Prologue: Tale of Larue
I began writing this a two years ago. It’s a rough draft but I wanted to share it on Halloween. What would happen if a boy became a pumpkin? Please offer feedback I appreciate constructive criticism. Thanks
I was ten when it happened. A horrific tale that left me scared to my very bones. It involves an inanimate object. You would never suspect that I hate October. I have kids now and they go trick or treating, but I never go. Halloween is a long cuss word to me. The only thing I can tell you is beware of Larue.
“Boy get up!” My mom yelled with a combination of anger and frustration. “You have been on my butt for weeks to take you to Larue and now you’re playing X-Box.”
My mom stood her 5’5 frame in the doorway and glared at me. She adjusted her denim skirt and tapped her foot in disgust. Her crimson lips were pursed together in a thin line as her caramel skin began to darken in anger as I began my last mission over on my game console. As soon as I did that she rushed across the floor as fast as her full figured frame could carry her and pulled the plug on my adventures.
“Now you betta get up or I am going to donate you Xbox to the Goodwill”
She meant that too. I remember that she once took a bat to my handheld game and beat it into a 1000 pieces. I didn’t see the point to kill one of my best friends. All I did was lie to her about my grade in spelling, but I was not going to mess with this pit bull in a skirt. She had a mean bite, so I needed to do what I was told.
“Ok, Mom” I said. “But can I wear this?”
“You ain’t going nowhere with me wearing that. You’re ten years old, but you dress like a 45 year old bum.”
So what I thought, if I’m wearing a pair of holey cutoff jeans, a raggedy stretched out blue tank top, and my classic flip flops. I didn’t like combs either, so my hair looked like a bird’s nest. My eyes were quite big and my dad was fond of saying I resembled a google eyed catfish. He had a hairy caterpillar on his lip, but I wasn’t going to mentioned that to him in fear of my life.
“Oh, mom, come on, this is my sitting around on Saturday fit.”
“It’s gonna be your sitting in Touro Infirmary fit if you keep playing with me.”
When she said that I got up so quickly I almost hurt myself. I was already thin like a blade of grass and possessed the agility of a drunken man so it was risky for me getting up that fast. I once tripped over my own feet and busted my nose.
Well finally we were in the car and heading for Larue. We sped along interstate 10 about 75 miles per hour. My dad was driving like his butt was on fire. He had the window of his precious GTO wide open and his lip caterpillar danced like it was shocked by some unknown source.
“Why must we go all the way to Lutcher every year to take our little catfish to Larue every dang year? I hate that place. I could be working right now putting some iron (money) in my pockets, but instead we are taking King Nappy to this ridiculous spot. Crap, in my opinion, he’s too old.”
My dad really loved making fun of me and my style. He was as black as the inside of a well at night and his lips could hold the entire Mississippi River. His fro, unlike mine, stayed on point. He was an okay pappy but I didn’t like his cute comments. Larue was my spot and I was not missing my yearly excursion. It was just spooky enough to send a mild chill down your spine. Haunted houses were another story.
My mom took me to a haunted house when I was 7 years old. It was in City Park and it seemed like it was the size of a football field. An ugly swamp midget that smelled like boogers and coffee grounds was standing at the door. He held a pick axe covered in guts and blood. When he hissed and jumped at me, I threw up a mixture of hotdogs and fries all over his costume. He howled in disbelief and mumbled some unkind words under his breath. He looked like the Tasmanian devil as he spun around and fell on his back. Larue was my safe Halloween spot and I didn’t care what my ole pappy thought.
Larue was packed with kids of all ages. Kids ran around like fruit loops searching for their favorite pumpkins. Moms yelled at their kids to stop, but larue’s effect on kids was almost like nuttiness to the tenth degree. Every kid wanted the best pumpkin. I saw two kids almost get into a fight over a humongous pumpkin. They were squared off like two gun fighters from an old western movie. I imagined old western music playing in the background as they eyed the pumpkin and each other. They were just about to charge for it when their moms grabbed them by the shirt collar and pulled them away.
There was always a smoky haze that hung over the field of pumpkins at Larue. A cypress swamp was at the end of the pumpkin field and there were always strange sounds coming from it. Spooky sounds that reminded me of deadly animals fighting.
“Okay, boy.” my dad said with a look of disgust.
“Go on in and find your precious “punkin”, He said in a baby voice.
That was very annoying, but once again I decided silence was not only golden but safe. He and my mom were from Mississippi and both of them said “punkin” instead of pumpkin. It was funny every year when we walked up to the booth to get our tickets and my mother said “two tickets for the “punkin” patch.” The white woman in the booth just looked at her with a look that screamed “lady do you mean Pumpkin” but she never did that.
My dad never went in with us. He would sit in his car and listen to old R&B while my mom and I searched for a pumpkin. I wished he would come sometimes, but I guess “punkin” patches weren’t his thing.
