speak. My pleas for mercy fell on absent ears (but in truth, that’s on me for anthropomorphizing vegetables). You could commit any number of homicides, and Mangelsgourd herself would be proclaiming your pardon from the balcony of Rush Rhees the very next day. Your sins number as infinite as the tiny, unborn children I scoop out to make my roasted seed snacks.
The future looms, black and orange and bruised all over. I can see the gaggles of MechE’s brightest (derogatory) joining forces to carve us a new bridge from Riverview to Hajim out of the cold, unfeeling flesh of our oppressors. Four Loko, the beverage for those with nothing to lose, will make millions off their new PSL-flavored take on “drunk in a can.” What a glorious, desolate realm it will become.
How miserable I shall be.
“What can I get started for you today?” asks a fellow student in a green apron. Breathe in, breathe out. I am in an understaffed Starbucks. I am safe. There are new items on the menu. They cannot hurt me. Not yet, at least. Not in a way that matters.
“Uh hi, could I have a small pumpkin?”
“Do you mean a tall, you worthless fuck? Hot or iced?”
“Could I get a name for that?”