Fiction from Ashlie Allen

Pumpkin Friday


I make sure to buy a pumpkin every Friday during the Fall. It is a table for my wrists and company for my wine glasses. I am unhappy most of the year, but October brings an eerie feeling I am sentimental about. If I had friends, I’d invite them over to paint my face like demon or like a geisha. I come from Japanese heritage. Maybe I should celebrate something about myself every once in awhile.   

When the pumpkins start to rot, I mourn. I stammer through the house, my arms flailing, my chest pulsing. “But you were mine!” I screech. “I kissed your wrinkles and scrubbed your dirty scabs!” There were times I was so intoxicated I believed the pumpkins talked to me. One night the biggest one said, “You exhaust me with your misery.” I ran up the stairs sobbing.   

There were only two left at the store when I went last Friday. I could only afford one. It was oval shaped and caked in dirt. My water was cut off, so I could not clean it. “You need to shine.” I whined.

I staggered into the kitchen, bringing my elbows down heavy on the counter as I felt the pressure of grief. There was a pitch fork sticking out of the drawer. I stared at myself in the thin slice of metal for a moment before shoving the sharp edges into my shoulder. Blood was gushing from the wound as I hurried to the pumpkin.   

I sat it in my lap and let the gash leak over it. I was crying as I washed the soil from its body, not because I was in pain but because my blood stained its lovely orange color. “I have taken away your natural beauty.” I moaned. “Go ahead, chide me. I want the romance of contrition and the thrill of anger.” We sat together, both of us changing shades as the hours passed. I was laughing when the pumpkin said, “You will be gray soon. I know you don’t care.”

Ashlie Allen writes fiction and poetry. Her favorite writer is Anne Rice. She loves the Fall season. Her work has appeared in the Black Heart Magazine, Juked, the Yellow Chair Review, and others.

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