Sunday, 31 October 2010

Jack o’Lantern

Good evening and happy Halloween or Samhain as we call it. I hope that you like my pumpkin head Ju-Ju Jesus Peanut, he took a little carving but I think that he was worth it. Let me know if you enjoy the story that I've written for you this All Hallows Eve. I hope that it doesn't give you nightmares.

Jack o'Lantern

He bought the pumpkin at the supermarket. They had all sizes and shades, but in the end he went for a brash orange, slightly corpulent one, a little bigger than a football. He’d never carved a pumpkin before. This was going to be his first attempt. He’d read up about it on the internet, watched some ‘how to’ videos on Youtube. He’d even collected together a good set of tools as recommended on jack o’; a sharp knife, a small saw, a potato peeler, a pen for drawing out his design, and of course a bucket to collect the seeds and flesh from deep inside the pumpkin. He had to wash the bucket out. It was still messy from the last time he’d used it; but it came clean eventually. That was one of his problems she’d said; he never cleaned up after himself.

He hadn’t decided what sort of face he was going to carve into the vivid flesh of the pumpkin. It had to be something suitable, something that would fit the stand he’d made. It must be something just right. He liked things to be just right despite what she’d said. It wasn’t true anyway - he did have a clue, he could make things happen. He’d show her just what he could do when he put his mind to it. Maybe he’d carve the face of a witch, all wizened and gnarled, a broken toothed hag. Or a Jodie pig with a flat snout and piecing eyes - he knew just where he could find a golden ring to put through its nose. Perhaps he’d try something more adventurous, something a little more realistic. Experience of the knife had proved it sharp, good for detail work; it’d slice through the pumpkin like butter.

He whistled as he covered the table with newspaper and placed the pumpkin in the centre, arranging his tools neatly in front of it. He had reached a decision about his subject. It made him smile. How fitting it would be if art were to imitate life - and what better subject to grace the stand that waited silently in the chair by the back door than a copy of what it once had carried.

Going to the fridge he pulled open the door with a ‘clumf’. The cold white light of the tiny bulb illuminated the head, a shadow passed over the face giving it a fleeting resemblance to life. The slashes and gouges had dried; the remaining blood now no more than a few powdery stains. The flesh of her cheeks and lips were a rich deep brown where he’d removed the delicate skin. It lay on the plate beside the head where he’d placed it, not knowing what else to do with it.

Had she moved as he’d opened the door? No, she was still dead, motionless. He glanced towards the bulk of her; the torso propped on the wooded kitchen chair remained still, motionless, the light from the open fridge casting it as a canvas by de Chiciro.

He’d placed the head in the fridge the evening before to keep her fresh whilst he’d mopped up all that blood. What a mess she’d made; her blood splashing the cream wall tiles with thin red ribbons, pools of it landscaping the lino covered floor. It’d taken him most of that night to wipe down the wooden work-surfaces. He'd polished the black enamel cooker to a gleam and scoured the Belfast sink until every morsel of matter and skin was gone; scraping away the last of thickening blood with a pink and silver Brillo soap pad.

Who said he never cleaned up after himself?

He lifted her out of the fridge and carefully placed the dinner plate upon the table. It would be better to have a model to work from. Humming, he picked up the knife and began to cut.

Time for art to imitate life - he’d never carved a pumpkin before.


  1. (PY) Gruesome .... it made me smile tho!

  2. But Phil - it is autobiogrphical... Ha Haaaa- Haaaaaa, Ha Haaaa Haaaaaa....

  3. I never did find time to carve my pumpkin... or put Sonya's head in the fridge. (CT)

  4. Happy Halloween. Great story, I knew there would be some sort of decapitation in there.
    Good to see the JuJu Peanut. I still use your bookmark.

  5. Imagination is the part of the mind that can never be imprisoned. It is also the part that scares the pants off those with none. In the mind of the dullard 'idea' translates as "plot."
    White wine vinegar is far more effective than brillo pads for mopping up those really sticky, thick bits. k

  6. Sonya Tickle commented on your note "Jack o’Lantern".

    Sonya wrote
    "Love it!!!"

  7. Sharon Taylor commented on Facebook:

    Sharon wrote
    "He is amazing - can't wait to see what you do next year.

    Check out Ray Villafane - he is on the same lines as you, you may find him inspiring x"

  8. Catherine Halls-Jukes commented on Facebook:

    "Spent all day looking forward to this...Can always rely on you for a good read, it is fantastic......"

  9. Stephanie Ashton commented on Facebook:

    Stephanie wrote
    "Spooky tale !"

  10. Holly Barakat-Height commented Facebook:

    Holly wrote
    "You have a weird imagination Dad.."

  11. Phillip Yeadon also commented on Facebook:

    Phillip wrote
    ".... devil's own ember lighting his lamp as he walks between worlds endlessly ..."

  12. WOWWWW!! This is great! So great!!!!

  13. Vicky Sutcliffe commented on Facebook.

    Vicky wrote

  14. What goes on in that head of yours - that was gruesome.

  15. Yes BMD - I'm lucky to have so many personalities... well it was Halloween.