When Pumpkins Fly-Again


It had to be impossible! There was no logical explanation. And yet, the impossible scene was unfolding right in front of us. Strange things were always happening in our neighborhood. It was something my three brothers and sister had gotten all too familiar with. After all, we did live on Flamingo Street, where anything could occur. But flying pumpkins?

A note to readers: the phone rang right after the paragraph above was finished. It seems yours truly had just been invited to speak to the fabulous fifth-graders at R.J. Burch Elementary School. Believe it or not, the invitation wasn’t to speak about being a firefighter, but rather the art of writing and being an author.
After finding out it wasn’t Best Friend Mitch playing yet another trick on me, I happily accepted. The story about flying pumpkins would just have to wait. Or would it?

On the drive over to the school, I decided instead of telling the kids how life was as an author, I would let them be authors. They could finish my story for me.
With just the title as a starting point, each student added a single line or some editing. Four stories were written by the kids, two were published last week and the other two are below.

Even the teacher added a couple of lines to the end of the second story. The only changes to all the stories were slight editing on my part. And yes, now I’m really worried about my job. You see, the stories, they’re rather good.

Story #1: My pumpkin weren’t on my lawn anymore, so I think they flew away. I wonder where they went? I hope they didn’t get lost, but since it’s Halloween, I guess it isn’t a surprise. Since I lost my pumpkins I put flyers up in town. When I tell you, you won’t believe where they went.
The pumpkins, they flew all over town. Maybe they were haunted? Or something happened to cause them to sprout wings?

My two friends and I were walking on Halloween night. I decided to go get my dog. He was dressed as Yoda. Just then I saw a suspicious woman walking on the sidewalk. She had a coat covering her face. She ran up and dognapped my dog!

The suspicious lady also had a cape. I heard my dog bark and he bit the suspicious lady’s cape. Then she ran into the old abandoned house, and poured a potion on my dog! I ran after her when my dog started flying. Her coat fell off, and then I saw her face. She was a witch who used her wand to make us fly along with my dog!
I was excited and petrified at the same time. I grabbed the witch’s wand, tapped my dog and he fell to the ground. Then my dog bit the witch again. Then I realized something was wrong with me. I tapped the pumpkins with the wand; they lost their wings and fell to the ground. When they broke open, to my surprise, they were all filled with candy. It turned out, the bad witch was a good witch after all.

Story #2: The evening of Oct. 31 is always a night to remember. Well, that evening was not my night. While other kids were out trick-or-treating in costumes, I was the one wearing the lame costume. It was just normal clothes with cheap horns on my head.

It all started at an old vacant house down the street. The old vacant house was built in a cemetery. I saw a magician and he was holding a rabbit. The next thing you know, he magically made my horns disappear. Then his skin started to turn to orange and he transformed into a pumpkin!
Once he turned into a pumpkin, then he started flying. While he was flying, he grew vines. Then even more flying pumpkins appeared.

All of the pumpkins followed the magician and flew into the vacant house down the street. We all followed the pumpkins down the street to the vacant house.

A giant spider ran out of the house and my friend picked it up. There was a witch inside the house that cast a spell on all of the pumpkins.
All of the pumpkins slowly started to disappear. The witch picked up the magician pumpkin, laughed and said, “I could use you to make a pumpkin pie!”

Out of nowhere, we heard a faint scream. It turned out it was just my sister who had dropped her candy. The witch cast a spell on the magician. Or, was it really the magician?

The next morning, Nov. 1, I got up and went to school as usual. The crazy night was finally over. I walked into my classroom to tell my teacher about the night. To my surprise, vines had replaced her hair; she had some cheap horns in her bag, and pumpkin pie for everyone.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is storiesbyrick@gmail.com. His books are available at www.RickRyckeley.com.]