I had been pestering Dad since the
first of October to get me a pumpkin. Sure, he was busy
with work stuff, but all I wanted was one pumpkin to carve and put out on our porch.
Was that too much to ask? But, as normal, he forgot and by the time Mom had
rushed down to Walmart, they had sold out.
She returned with ice cream and a
bottle of wine instead. I just sat on the porch, sulking. Grandma, who was sat
on the porch swing, tapped me with her walking stick. “Your dad works real hard,
Jimmy. Don’t you be so hard on him.”
Then Dad came out on the porch for a
smoke. “What’s wrong with your face, Jimmy?” he asked. “So I was too busy
earning a living to keep a roof over our heads, and now all you can do is mope
around. So you don’t have a pumpkin to carve, why don’t you try improvising,
rather than being such a miserable prick.”
When Dad went back in, it hit me. He
was right. I would improvise.
So, on Halloween night, I had my
carved lantern sat on the porch, the lit candles looking oh-so-cool, shining
like coals in hell from the eyes. Once I had removed the top, it was easy to
scoop the insides out. I was so proud I had used my initiative.
Mom came out on the porch. I waited
for her to admire my work and compliment me on my improvised lantern.
“Jimmy, have you seen your Grandma,
I smiled and guided her gaze to my masterpiece on the
screamed like the proverbial banshee and just kept going.
This was the best Halloween ever. Dad came running and
Mom’s shaking hand as she pointed at my lantern. He then lost his shit.
I’ve no idea why; Grandma’s eyes had never
looked so alive.
Park lives in Gateshead, in the North East of England. After several years
playing guitar in a local band, he turned to writing, and with encouragement
from his daughters Emily and Charlotte, and his partner Tracey, he started to
release them into the world. Though “The Magician” was his first piece to be
accepted for publication, his story “My Heart Will Always Be Yours” appeared
in Issue # 66 (Feb. 15, 2018) of Yellow Mama.