THE PASTOR AND THE PUMPKIN SCHNAPPS
by Scott R. Cyre
Published by Scott R. Cyre at Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Scott R. Cyre
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THE PASTOR AND THE PUMPKIN SCHNAPPS
When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed. A wave of indignation washed over me, quickly followed by a ripple of dread. Let me tell you about the indignation, first.
It is my sincere hope that you would find the indignation self-evident; my daughter Jane, poured her artistic soul into crafting “Jack,” over the previous three days. Three days, whereby she gutted pumpkin seeds all over the kitchen table and, eventually, the newly-laid hardwood floor. Three long days in which the house reeked of rotten Thanksgiving. At one point, I came in with my laptop in my hand, the view screen blindfolding my eyes to the carnage of Jack’s innards beneath my $40 slippers. While my laptop went straight upwards, I did not fare so well. My wife, Karen, had the presence of mind to springboard herself airborne and dive-catch the computer, but she only did so at the expense of my rib cage, which unpleasantly became her trampoline. My loving daughter used this moment to “express her discomfort” over our kitchen antics, now guilty of disrupting her artistic…whatever. I hope you can appreciate what I mean when I say that a hefty price was paid by all for that infernal pumpkin, which now looked as though someone punched its teeth out.
Now, the dread. Something curious ran through my mind. I left the house at 7AM that morning to get a jump on Sunday’s sermon. Or, at least, that’s what I thought I did. Standing on the porch, staring at the mutilated melon, I racked my brain trying to remember leaving the house in the morning, with little success. I’m not a morning person by nature and it is not unreasonable to conclude that I don’t achieve true consciousness until somewhere between the daily run up I-30 and the elders’ meeting at 9. Still I was puzzled that such a smelly orange mess would have escaped my gaze, so I quickly concluded that something happened to Jack while I was at the church all day.
I re-arranged the sprinkler on the lawn, still nagged by my lack of memory. I wrinkled my brow, as I realized I didn’t remember part of the night before, either. The part I did remember was Karen’s Staff Halloween Party (she works at Franklin’s Friendly Flowers). Like the mature spiritual community leader that I am, I whined like a spoiled ten-year-old all week that I had to attend this party. “Your work buddies spend the whole evening walking on pins and needles because the pastor showed up,” I said. People generally change their behavior when I walk into the room. The off-color jokes get swept under the carpet and the liquor gets locked up in the cabinet. Anyway, I did inevitably go to the party and I did eat stale crab cakes and the Franklins did lock up the Pumpkin Schnapps when I walked in the door.
Then the rest got a little fuzzy. Someone at the party served up Halloween squares for dessert (of which I had more than a few to kill the taste of the crab cakes), someone else told bad jokes in a Donald Trump costume and…nothing.
I shrugged my shoulders and walked through the front door, welcomed by the icy glare of my daughter, holding two splintered halves of a Reggie Jackson-autographed Louisville Slugger, caked in pumpkin guts.
“What happened?” I asked before my daughter went into Angry Princess mode.
“All you had to do was tell me you hated my jack-o-lantern! You didn’t have to go all mobster on him!” She ran in apoplectic fury upstairs to her room.
I repeated myself as my wife calmly made her way in from the living room. Her reply was cryptic, but calm. “Pop quiz, honey. How many of those Halloween squares did you eat last night?”
“I don’t understand. My daughter accuses me of pumpkinslaughter, and you — ,”
“As near as anyone can remember, the best guess is fourteen, dear,” she answered herself.
“So, I ate pumpkin squares! Who cares?”
“[_Spiked _]pumpkin squares, dear.”
“Spiked…what do you mean, like liquor-spiked?”
“I mean like Pumpkin Schnapps-spiked.”
Everyone experiences shame differently. Some turn red, others cry. I feel a burning flame ignite in my heel and slowly burn its way up to my forehead, which was now a little moist from anxiety. “What did I do?” I whispered.
“You ranted for fifteen minutes about how everyone needs to forget that you’re a pastor and just lighten up and relax. You stumbled to the piano and attempted to strong-arm the room to join you in a chorus of ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady,’ after which you suddenly bolted out the door, leaving me to scrape our dignity off the floor.” She stayed as placid as a January pond.
I guess it all started coming back to me, then. Around the four-squares point, I remember a conversation with Ms. Brenner about how she wished church music wasn’t so “anal,” er, she meant “stiff.” At eight squares, I preached a sermon to Old Man Franklin about alcohol and how the Apostle Paul said that “everything is permissible.” By twelve squares, the room resembled a rainbow doing Mach 3 down I-30. It was at this point that Dr. Portobello, a retired 93-year-old dentist, told me that he went into Franklin’s Flowers a few days ago to buy flowers for Mrs. Geranium (yes, really), an 87-year-old widow in his nursing home he’d taken a shine to, and noticed the handyman Jack Studmann flirting with my wife and thought that I might want to do something about that. “If it were my wife, I’d take a club to him!”
I looked at the remains of the Louisville Slugger in silence. As I grabbed the snow shovel from the storage closet to scrape poor Jack off of my front porch, Karen asked, “So, why did you smash Jane’s pumpkin?”
I glanced over my shoulder only for a moment and muttered, “Why do they have to call them jack-o-lanterns, anyway?” She said nothing and I proceeded to the porch like a good mobster to dispose of the dead body.
About the Author
Scott R. Cyre is a father, husband, pastor, teacher, theologian, blogger, author, novelist, and devout Christian. He is the author of Herman’s Neutics (), a Christian Humor blog, where readers are taught how to “laugh and think like a Christian.” His poem, True to Joy, was a finalist in the rhyming poetry category of the 83rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. The poem is available with many other samples of poetry and short fiction on the author’s website, .
Scott—now forty-eight years old—is the husband of one woman, Brigita, for twenty-five years and the father of three boys; Sean (22), Cole (20) and Jared (18). He was born in Alberta, Canada and served honorably for twelve years in the United States Army. Since graduating from high school, he has had fifty-three jobs and seven different college majors. If he had time for anything, he’d be on the lake fishing or watching re-runs of his favorite TV show, Lost. His forthcoming novel, The Emerian Order, is an epic fantasy tale about a young man who searches for answers about his murdered family while the world in which he lives begins its own End of Days.
To contact the author, visit and leave a comment by clicking on “About the Author.”
A light-hearted tale of On the night following Halloween, a pastor contemplates the disemboweled carnage of a jack-o-lantern on his front porch. This contemplation brings him to some uneasy conclusions about his lack of memory from the night before.