Pumpkin Patch of the Damned
by Eric J. Krause
Why the hell wasn't this ever an easy process? And every year Daisy had to come during the game. Just because there were games morning, noon, and night on Saturdays didn't make it any better. Think of all the great plays he was missing.
"Daddy, can I go in the bouncy house?"
He looked over at the purple balloon structure shaped like a haunted house, complete with a blow-up Frankenstein and a few sheets with eye holes cut in them glued to the side. Those things used to be a huge treat when he was a kid, but nowadays you couldn't go a city block without bouncing into one.
"No, we're going to grab a pumpkin and get out of here."
"Don't listen to your father. Go have fun, baby."
"Yo, Dad, a corn maze. I'm gonna go check it out."
A corn maze? In the suburbs? He'd been in a corn maze once when he was a kid. His parents drove he and his brothers an hour and a half out of town to get to a farm in the country. Now here was one in this empty lot that'd probably be a Denny's or a Walgreens by this time next year.
"No, we're just here for a pumpkin. Go grab your sister and pick one out so we can get on home."
"Pish-posh. Go have fun, sweetie. Don't get lost!"
He turned to Daisy, ready to tell her off. She'd promised him fifteen minutes, half-an-hour tops. Now here she was sending the kids off to pointless activities instead of what they were here for: to find a carving pumpkin.
Before he could lay into her, her eyes sparkled. "Ooh, a craft fair. You don't mind, do you honey?"
Holy hell, a craft fair? How could this lot hold so much crap? Were there even any damn pumpkins in this pumpkin patch? None that he'd seen. Next year they'd just get one at the megamart down the street. If they'd done that this time, he'd be on his way home by now to watch State versus U.
"No, Daisy. Come on. You promised. Get the kids, let's pick out a pumpkin, and we'll get out of here."
Of course she paid him no mind and wandered over to the half-dozen or so booths, her hand already in her purse to snatch out her wallet.
He found a random bale of hay and took a seat. His eyes scanned all three attractions, but he couldn't spot the kids or his wife. Would he ever see them again, or was he stuck forever here in this pumpkin patch of the damned?