“But I soon realized that life wasn’t pure happiness. When I tried to visit my neighbors, I couldn’t move! That, I think, was the worst discovery of a lifetime. Even worse, I was only in the world for one day!”
I’m a Jack-O-Lantern apparently. That’s what the pumpkins next door said.
“Your name is Squash,” they said. And one said its name was Gourd!
“The candle humans put inside of us lights us to life,” Gourd said, which is also pretty cool.
The world was awesome. One time a human accidentally kicked me down the staircase! Sure, I got a few scrapes, but for the most part, it was fun! I loved it! I couldn’t explain it, but I wished it would happen again.
But I soon realized that life wasn’t pure happiness. When I tried to visit my neighbors, I couldn’t move! That, I think, was the worst discovery of a lifetime. Even worse, I was only in the world for one day! Apparently, we only existed because of some stupid holiday called Halloween!
So I thought and thought. I could make them kick me down the staircase then become a stowaway. No, I couldn’t get into the car. I could make a big sign that said, “Long live jack-o-lanterns!” No, I couldn’t make the sign. I could tell the humans nicely to stop? NO! I doubted they understood Pumpkin. All my ideas wouldn’t work because we couldn’t move! So annoying!
That afternoon, I saw a mouse. He looked so sad, so I asked him, “What’s wrong?” The mouse looked startled. “Sorry if I scared you,” I tried to reassure the mouse.
“No, no, it’s just not many people speak to me, much less a pumpkin,” the mouse said to me in a squeaky voice.
“What is your name? My name is Squash,” I said to the mouse.
“My name is Pippi.” Pippy looked around warily.
“I don’t want you to take offense, but what are you afraid of?” I asked Pippi.
“Well, I- Shh, come quick!” Pippi whispered urgently.
“I can’t move!” I said, trying to figure out why I should hide.
All of a sudden a nest of mice came running towards me.
“Hey, you, pumpkin! Have you seen a little mouse named Pippi?” I didn’t know what to say — these mice were strangers. But still, Pippi had been a stranger.
“Um, actually yes, in fact she’s-” Pippi shook her head at me. She was hiding in the flowers that were on the porch.
“Um, Pippi went that way.” I pointed to the right.
“Thank you,” the mice sped down the street.
“Who were they?” I asked Pippi.
“NYPM,” Pippi responded.
“NY what?” I said, confused.
“New York Police Mice,” said Pippi.
“What? Are New York Police Mice police for mice?” I asked Pippi.
“Look, I don’t want to talk about being in legal trouble for talking to people that are not mice,” Pippi said.
“Wait, what?” I asked, confused.
Pippi sighed and said, “This might take a while.”
“Mice have unfair laws.”
“What does that have to do with it?”
“The law says you may not talk to anything unless it is a mouse.”
I gasped. So Pippi was breaking the law. She was a criminal because of me.
“I‘m sorry,” I said, still unable to believe Pippi was a criminal.
Then, I had an, um, idea! I could show the police and the mice who make the laws, whoever they are, that they were wrong! And be able to live in the world for more than one day! “Pippi, I’ve got it! You can find a way to tell the people who own me that I should be in the world for more than one day! Which would probably be able to prove to the other mice that you can be friends with anyone!”
“Yes, that ought to do it. YEEEEEEEEESSS!!!”
“So, tomorrow, you will write a note and put it on the table inside the house. Sign it Anonymous.”
“Aahh, but in the mouse laws that’s called poison pen. We’re not allowed to do that.”
“OK, sign it Pippi Mouselington.”
The next day, Pippi and I woke up early to start. Pippi showed me a crumpled sheet of paper that said:
Your pumpkin is alive. He doesn’t like being in the world for only a day! He made friends with me and because he can’t write. I am writing this to you for you to find a way to keep Squash (that is your jack-o-lantern’s name). -Pippi Mouselington.
“Great! Now go and slide under the door. Leave it somewhere they’ll find it. Then come back before the clock says 6:00. That is going to be when Mr. Ziernan comes for breakfast. So are you ready to begin your mission?”
“Yes, I am. My running and hiding days are over.”
I watched Pippi disappear under the door. I couldn’t help worrying about all the things that could happen to Pippi. I’m a fast speaker — what if Pippi missed something? And how could I help if something went wrong? I stopped myself. Pippi was going to be okay. How long did it take for someone to put something on a counter? It was 5:00. Fifteen minutes later, 5:15. Another fifteen minutes later, 5:30. Hurry up Pippi, I thought. Mr. Ziernan comes down in half an hour! Twenty-five minutes later.
I heard footsteps. And not little mouse footsteps. Human footsteps. “Come Pippi, now!” I said out loud, even though it wasn’t going to help.
All of a sudden, I had an idea. I could move! Not really, but what could let Pippi know that she should send a note, and what could let Pippi know that I needed help? My voice!!! I took a deep breath, and let out the loudest, squealiest scream I could scream, “AAAAAAHHHHHH!”
All the people in the house opened their windows, rushed outside, and didn’t even glance at Pippi.
“Who was it?” asked Mrs. Ziernan.
“What was it?” asked Mr. Ziernan.
“Is it Santa Claus?” asked Sally, their four-year-old daughter.
I signaled to Pippi to go out the back door, now.
She scrambled for the door. They saw another crying little girl with her mother. Mr. and Mrs. Ziernan glared at the girl with her mother, and walked, well, more like stomped, back into the house.
That noon, I saw Mrs. Ziernan pick up a piece of paper on the counter. She read it, then stared wonderingly at me.