My mom and I walked to the entrance of Larue and gave our tickets to a man the size of a medieval ogre. He wore stripped pajamas and when he said thank you every one of his teeth were missing. His gums looked swollen and the scent of his breath reminded me of bad gumbo.
“Estacious, I don’t want to be out here until dark.” She looked at me with eyes that were as sharp as daggers, so I knew to hurry up.
“Okay mom. I will look around and find the best one.”
I searched but it seemed all the great pumpkins were gone. None seemed just right. There were either too big or too small. Even the shade of orange seemed off to me. I always picked the best and biggest pumpkins. Every year kids would come to my house to see my amazing jack o lantern.
“Hey, Mom!” I said excitedly.
“What, boy?” She said in aggravation. “You are taking too long and my patience is drying up.”
“I think I found the pumpkin of my dreams, mom.”
“There it is over there. It’s the perfect shade of orange, the right shape and size. It’s the perfect pumpkin.”
I ran quickly over to it. I saw one of the pumpkin fighters looking at it with love in his eyes, so I jumped on the pumpkin and hissed at him like an angry rat. He stared at me for a split second but it was obvious he didn’t want any part of my squash insanity, since he moved away with his hands up in surrender.
I stood up and gazed at my conquest. This pretty squash was mine to take home and carve like a mad scientist into something ghoulish and great.
“Ouch!!!!”, I screamed.
My mom ran over and looked at me with those same sharp eyes. If her eyes could really puncture flesh I would be dead right now.
I rubbed my big toe with my hand while huge tears welled up in my catfish eyes.
“Something bit me, mom.”
She laughed and said “do you think the punkin did it.”
I looked at her and quite seriously said “Yea I think it did.”
“Boy, punkins don’t bite.”
“Momma, that orange sucker bit me on my toe”
“That is what you get for wearing those beat up flip flops”
“Okay, stop playing before I drag you back to the car with no punkin. Grab your precious vegetable so we can go.”
I eyed my pumpkin with suspicion but it could not have bit me. No way could that be possible.
All the way home I eyed my new pumpkin with suspicion. My toe throbbed like it was hit by a bat. I told my mom about it but she told me to put some lotion on it when I arrived home. She said it was probably only hurting because it was way too ashy. I just looked at her and said nothing. My mom was always making note of my lack of skin moisture. I just didn’t like lotion and you wasn’t about to make me use any.
At home I took my customary weekly bath and nursed my big toe that seemed to get bigger by the second.
“Mom”, I said “Look at my toe. It’s the size of a golf ball.”
She looked at me with a bit of frustration in her eyes and said, “Boy go and get me the Watkins lotion for that stupid toe. You are whining like it’s about to fall off.”
“It feels like it”, I said smartly
“Oh you getting smart, fellow. Keep playing and I will let the fat crusty sucker fall off.”
“You real funny, mom.”, I said with a snicker.
“Whatever, give me that toe so momma can doctor on it for you.”
“Do you still think a punkin bit you?” she asked with laughter.
“I don’t think so but it was strange how it happened.”
My mom just looked at me again and laughed.
“Maybe it was the state bird.”
“What? The Pelican.” I said in disbelief
“No, the mosquito.” She said.
“Ha, ha, ha.”
She laughed about her bad joke for about three minutes before she sent me to bed. I fell asleep still wondering what bit me in Larue Pumpkin Patch.
“Hey fellow” something said in the pitch blackness of my room
The voice was laced with hissing laughter. If a snake could laugh that would be it.
“Who is that?” I asked.
“I am you”, the thing said in a voice hollow of emotion.
“What do you mean you are me?”
All of a sudden the voice in the dark rushed towards increasing in volume. Yelling “I am you, little boy”
A horrific pumpkin engulfed in fire with eyes as deep and dark as a black hole grabbed my shoulders. It spewed blue-black pumpkin guts as it screamed in ever increasing volume, “I am you, I am you, I am you.” The gravity of the orbs in its face seemed to suck every bit of life from me.
Suddenly I was blinded by blazing sunlight. I thought my eyes were on fire. I looked around but all I could see were people’s feet. I could look up a little but all I saw were knees and nothing else. Okay, I must still be dreaming but as I gazed around I could see bunches of pumpkins still on the vine. Plus they were at eye level. What’s going on?
“Hey mom, look at this one.” Said a pair of feet.
“Oh yea, son that’s a nice big orange monster of a pumpkin.”
“Yea mom, I am going to take this one.”
I saw a fat faced kid with black hair and cheeks red like pomegranates reach down and just pick me up like a small child.
“Hey man put me down.” I was yelling as he put me under a fat arm.
But he couldn’t hear me. It was all in my mind. As he walked with me, I caught a glimpse of myself in a puddle. Uh, uh that can’t be me. Wait it can’t be. Am I a pumpkin? They placed me on the counter, paid for me, and took me home.
“Todd, what are you going to carve into your pumpkin this year?”
Did she just say “carve”? You ain’t carving nothing into me fellow.
“I need a knife.” Todd’s dad said.
“Okay, here it is, dad.”
