A Pumpkin Caught on the Set of Starz’s Power

Today was a fun day. I took the time to respond to a writing prompt from Coffeelicious on Medium.com where I also publish my writings. For writing prompts, I try to go outside my genre and comfort zone into the surreal. The writing prompt said to write five paragraphs based on this sentence: “When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed.” From there, I allowed my imagination, love of Starz’s Power, and the streets of NYC to take over.

There was a crisp wind blowing as I walked home. The leaves serenaded me along the way as they crunched under foot. The smells of pumpkin spice and apple cider doughnuts lingered in the air as I walked past the bakery. When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed. Someone assaulted and mutilated Jack O’lantern. As I surveyed the steps for clues, I noticed a trail of pumpkin guts leading towards the trash bins. All of a sudden, my neighbor’s yellow parrot Shawn screams, “You can’t handle the truth.” I looked up at the window sill and asked, “What truth?” He replied, “Truth is that you in the middle of a war. It’s mean in these streets. You gotta pick sides. Jack picked wrong.”

I ran inside to see if my neighbor feed her parrot gin again. Ms. Benita Buttrell was the unofficial neighborhood watch because she never left her apartment. She also had a thing for gin. Shawn continued, “Jack didn’t stand a chance. He was a dead pumpkin as soon as you decided to put him on the stoop.” Ms Benita exclaimed, “He’s psychic. He warned me which is why I never leave the house. Listen to the yellow parrot. He speaks the truth. Just like the stop light flashing yellow for danger.”

Shawn went on…”A gang of rats came down the street yelling, ‘it’s pumpkin spice season gimme some.’ Jack told them that he gave all his spice to Shredder and his ninja crew. This was Shredder’s territory. The head rat had bad acne and was nicknamed Pizza Rat but he told people to call him Kanan. Kanan said, “I don’t see Shredder and if he’s not here there’s no deal. What’s your name?” Jack told him, “Jack Lantern.” The other rat named Tommy yelled, “Yo, he related to Cinderella Lantern.” Jack replied she was his sister. Kanan said, “Well now you owe us more spice. Cinderella had us carry her to Union Sq saying she was going to Ghost who would hook us up to Jefe for all the spice we could handle. Wouldn’t you know it that after taking her to Union Sq she says “Thanks for the free ride. Catch you on the flip side.” So Jack looks like you got a debt to pay.” Tommy, “Guess you were right about Cinderella and Ghost planning to squeeze us out.” Jack starts to shake and pumpkin seeds fall down his face. “Guys, I don’t know about my sister. She’s always been a wild child.”

A brown pigeon yelled, “You better run. A Brooklyn rat killed my cousin last week. These rats got no chill.” Kanan yelled, “Unless you want to be pigeon pie, I suggest you mind your business. Snitches get stitches!” He looked at Jack. “Either you cover your sister’s debt or my boys Tommy and Drifty gonna inflict some damage.” The more Jack begged the more seeds fell from his eyes. Tommy laughed, “Don’t drop seeds now. Take it like a man.” The rat pack laughed and commenced to gnaw on Jack.

I looked at the yellow parrot. I realized it was my friend Ziggy wearing his yellow pom pom hat. A bottle of absinthe was empty on the table. The window was open and the wind knocked over the absinthe causing the plastic jack o’lantern to fall and a trip a mouse trap. M&Ms had spilled on the floor. Ninja Turtles was on the television and In da Club was playing on the iPod. I don’t hang out with Ziggy anymore. I also gave up drinking any liquor that sounds like absent of mind.


Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.