“Hector & Kevin & Sheila,” by Eirik Gumeny

Jan 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Prose

Hector Van Ort lived in a pumpkin. It was a very nice pumpkin, very orange. At one point, it had actually been made of pumpkin, but then it got warm and the pumpkin got unpleasant and Hector had it reinforced with matchsticks and tinder. That worked about as well as one would expect, really. Thankfully for Hector, his neighbor at the time was an unemployed cement wholesaler. His neighbor was also an optimist: that truck of his idled, basket turning, for days on end, just in case. Kevin was really great that way. Kevin was the cement wholesaler’s name, by the way. It’s not really important, but it makes sentence structure easier. Pronouns simply wouldn’t cut it. Everyone in this story is a he, even the woman.

Anyway, back to Hector’s highly flammable house. It was highly flammable. It should also be noted that Hector was a three-pack-a-day smoker. That’s why he had so many matches. Hector, one day, after fourteen straight hours of telemarketing, lit a cigarette and fell asleep on his couch. Hector’s head slumped backward, the burning end of the cigarette falling slowly out of his mouth, angling towards the incredibly combustible wall. It was at this point that Hector’s ex-girlfriend, Sheila, set Hector’s highly flammable house on fire with a flamethrower. This was not surprising in the least. Sheila was an arms dealer with an angry streak six miles wide and three miles tall. Honestly, Hector really should have been better prepared for arson. But he wasn’t and was instead curled up on his couch dreaming about toasters as his house quickly changed from matches and tinder and pumpkin to cinder and ash and fire. Hector was a very sound sleeper.

Kevin, the previously mentioned cement wholesaler who lived next door, was not a sound sleeper. Sometimes Hector would fart in his sleep and it would wake Kevin up. This annoyed Kevin. Hector’s steady diet of red meat and coffee certainly didn’t make things any easier, either, but Kevin wasn’t the type to hold a grudge. Especially not when a man’s house was burning to the ground. Which is why when Kevin heard the sound of a house burning to the ground, looked out his window and saw that it was in fact Hector’s house burning to the ground, well, Kevin, he hopped out of bed, grabbed a pair of pants off the floor, hung them up in his closet, hopped out the window, across the lawn, into the cab of his cement truck, and then drove the cement truck in reverse across his lawn and over to Hector’s flaming abode.

For the record, Kevin was a kangaroo. It’s not really important, but it might help to explain the hopping and the lack of pants. Maybe not so much the truck-driving, though. Kevin didn’t like to talk about the truck-driving. He didn’t like to talk while truck-driving, either. Which was alright, because he was in the cab by himself in this particular instance, so there were no awkward silences to negotiate. There was, however, a pissed-off ex-girlfriend strapped for murder to negotiate. Kevin, though, did not know this and, instead, simply backed the cement truck into Sheila.

Sheila, for his part, saw the oncoming truck as an opportunity to wreak havoc from a higher footing. He hopped up on the back of it and did his flamethrower thing from the bumper. It was only when Kevin lowered the drum and released the cement, drowning Sheila in wet clay and gravel, that he saw the folly inherent in this plan. But by then it was too late and Sheila was dead. Sheila was also a wall. Hector was simply asleep.

Kevin was going to wake him, see if he was okay, but then Hector farted and Kevin decided instead to recast Hector’s smoldering pumpkin house entirely in concrete. Kevin may not have been one to hold grudges, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t enterprising. He tucked the bill under Hector’s pillow. Eventually Hector woke up, saw the bill, panicked upon the realization that he hadn’t made a sale in weeks, calmed down upon the realization that he sold paint and was in need of quite a bit of it, sold himself that quite a bit on credit, cashed the ensuing payment to himself, and handed it over to Kevin in small bills because he knew that Kevin enjoyed small bills. This wasn’t a kangaroo thing or anything, just a personality quirk of Kevin’s. Kevin used the money to buy lunch and start a low-interest checking account. He also used it to move to the far side of town, away from Hector’s farts and psychotic ex-girlfriends. Unfortunately for Kevin, the other side of town consisted of twenty-three airports and his apartment building. But that’s neither here nor there. This was about Hector Van Ort. He lived in a pumpkin.


Eirik Gumeny once scaled the Empire State Building, only to be murdered by several bi-planes and a pretty girl. He was not happy about it.

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