By Olivia Gordon, age 10, Oregon
Edward the pumpkin was flowered June 14, 1987. From the moment he started to take shape, his mother plant knew he had little chance. His sides were bumpy and uneven, his skin brown and callused. Though it was her duty as a mother not to spoil his hopes and dreams, by the time Halloween approached, Edward was fully grown, and his mother worried, quietly.
One day Edward was bragging to a fellow pumpkin about how sure he was he would be picked. The wind was lashing out angrily and howling obnoxiously. This made it very hard to hear him. Nevertheless, Edward was not deterred, and he continued to try to speak over the wind. “Every child will be practically crying over me!” he exclaimed. “I’m sure their parents will have to take me away to keep me from being smashed by their tiny, scratchy hands.” Then Edward noticed the other pumpkin was no longer listening. He was looking towards the gravel road, where plumes of dust were rising up. At first Edward was severely annoyed the pumpkin had not been listening, but soon his annoyance grew into excitement. “The children are here!” he said nervously. He made an attempt to look at his sides, but lack of a neck stopped him. After giving up on admiring himself, he looked at the oncoming children, who had arrived in a large, yellow rectangular object with round, black propellers attached to the bottom.
As the children unloaded, it appeared they were being paired with an adult and forming groups. Once each child had a group, he or she was led into the patch. It seemed Edward waited an eternity before a group approached. When he saw them, he sat up his straightest and watched. One little boy stared at him with blank eyes, and then finally he began to kick Edward. Outraged, Edward yelled, “Stop it, you buffoon!” This continued for about five minutes until an adult intervened and scolded the boy. He then seemed to think for a second and stopped. To Edward’s relief, the children were then led away.
In the following weeks, many more children came. No matter, Edward still had few more encounters with them, including an instance when a largish female had nearly tripped over him and almost smashed him! Then one day, a small girl came toddling through the vines and leaves and started pointing at him. It seemed as if she was looking up at something, but just what, Edward was unsure. Suddenly, he was picked up by rough, callused hands. After getting over the small shock, Edward’s imaginary heart filled with joy. He had finally been picked! He was so overjoyed, he barely noticed when the unknown thing stopped and set him down. He only awoke from his dreamlike haze when he felt himself sinking slightly into the cold, creeping mud. He frantically began to look around and moaned with despair when he saw what looked like a large, hairy man and a small girl walking away with a perfectly round, perfectly orange pumpkin in his arms. The pumpkin wore a smug expression that Edward hated him for.
In the next few days, Edward became slowly but surely a bitter, unforgiving pumpkin. He refused to have any hope. Patience for others was out of the picture. He wouldn’t even look up. About a week had passed (not that Edward cared) when suddenly a large, silver truck arrived with a group of men. They wore large coats and smudged jeans and had sad, hopeless faces. They began at the front of the field, slashing pumpkins’ stems with pocketknives before tossing them into the bed of the truck. They slowly progressed towards the middle of the mucky field. It was so late in the season that thorny weeds had begun to sprout. A man started toward Edward, and Edward began to cringe at the thought of the knife, cutting and slashing. Luckily, he only felt the tug of his stem.
The man held him by his stump and swung him back and forth. The man walked steadily to the truck. When they reached it, he was thrown headlong into the bed! Several pumpkins were there already, and when Edward came slamming down with a sickening CRACK, they were anything but happy. They all scowled and stared. Everything past that was blurry and faint, for because of the large crack in his head, he was losing pulp rapidly.
He awoke to the sound of rubber against gravel and a series of thumps. The same man who had taken him from the field then carried him through a large metal door and into a place of steel, sweat, and oil. It was metallic and emotionless, breathing out fumes toxic like poison. He was then put onto a rubber conveyor belt that was carrying him toward a smashing object. Soon, he was only feet, inches, centimeters from it, its gaping mouth hungry, angry, and greedy. Then its large fist like teeth came down upon him, dealing him blow after blow. No matter how much he moaned or groaned, it would not stop. He lost all his senses and thought nothing was everything, and Edward was gone.
Edward’s remains were later used to make pumpkin pie filling. Sadly, whoever bought his poorly used remains would never know how empty, how lonely, that pumpkin had felt as they sat back with their bellies full.