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FLASH FICTION — The Trojan Pumpkin


The chain link gate scraped along its guide rut. Geraldine let out a sigh of relief when she saw the wheels on the six foot tall wooden pumpkin’s undercarriage. Damn, she thought, the weirdos have really come out of the woodwork since we switched to processing pumpkins. We shoulda waited til after Halloween. Oh well, I’ll drag this thing into the lobby, then it’s Chucky’s problem when day shift reports.

The grating squeak of wood on wood assaulted Geraldine’s ears. So thankful was her cochlea when the racket ended, that she didn’t notice the muffled giggling coming from the pumpkin’s belly. The front door to the plant clicked shut, and four pre-teen boys tumbled out of a hatch in the pumpkin. “Pure fucking genius,” said a bean pole boy a head shorter than the others. “Trick-or-treating is for suckers. Schlepping from house to house for one piece of candy. Tonight we’re hitting the motherlode!”

A raised knuckle plowed into the bean pole’s arm. “Shut up. It was my idea.”

“Ow.” The bean pole’s knuckle performed an equal and opposite reaction. A beehive of balled fists launched indiscriminate attacks on forearms until a mop-haired boy yelled, “Enough! We’re not blowing this caper because you bozos are too punchaholic. Let’s split up to get more loot. Who’s getting what?”

“Candy corn.”


“Peppermint swirls.”

“Peppermint swirls? When did you turn into a grandma?”

“Zip it. Meet back here in fifteen minutes and we’ll eat like kings.”

The boys ran off, each with a fifty gallon trash bag over his shoulder and a box cutter in his hand. The dull tear of cardboard meeting its demise. Greedy fingers rifling through ill-gotten gains. Screams filled the empty hallways. Four boys met back in the lobby, panting for breath. “Sonofabitch. All I found was canned pumpkin. When did this place stop being a candy factory?”


Caleb Echterling wishes he could spend all his waking hours playing Q*bert. He tweets funny fiction using the mysterious handle @CalebEchterling. You can find more of his writing, as well as his rants about perfidious woodland creatures that steal tomatoes from his garden, at

(Ed. Note — Caleb received one full bag of candy corn and a tin of pureed squash in compensation for this story. Before you get all excited, the candy corn’s leftover from 2013.)


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