Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Flashfiction: Pumpkin Pies

The last of my Halloween Flashfiction, featuring Virginia and Anando from the Out of the Box series.

~*~

The first Halloween Virginia and I spent together had such unpleasant consequences that the following years I didn’t care to go to On The Edge again, or even to celebrate the day in any significant way. Staying home with her is always good enough for me. Even on the nights when we don’t play games, when we’re just together, we always have a good time.

The first year after she moved in with me, Virginia didn’t seem to be bothered by my request that we stay home on Halloween. She bought a bag of candy, left it in a bowl by the door with a note asking visitors to take only one piece. And then, we… enjoyed ourselves. I honestly don’t remember what we did exactly. My days and nights with her have turned to a blur of hazy pleasure, and while a few nights stand out more brightly than others because they had a particular meaning, as a whole I don’t recall specific nights or what game we played when.

Late that night before going to bed, wrapped in nothing but a thick robe, she stepped on the porch to get the bowl back. She was disappointed when she realized it was just as full as when she had set it outside.

“But there are kids in the neighborhood!” she told me when she came back in, as though taking me to witness. “Why would they pass up candy?”

I drew her back to our bedroom and explained. “Because they know who lives here. And maybe the kids aren’t scared, but the parents are. Vampires aren’t much better than child molesters on the list of neighborhood undesirables.”

“But you don’t…” She shook her head when she dropped the robe and climbed in bed with me. “I mean, they have nothing to be scared about.”

“We both know that, but they don’t. Or at least, they don’t believe it.”

As she fell asleep, she muttered something about showing them there was nothing to fear, but she didn’t mention it again in the morning, and I didn’t think about it for a few months.

When October returned the next year, I was a little puzzled one day to see her return from the groceries store with half a dozen pumpkins, all of them so big that she had some trouble carrying them inside. I helped her set them on the kitchen counter, and raised a questioning eyebrow at her.

“Pumpkins?”

She nodded and flashed me a beaming smile. “I asked my mother for her pumpkin pie recipe.”

I had to laugh at that, because over the past year she had slowly stopped cooking for herself altogether, assuring me that I cooked much better than she did. She hadn’t needed to work very hard to convince me to prepare her meals.

“You are going to make pies?” I asked, a little incredulous.

She shook her head and her grin widened just a little more. “Nope. You are. And I’ll deliver them.”

At my confusion, she quickly explained her machiavellian plan: the week before Halloween, she would bring pies to our neighbors – during the daytime and in full sunlight – and suggest that they bring the dishes back when they were done, and why not on Halloween while their kids came to trick-or-treat?

“It won’t work,” I warned her. “As soon as they realize what house you came from, they won’t even want to try the pies.”

“You’ll have to make them extra yummy and irresistible, then,” she replied, grinning.

What can I say? I’m really not very good at telling her no, not since I came back from New York. So a couple of days before Halloween, after she had left for work, I attacked the pumpkins with a knife and her mother’s recipe. I made thirteen pies. I could have made more, but I only had twelve plates to set them on after they had cooled down. The last one, Virginia ate straight from the baking dish; the entire time, she made noises of pleasure I was more accustomed to hearing from her in the bedroom.

With the slowly setting sun casting long shadows in the street, she brought the pies, one at a time, to our neighbors, delivering six on each side of the street. I watched as much as I could from the living room window. I saw a couple of shaking heads, but whatever Virginia said, it worked. Before night fell, all pies had found a new home and Virginia was beaming. I was still dubious that her plan would work, but I couldn’t make myself say as much, not when she was so obviously excited.

Halloween came. Virginia had carved the pumpkins, set a candle in each, and placed them along the path to the front door. She filled the same bowl from the previous year with candy, but this time she didn’t set it outside. I watched her put on a long, flowy pink dress and gossamer wings on her back, and I couldn’t help but hope that her efforts wouldn’t be for nothing.

The first visitors knocked on the door just minutes before sunset. A woman – I think she was our neighbor from directly across the street – handed Virginia our plate, while her child, a little girl dressed as a princess, half hid behind her mother’s legs and peered inside anxiously. Her eyes widened when she saw me, but Virginia said something to her, and candy was apparently more interesting than a vampire.

After she’d said goodbye and closed the door, Virginia turned a triumphant smile toward me. “Told you!”

Before I could answer, there was another knock on the door.

“Next year,” Virginia said with a grin, “You’re dressing up too.”

I shook my head and started protesting, but she had already turned away and wasn’t listening.

Did she manage to get me into a costume the following year?

What do you think?

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