Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 170: Pumpkin

Short Story: "Pumpkin" | Flash Fiction

            Anna pushed the stroller along the pumpkin patch as her eight-month-old son napped. As she paced around hoping to keep him asleep, she watched her husband and her five-year-old daughter wander around the many pumpkins for sale.

Anna’s daughter, Victoria, had never picked out her own pumpkin before. She was too young at the age of one, didn’t understand what was going on at the age of two, and she had a terrible cold when she was three and four. It was the weirdest thing and Anna expected the worst this year, but she was happy that Victoria was finally able to pick out her own pumpkin. And Victoria sure was excited!

She waddled around the many pumpkins looking thoroughly at each one. Parker, Anna’s husband, followed closely behind waiting for their daughter to finally pick one out.

“What about this one?” he picked up a small one. It was a good size for Victoria to carry all on her own.

Victoria tilted her head to the side staring at the pumpkin. She was thinking deeply about whether she wanted it or not. Finally, she shook her head. “Nah,”

“Why not? This one is cute.” Parker said.

Victoria ignored him and kept on walking. Anna chuckled from the sidelines.

“Okay, well then how about this one over here?” Parker picked up another one. It was the same size, but it was more round like a circle rather than an oval like the other one he picked up.

Victoria turned around and looked at it. She tilted her head to the side again in wonderment. Anna stifled a laugh. Did her daughter always tilt her head like that when she was deep in thought? Who did she get that one from?

“Nah,” Victoria said coldly. She abruptly turned around and kept walking.

Parker sighed and put down the pumpkin. He looked at Anna and shrugged his shoulders.

“Don’t rush her. This is a very crucial decision.” Anna said with a smile.

Parker nodded, but he continued to look for more pumpkins. He spotted a white one and pointed to it. “Hey, Victoria, look at that white one!”

Victoria stopped and stared at it in confusion. “That’s not a pumpkin.”

“What are you talking about?” Parker asked. “Of course it is.”

Victoria shook her head. “Pumpkins are orange.”

“Not all pumpkins.”

“Pumpkins are orange.” She said again and walked away.

Anna burst out laughing. Parker turned his attention and narrowed his eyes at his wife. “She sure told you!” Anna said.

“She takes after her mother.” Parker smirked.

“Good,” Anna replied bluntly.

Victoria continued to weave in and out all of the pumpkins. Parker followed along not bothering to point out any more pumpkins. He obviously had no idea what his daughter wanted. Well, he knew she wanted an orange pumpkin at least.

Victoria gasped with a grin spread across her face and she broke out into a run. She tripped a couple of times over some of the pumpkins, but she never fell down. Parker watched her get farther away, but wasn’t worried as the patch wasn’t that big. He couldn’t lose sight of her.

“Victoria,” he called out to her, “where are you going? The smaller pumpkins are over here.”

Victoria stopped and pointed to one right next to her. “I want this one!”

Parker’s jaw dropped. The pumpkin was the same size as his three-foot daughter. Why on earth did she want a pumpkin the same size as her? He thought she was going to want to carry it around with her. She couldn’t carry that! Would Parker be able to carry it? He had no idea.

“This is perfect!” Victoria cheered jumping up and down.

As Parker got closer to her he realized that she wasn’t wrong. The pumpkin was, to say the least, pretty perfect. It was the ideal circle, and very smooth to the touch. It was a bright orange color, too, so of course Victoria wasn’t going to shun it.

“How are we going to get that one home?” Parker asked.

“You carry it.” Victoria shrugged.

Parker sighed. Well, he didn’t go to the gym every morning for nothing.

Parker squatted and wrapped his arms around the pumpkin. He grunted as he lifted it off of the ground. “Watch out, Victoria. If I drop this, I don’t want to squish you.”

Victoria cheered and ran back to her mother. Anna stared at Parker with wide eyes.

“You’re letting her get that pumpkin?” she asked.

“This is the one that she wanted.” Parker groaned. He tried to shift his weight to get a better grip on the pumpkin, but it was like trying to hug a sumo wrestler.

“Where are we going to put it?” Anna asked.

“On the front porch,” Parker stated.

“But how are we supposed to carve it?”

“On the front porch,”

“We’re going to just sit out on the front lawn with knives and carving tools and just let the neighbors watch us carve a humongous pumpkin?”

“Anna,” Parker grunted, “if I drop this pumpkin, that won’t be the only thing that will smash.”

Anna looked down at Victoria who was grinning from ear to ear. No, they couldn’t allow this pumpkin to break or else they’ll break their daughter’s heart.

“You’re right, we should go.” Anna sighed.

“I think my back is going to break… And I can barely see anything around this thing, so could you lead me?” Parker asked.

“Parker,” Anna sighed, “how are we even going to get it into the car?” she looked down at Victoria. “Honey, let’s try to find a pumpkin daddy can carry.”

Victoria’s bottom lip quivered as Parker spoke up.

“No, I already got it this far. Let’s just keep moving, please.”

Victoria smiled again and Anna pursed her lips together worriedly. This was not how she expected their pumpkin picking adventure to go.

“Alright, but…” Anna started.

Parker groaned. “Now what?”

“Well… You know they charge by the pound, right?”

Parker closed his eyes and sighed loudly. He wanted to complain, but he also wanted to let Victoria get whichever pumpkin she wanted to get. It was the first one she picked out all by herself.

“It’s just one pumpkin, Anna. We can deal with it.” Parker said.

“If you say so,” Anna shrugged. She took Victoria’s hand and together she and her daughter pushed the stroller over towards the cash register.

After Anna had paid for the pumpkin, Parker stretched out his arms and then squatted again to pick up the pumpkin. Before he stood up, he looked up at Anna.

“Why don’t you go on ahead and bring the kids to the car?”

“But shouldn’t we stay with you in case you fall over?” Anna asked.

Parker sighed. “Anna, just bring the kids to the car, please.”

Anna shrugged and turned away without another word.

Parker lugged the pumpkin all the way out to the parking lot. Anna was in the driver’s seat with the engine running in front of the general store just outside the pumpkin patch. He smiled, grateful that Anna had brought the car around for him. The trunk automatically opened and Parker dropped the pumpkin in as gently as he could. He let out a big sigh and held onto his back as he closed the trunk door.

He walked around the car and sat down in the passenger seat.

“Are you okay?” Anna asked.

Parker nodded still trying to catch his breath.

“Thank you, Daddy,” Victoria said sweetly from her car seat in the back.

Parker smiled. The back pain was suddenly worth it.

Words: 1,269

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

9 thoughts on “Short Story Sunday 170: Pumpkin

  1. This story brought back a lot of memories for me! We did the same with our two kids – just double the pumpkins! Plus we always got an extra. Hubs’ back was indeed sore after we loaded up…

  2. You got the disposition (I think) of how the child would behave perfectly and it added a quality of depth to the writing that made this a really great story. Keep it up.

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