The customer was pointing to the cover photo of a fall magazine displayed on the counter. It showed a jack o’lantern fashioned from a regular old pumpkin, but with twin rows of perfect little fangs and two large eyeballs hanging by a seeming thread from the two ocular orbits carved in the pumpkin’s big orange ‘face’.
“Who carves a jack-o’-lantern this perfectly?” she asked.
“Right,” said the cashier, also looking at the image. “You’d need to use a scalpel to carve that precisely!”
“AND be Michelangelo!” said the customer
“Right!” said the cashier, ringing in a few of the customer’s items.
“I know it’s almost October but I’m just not ready for this all the autumn stuff,” said the customer, still studying the magazine cover.
“Totally,” said the cashier. “I feel bad,” she added. “I haven’t done any fall stuff in years. When’s the last time I went apple picking?”
“I don’t think I’ve EVER been apple picking, not in the real way where you pay money to do it,” said the customer. “All I know about apple picking is from that Robert Frost poem where even in his sleep he still feels the rungs of the ladder against his insteps.”
“I bet it’s been ten years since I’ve carved a pumpkin,” said the cashier.
“The squirrels just eat them anyway,” said the customer. “What a sight it was the last time I came upon that ruined cranium. I felt like I’d stumbled onto the set of The Walking Dead.”
“How about doing a corn maze?” the customer then said. “Have you ever done that?”
“No, you know I never have,” said the cashier. “What’s it like?”
“Well this whole corn maze thing was new to me until I about three years ago,” said the customer.
“And was it fun, making your way through it?” asked the cashier.
“Sure,” said the customer. “Well, actually no, it wasn’t that fun,” she interrupted herself to say. “A corn maze is really kind of hard. You get lost.”
“Is the corn that tall?”
“The corn is SO tall! And it got cold. And then the sun went down.”
“Jeez!” said the cashier. “It sounds like that old Stephen King movie Children of the Corn?”
“Let’s never do a corn maze!” said the customer.
“I won’t if you won’t,” smiled the cashier, and handed her her bagged purchase.
And with that the customer departed the store, glad for the merry exchange and resolving to carve up a few pumpkin heads anyway this fall, those frisky squirrel squads notwithstanding.