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Volume 3, Number 9
September, 1998

Do the Pumpkin.

by Michael W. Dean

I remember one fete on Halloween in college. My band, "The Motherless Children," played. My drummer was a particularly redneck asshole. (It is a rule of rock 'n' roll that in the drum department, we generally take what we can get. Drummers hit things for a living and that definitely shows in their personalities. They are restless, irritable and distorted individuals. Those who are not too insane usually can't play, and the remaining 1% are hunted to extinction.) He passed out drunk. (He refused to take LSD. That was for those "crazy hippies.") Jerry Burrows, my bemohawked housemate, and a few others decided to do the typical punk rock frat-boy thing; they found Magic Markers and wrote stuff like "hick" and "farmboy" all over the comatose percussionist. Then they hung Christmas decorations from his unconscious ears. Then they put makeup on him. Then they hung Christmas lights on him and plugged them in. I said, "Isn't that dangerous?"

Jerry threw a mugfull of beer on the slowly snoring body and said "So? I don't like him. Let's kill him!"

I was aghast. I couldn't understand how this strychnine blotter party was getting so out of hand. (I would later learn that they were trying to act out a story in the movie, Decline of Western Civilization, where some punk rockers take pictures posed with a body.) I also thought that LSD was a magic panacea that made everybody love each other. (I would later figure out that my favorite part of the psychedelic experience was the sinister undercurrent. Why else would I take acid 120 times after every trip had become a bummer?)

(My first three hits really did expand my mind. After that, it was always heaven mixed with hell, but I did it again and again, despite the synaptic annihilation and the painfully pretty perdition (or perhaps because of it.) I always seemed to find myself tripping in places that were filthy and scary and falling apart, populated by vermin and louse and by humans who seemed to be barely holding on to some aspect or another of their lives. Sometimes I found myself tripping in places that were Beautiful, but I could see The Devil everywhere. And The Devil looked like the cover of Rock 'n' roll Over by Kiss. I even saw it in non-existent watermarks in typing paper. I would spend hours trying to read the imagined words around that un-image.)

Jerry Burrows wanted to smother my drunk drummer with a pillow. "It would be the perfect crime. It will look like the alcohol killed him. Fuckin' drunk farmer. . . ."

I talked Jerry out of killing my drummer.

At that same acid party, as the sun began to rise, three of us were upstairs watching the sunrise from out of a second-floor window. We weren't talking much. The mood was that post-lysergic kind of letdown where you want the party to keep going, but it just ain't gonna happen. So in sad silence, we waited out the horrible inevitable--the return to an unaltered state of mind.

Right as it started to get light out, the old crippled man who lived next door (and always called the cops on us) hobbled out onto his veranda. He put a pumpkin on the ledge. Then he doddered back inside and returned on his crutches, with a large carving knife, pirate style, in his teeth. He proceeded to cut a single hole in the pumpkin. "What do you think he's doing?" I asked to no one in particular.

"Maybe he's gonna fuck it!" said Jerry.

You could not standard our surprise when it turned out that Jerry was right on. We felt like we were watching Saturday morning cartoons for the criminally insane.

We brushed it off as a disturbing collective hallucination. But we could not shake the possibility that it had been real. There was an unspoken agreement that we would never again speak of this. I'm not sure why it disturbed us so. Perhaps we were worried that someday we would be desperate enough to fuck a pumpkin.
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