Percy Parker was a pumpkin. He lived in a pumpkin patch with his family and friends that stretched over a number of rolling hills under a wide Iowan sky.
As the heat of the summer waned the patch began to buzz with excitement. All of the pumpkins looked forward to the fall when they could finally be free of their vine and see the world. Percy’s pumpkin parents passed on every piece of pumpkin knowledge they to him. He had been growing for over a year now and Percy felt ready to go. He couldn’t wait to leave his patch!
He spent many days dreaming of the world with his friends from the other vines. Percy was from a very small vine. In fact, he was the only one on his vine. Percy’s parents had given their lives to give Percy his and he had no brothers or sisters like the other pumpkins. This is why Percy was so eager to leave. He liked his friends, but his real love was his wanderlust.
Finally picking season began. One weekend passed and a few of Percy’s friends were picked. Of course the large and beautiful pumpkins were chosen first; they always were. Percy was neither of those things. He was smaller than nearly all of his friends, and had some warts on his side, but he was proud of who he was and was confident he would be picked.
Another weekend passed and Percy was passed again. More of his friends were picked and Percy only had two other pumpkins around him now. Percy didn’t really care for the pumpkins that were left, but they were all that he had now. He got along with them long enough but he longed even stronger to be picked.
On the third weekend Percy was waiting anxiously watching pickers run through the field gaily as they always did. Suddenly Percy is picked up from behind! His ebullience floods his pulp as the wind rushes by his orange skin while a young picker picks him. They turn him over this way and that, examining his complexion. He felt a squish on his back. He know what it meant. Percy had a soft spot. It was a death sentence. As quickly as he’d been picked he was carelessly discarded. He cracked a bit when he hit the ground. Poor Percy had no delusions of his fate now. He’d seen what happened last year when he was just a baby pumpkin. He’d see the ants and the birds eat the unpicked pumpkins clean.
Another week passed. This weekend Percy was alone. All of the other pumpkins he could see were picked and gone. There were less pickers now. Just the occasional now and then. But none of them even looked at Percy.
One more week and one more weekend. This one saw even less pickers than the last. Percy was already dead on the inside in more ways than one. A crow flew over and landed by Percy. “Oh,” the crow cawed, “You’re still alive. I’m sorry. I was hoping to eat you.”
“Well at least someone picked me…” Percy lamented in reply.
“Come now, come now, pumpkin. Why so gloomy?”
Percy wanted to be left alone more than anything else, but the bird was in no hurry to leave.
“No one is even looking on this side of the patch now. Besides, I’m rotting. No one would want me even if they did find me.”
“Poppycock! I thought you looked quite tasty! Let me see what I can do.”
The crow took to the skies and called as lout as he could to draw attention. Within minutes a very small picker approached Percy and immediately picked him up. To his amazement the picker looked Percy over and started running off with Percy in her arms! He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Someone picked him up and was now taking him with them! He was seeing parts of the patch he had never seen before and it was glorious. The crow gave a final wink and left Percy to be on his way.
Percy had a hard time taking in all the sights, but he did his best. There was just so much new. So many unknown thighs that Percy longed to understand. His picker met up with other pickers who seemed to argue with his picker, but Percy couldn’t really tell if they were or why they would be. Eventually they took Percy to a very new place. A darker place. Percy had heard of shade, and had seems bits of it under leaves in the patch, but nothing like this. It was cool and soothing and Percy loved it. This is what he had been waiting for and it was everything and more.
After an indistinguishable amount of time the pickers brought Percy into an even darker place and then it became a weirdly lit. Everything here was foreign to Percy, but he loved it all the same. His very own picker brought him to a place and sat down with him on the floor. Another picker brought her something white-gray and flat that she set Percy on. Then yet another picker gave her something shiny and metallic. Percy didn’t understand any of this ritual, but he loved it all the same. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in the top of his head. Percy tried to make sense of it, but just couldn’t. The pain didn’t stop, it just slowly moved around his head. He could feel that his picker was holding him there. Why would she do this to him? Didn’t she like him he wondered? She did pick him after all.
And then Percy didn’t wonder anything anymore.
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