On September 1st, the church down the street from my house began its pumpkin drive. They put up a big banner: "Imported Indian Gourds for your autumn displays $5/lb." Their entire lawn and parking lot were filled to capacity with pumpkins of all sizes. All the little goody goody Jesus boys sat on the steps of the church, and waited for the customers to flood parking lot taking two pumpkins of each size.
By the time the first of October had come, there was no visible depreciation in pumpkin levels. The banner was flipped over, and now proclaimed "Halloween Pumpkins for Sale $4/lb, All Proceeds Go to Charity." No longer content to sit on the church steps, the Jesus boys began hanging out on the sidewalk and suggestively selling the pumpkins to every person who passed by.
As it happens, the church lies directly between me and pretty much everywhere I want to go, so no less than four times a day, I'd be accosted by a well-intentioned Christian boy, pleading with me to buy a pumpkin that I neither needed nor could afford. I needed a pumpkin the way I needed Jesus.
A week before Halloween there were still just as many pumpkins in front of the church as there had been on September 1st. The banner was flipped back to the original side, and was painted over in orange and black paint: "Halloween Special: Pumpkins for Jesus $3/lb. Proceeds go to homeless children." I was soon on a first name basis with the four Jesus boys: Jonathan, James, Joshua, and Devon. When I walked by they no longer asked me if I wanted to buy a pumpkin, they made small talk. The rest of the neighborhood were subjected to tantrums on the street.
On November 1st, the church was still packed with pumpkins. The sign had been re-repainted: "$1/lb pumpkins for your Thanksgiving display. All proceeds to benefit homeless children." Jonathan had obviously given up on his friends, who were grabbing on to the pantlegs of passersby offering to give free blowjobs with the purchase of three pumpkins or more. I imagined by the end of the week there'd be a new banner: "Jesus commands you to buy his cheap pumpkins or he will give all of your relatives AIDS." I was close.
Last night, on my way home from a three a.m. grocery store run, the church gates were left unlocked, and a new sign proclaimed "Get these fucken pumpkins off our property, you heathens." Ok, actually, it said "Free Pumpkins" but I knew what they meant.
So, feeling somewhat bad for the poor Jesus Children, I began an early morning project. I dropped my groceries off at the house, and began taking as many pumpkins as I could, and distributing them to the doorsteps of all my neighbors. Soon, every house on the four streets surrounding the church had one big and one small pumpkin on their porch. At around four, I feared getting caught, and returned home.
This afternoon, I made another pilgrimage to the store to buy Cherry Coke. James and Devon were sitting on the front steps of the church, laughing and smiling. I waved.