Pumpkin Panic


“9-1-1. What is your emergency?”


“Excuse me?”


“Sir, I haven’t been called Pumpkin in a long time.”

“I’m being chased by a pumpkin!”

“Where are you, sir?”

“Downhill from it!”

“No, sir, I mean what town are you in?”


[Brief silence. Heavy sigh.] “I should have known.”

“Linebrook Road! A pumpkin escaped from Marini Farm!”

“And the pumpkin is chasing you, sir?”

“It’s rolling down Linebrook Road!”

“I’m sorry, sir, I just want to understand the situation before I call out the National Guard, the Coast Guard, and President Obama’s drones on your behalf. Are you for some reason unable to outrun the rolling pumpkin?”

“I’m not running! I’m driving!”

“So you’re in your car, and the pumpkin is chasing you.”

“It’s a very small car! It’s a very large pumpkin!”

“Sir, try to settle down.”


“Sir, I’m trying to help you. But I’ll have to get some information.”

“Help me now! I’m about to become pumpkin pie!”

“Wait a minute. Is this Doug Brendel?”

“Excuse me?”

“Are you the guy who writes the Chronicle column?”

“Well, yes, thank you for noticing.”

“I think you’re the guy who called in last week about the turkeys.”

“There were turkeys! Turkeys! Walking down Linebrook Road!”

“They were in your way.”

“They were sauntering!

“Sir, you can’t call 9-1-1 every time traffic slows down in front of you.”

“Turkeys are not traffic! Not even in New England! Turkeys are a safety hazard! In front of everybody else, they cross the road. In front of me, they walk down the right-hand lane!”

“Mr. Brendel, you seem to be calling 9-1-1 every time traffic is moving too slow for you or too fast for you.”


“Mr. Brendel, you’ll have to lower your voice.”


“Because my headset is getting hot.”

“I’m being chased — in my very small car — by a very large pumpkin — down Linebrook Road!”

“Are there any identifying marks on the pumpkin?”

“Gah! I can’t tell! It’s rolling! It’s in my rear-view mirror! It looks like a massive swirling vibrating orange Indiana Jones boulder!”

“What direction are you going on Linebrook Road right now, sir?”

“Southwest! No! Northwest! No! Southwest!”

“Don’t mess with me, Doug.”

“The road keeps turning! Edge Street! Howe Street! Belle Street! I’m telling you, this is one fast pumpkin!

“It must be a very large pumpkin, to be rolling so fast.”

“Yeah! Did you see this week’s Time magazine?


“The Topsfield Fair was featured for the winner of its heaviest-pumpkin contest! It was 1,900 pounds! Heavier than my car!”


“Yeah. Smart Car: 1,800 pounds. Erck!”

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, the pumpkin and I just crossed Route 1 against the light. People at Cumby’s were covering their eyes.”

“Doug, tell me the truth. Were you short of ideas for a column this week? I mean, really. A pumpkin?”

“I’m telling the truth! A huge pumpkin escaped from Marini and rolled down Linebrook and—— aaaaah!

“Sir, I’m sending help. Try to stay calm. Sir? Sir?”


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