Below, you will find a fictional dialogue between two unusual friends – Justin and Justina. In this conversation, they will tackle the rotting pumpkin problem that haunts the streets long after Halloween and a vast conspiracy involving turkeys. To find other philosophical conversations between Justin and Justina, please see our series archive.

Setting the Stage

Two unusual friends, Justin and Justina, are walking down the sidewalk in mid-November. Justina is telling Justin a story. Because Justina is not paying attention to her surroundings, she is about to step on a carved rotting pumpkin left haphazardly by a tree pit before Justin swoops in.

The Dialogue

Justin: Watch where you’re going!
Justina: What? Oh. Eww.
Justin: That was kind of heroic of me.
Justina: Please no…
Justin: I’m not saying anything.
Justina: Why do people leave their rotting pumpkins outside? Halloween ended weeks ago!
Justin: (Whispers) Pumpkin Taker.
Justina: What?
Justin: They’re waiting for Pumpkin Taker to take the pumpkins.
Justina: So there’s someone who walks around and takes the pumpkins after Halloween?
Justin: Something like that. You catch on quick. Think of the milk man. But instead of delivering milk, he takes pumpkins.
Justina: Why don’t you tell him to take these rotting pumpkins then?
Justin: I wouldn’t dare tell the Pumpkin Taker what to do.
Justina: What? You’re scared of him? Chicken.
Justin: How did you know?
Justina: Huh?
Justin: You know “turkeys”?
Justina: Yes… why are you using air quotes?
Justin: No such thing.
Justina: Come again?
Justin: Pumpkin Taker painted the chickens brown.
Justina: That doesn’t make sense.
Justin: Pumpkin Taker is very powerful. Behind the so-called “turkeys.”
Justina: If he’s so powerful, why doesn’t he take the rotting pumpkins? He’s going to leave them here until New Years?
Justin: Diffusion of responsibility.
Justina: …
Justin: Pumpkin Taker doesn’t want to soil his hands with rotting pumpkin. He hopes that other people will do it so he doesn’t have to. Doesn’t work out.
Justina: What good is he exactly?
Justin: Makes the people who leave their disgusting rotting pumpkins out until they liquefy feel a little bit guilty every time they step over them on their way out of their houses to go live their meaningless, rotting pumpkin-less lives.
Justina: So he’s useless. He should change his name.
Justin: To what? The Turkey Painter? The turkey cartel works in the shadows. Don’t ask questions about the turkey cartel. You’re young and innocent. You have your whole life ahead of you. I already know too much. They can ask all they want, but they won’t get this Winston to say that the bird is anything but a brown chicken. Nothing left for me than to get to the core of the rotting pumpkin that is this dark world before “they” finally catch up to me.
(Justina, now having tuned Justin out, points at what appears to be a fully intact pumpkin.)
Justina: Hey, look there, that pumpkin still looks fine. I guess because it’s not carved?
Justin: No touchy!
Justina: Why not?
Justin: Grab that pumpkin stem, and you’ll leave with nothing but the pumpkin stem. There’s a reason why Pumpkin Taker left it there.
Justina: Eww…
Justin: That’s how they got Chicken Little.

Artistic Conclusion

Illustration for Ole Man Pumpkin Half-Past Seven Stories, drawn by Dorothy Hope Smith.
Taken from Half-Past Seven Stories, illustration for Ole Man Pumpkin – illustration by Dorothy Hope Smith. Regardless of the story and its context, I choose it interpret this illustration as the boy hoping fervently for the Pumpkin Taker to take the pumpkin away.

If you prefer non-rotting pumpkins…

I hope that you enjoyed this powerful dialogue about the scourge of rotting Halloween pumpkins on our streets. If you prefer non-rotting pumpkin content, please see my post on an endearing non-rotting pumpkin with a face mask and hands.