Something About Pumpkins

ENGL 3050 Assignment
Write a (exactly) 500 word opening, starting with this sentence:
“I don’t know where we used to get our pumpkins when I was a kid.”

Something About Pumpkins
JD Fox

“I don’t know where we used to get our pumpkins when I was a kid.”

A pause hung in the air as if it weren’t sure of its purpose. But before it could be hijacked by his companion, Kyle Lampier sent it on its way by filling it in with an added chuckle. He then grabbed hold of the rigid stem and began to scalp their recent purchase. The outer shell was no match for the sharpened Cephalon blade and he got halfway though the flesh when James took hold of his arm.

“Don’t know or don’t remember?”

Not looking up, Kyle used the pretense of continuing the beheading of the pumpkin to shake both hand and question off. Sitting at James’ kitchen table, Kyle sawed with a purpose: one that said, let’s not go there. I’m a man with a mission.

James Greeley watched him work, Kyle’s fingers turning white from gripping the blade so tight. His own fingers curled and uncurled as if they were loitering; hanging out on a limb and waiting for him to act. To do something, like maybe take hold of Kyle’s arm again. But coming up on their one year anniversary together – less than two months, on Christmas Eve, as hokey as that sounds – James knew better.

It wasn’t fear of response, but the opposite. When pressed about certain things from his past, Kyle would go armadillo with his emotions, curling up good and bad ones alike into an impenetrable ball. His defenses had been down enough at last year’s Christmas Eve party, no doubt due to wine, to toss James his phone number in an uncharacteristically flamboyant gesture made less elegant by subsequent vomiting. But sober as a saint most of the time and stomach contents generally contained, their relationship moved in slow increments.

Which actually suited James just fine. His eight-year-old son, Dennis, had seen enough of what wrong relationships look like, both when James was with the former Mrs. Greeley and also when he was with a post-divorce rebound that shouldn’t have happened. During the three years since then, James had only dated two other guys. Kyle is the only one that Dennis had ever met. And that was after six months.

James watched Kyle a moment longer, his lips struggling to keep from repeating his question. But he decided that now was not the time to press for revelations and risk spoiling the mood. Not with it being his weekend with Dennis and Trick or Treating just a few hours away. Sometimes it’s better to let things drop.

So it surprised James when Kyle spoke.

First, though, Kyle cut all the way through the pumpkin, pulling the top off and holding it up like a botanical souvenir. He studied it a moment, then set it down, along with the knife.

“What’s the difference? It amounts to the same thing, doesn’t it?”

As he began degutting the pumpkin, James moved behind him, placing encouraging hands on his shoulders.

“Not necessarily…”