I was sitting on the counter near the sink thinking okay this cannot be possible, as I watched them meticulously prepare to slaughter me like an animal. They were about to spill my pumpkin guts all over the counter and scoop them into the sink and there was nothing I could do to stop them. I was terrified.
“Okay lets carve this squash.” Said the dad.
He moved towards me with his glistening knife ready to slice some horrific design into my tender pumpkin flesh. He raised his blade over me and I screamed.
Suddenly I was back in my room clenching my sheets like I had a seizure. My cheeks were wet with tears and my forehead damp with sweat. My leaves were wilted. What leaves? What are leaves doing on the top of my head?
Okay I must be having a fit or something. I don’t have leaves on the top of my head. When I moved to get up I fell on the floor and rolled to the other side of the room. I tried to get up but I couldn’t. I finally managed to jump on my feet and waddle across the room to the mirror.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHH………… AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” I screamed at the top of my lungs because what was in the mirror couldn’t be human. No way that’s me I thought.
My mom ran in the room, stopped in horrific disbelief and screamed, “What on God’s green Earth is that!!!”
I was the size of a three year old toddler. The flesh was an ugly reddish tone and an annoying patch of dirt was on my rear. The stalk was at least a foot long and my leaves were ebony and curly. I had legs, if that is what you want to call them. Crooked like oak trees my legs were cocked at unbelievable angles. I don’t even understand how I could walk. My eyes were shaped liked triangles and my mouth was just a gaping jagged hole filled with teeth that resembled pumpkin seeds.
She was reaching for the bat behind my door when I yelled “Wait mom it’s me”
But, it was too late. She was on me like a lion on a gazelle. She swung the bat like she was a major league slugger and this pumpkin creature was the ball. I bet she was thinking homerun all the way.
“Get the heck out of my house you ugly orange thing.” She screamed at me.
“MOM, it’s me your son.”, I screamed at the top of my voice cord as she ran towards me for another try at beating me to death.
I waddled towards the door as fast as I could muster as she brought the bat down within inches of my orange flesh. She chased me down the hall as I ran as fast as my obscene new legs could carry me. I leaped out of the window, shattering it like a bullet. She screamed after me, “Where is my son you little orange………… Her voice faded into obscurity as I wind milled my feet down the street.
I tried to stay behind bushes as I made my way to my best friend’s house. Suddenly a barking beagle popped out his doggy door. He chased me over the fence where I met an old lady with her grandson. She swung her cane at me whacking me on my pumpkin rump as I sped by at whatever was an orange squash’s top speed.
There it is Triple T’s house, I thought. How was I going to sneak in and make him understand who I am or was at this point? He had to help me figure this thing out. He is my oldest buddy and he is probably my best hope at figuring this out.
I crept slowly up to his window. I hope he has it open his customary two inches, I thought. He suffered from asthma and he claimed the fresh air helped his breathing.
“Triple T” , I yelled as loud as my new form would allow.
I called his name at least three times before sleep laced voice spoke out.
“Man, who is that at my window.”
“It’s me, bro, Chucky”
He came to the window and searched for me.
“Where is your skinny butt at, bro?”, Triple T said with confusion.
“I am down here”
My voice sounded like it was mixed with dirt and gravel as I spoke. I sounded hideous.
“You don’t sound like yourself. Do you have a mouth full of dirt?
He said that with a chuckle at the end. He always though he was so funny.
“Look below the window sill and you will see me.”
“Man is this some type of joke? All I see is an ugly jack o lantern wearing pajama pants. Why are you messing with me man? I need to get ready for school, so please show yourself, fool.”
He thinks this a joke, I thought. Okay, lets see how he likes this. I jumped up and hung on his window sill like a man hanging from a ledge.
“What the heck is that!”, he yelled, as he pushed away from the window like it was a hot stove. I climbed thru the window and walked crookedly towards him. My hollow black eyes were fixed on him as I said “Triple T, it’s me, Charlie”
“No you ain’t” he said. His voice was coated in fear. “Keep away from me.”
Triple T all of a sudden dove under his bed, when he reemerged he was holding a big cast iron skillet. Now it was curious as to see a 12 year old holding a kitchen tool in his bedroom. I mean was he frying chicken in his room. Maybe he had a hotplate tucked under there too.
“You betta step, you pumpkin demon or I’m going to roast your seeds.” He yelled as he stepped closer to me.
“Triple it’s me your best friend.”
“I am not going to say it again monster. You need to get out of me room, before I break one of those strange legs you are standing on.”
Luckily his parents went to work early because all the ruckus Triple was making could wake the dead.
He moved even closer as he raised his skillet.
“Okay, how can I convince you that I’m Chucky?” I asked him in a voice laced with fear of being splattered all over the room.
“You cannot be my friend. First off he is a human. Not an ugly pumpkin whatever. I mean he ain’t the cutest thing in the city but he ain’t that ugly.” , he said motioning his finger at me.
I will handle the ugly comment later. Right now I had to save myself from being Goliathed by King Triple T.