The Great Pumpkin Car Caper

By Debbie Simorte
Raytown, Missouri

I had recently proven myself a tooth fairy failure and killed six goldfish. I couldn’t blow Halloween. But with two days to go, my kid had no pumpkin. I needed to find one.

Pumpkin photo: Richard Kelly/flickr.

All of the stores I’d visited had run out. As a last resort, I drove to a nearby strip mall – the one Dad had told me 14,862 times to never ever go to because the parking lot tended to be a sketchy place.

I parked near the drugstore and went in for Midol, mascara, and M&Ms. I then decided to walk to the grocery rather than moving the car. There were lots of pumpkins, and they were cheap too. I chose a huge, perfectly round specimen and headed out, imagining the fun Jess would have carving it.

As I walked back to my car, wishing I’d moved it so I didn’t have to lug 30 pounds of redemption so far, I noticed three men. My first thought was, “Poor things. That’s happened to me before: getting into a car that looks like yours but isn’t, and then you realize the car you are in has rosary beads dangling from the mirror and yours has a scented flip flop, so you hightail it out of there before the owner comes and thinks you are stealing his car.”

My second thought was, “THEY ARE STEALING MY CAR!”

I ran, screaming like a banshee who needed her Midol. “That’s my car! Get the fuck away from my car!”

I had no idea how I would repo my vehicle when I got there, but the pumpkin was slowing me down. I left it near a cart return and ran faster, yelling more foul words, as if sailor speak would make these guys apologize and offer to carry my pumpkin for me.

Now a row or two away, I watched the driver get in. Thief two jumped into the passenger seat, and the third perp ran to an old blue van parked nearby. Both vehicles left the lot – the van at high speed and my Buick looking like it should have had a truck with flashing yellow lights on top following it.

I turned back for the pumpkin, just in time to see some punk in pants four sizes too big grab it and run.

Back at the drugstore, I panted, “Please. Call 911.” The not-surprised clerk also let me call my dad, to ask him to pick up Jess at daycare since I’d had a slight delay.

When the officer arrived,  we started the report. His questions started sounding more and more suspicious. Could he see my I.D.? What was my previous address? Where did I work? I ponder lots of weird stuff, but had never once considered there might be a hooker living in my town with the same name as me.

As I assured Officer Skeptical I had no warrants for prostitution or anything else, a call came over his radio. My car had been abandoned near the zoo, where another had just been stolen.

The officer drove me to my car. He explained the thieves knew I saw them, so they traded in. More likely, they figured out my car would not be reliable for quick getaways.

The police dusted for fingerprints, showed me how to start the car with a screwdriver, and I headed home.

I stopped by my parents’ place to pick up Jess and give Dad his “You Were So Right and I Didn’t Listen to You and I’ve Learned My Lesson” speech. He chuckled as soon as my story began. By the time I finished, he was in full-blown guffaw.

I felt better telling him, despite the fact that I got no sympathy.

When Dad recovered, he said, “How many times have I told you not to shop there?”

“Fourteen thousand. Eight hundred. And sixty-two. Where’s Jess?”

“In the garage with Mom. Carving pumpkins.”

[Pumpkin photo by Richard Kelly / flickr.]

Debbie Simorte
lives and writes in Platte County, Missouri. For more of her silliness, visit her blog, “Writing the Life Chaotic,” at


Published on Tuesday, October 30, 2012

12 Responses to “The Great Pumpkin Car Caper”

  1. Tonia Hurst
    March 5, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    Debbie, sorry to laugh at your pain but it was too funny. Still laughing. Can’t stop. I was supposed to be writing an obituary…that’s plan’s dead. You killed it.

  2. Denise Jackson
    March 5, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Oh, what a great caper! I have NEVER had someone steal my car, nor my pumpkin. Sketchy strip mall? I guess! I hate it when parents are right. But now we get to be parents, and we’re right all of the time. Oh. Wait…

  3. March 5, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    I enjoyed this hilarious story and loved hearing how you dealt with it.

  4. Debbie
    May 17, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    How did I just see these comments? A belated thanks to all of you for reading and egging me on : )

  5. October 26, 2016 at 9:15 PM

    Oh my gosh. This is quite the caper indeed, and you have a knack for carding good wool. This was just the grin I needed this morning.

  6. October 26, 2016 at 11:42 PM

    I laughed all the way through this. The hooker, the thieves, and the pumpkin carver. Perfect!

  7. October 27, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    Oh, Debbie. Car theft, pumpkin theft, and … shared identity with a hooker? Nobody can make up stuff this good, nope. I’m sorry for your miserable experience, but my, what a great story. Thanks for sharing it!

  8. October 29, 2016 at 3:19 AM

    Ha! Just think — now you know how to start a car with a screw driver!

  9. Via
    October 31, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    OMG… You had me at Midol, mascara and M&Ms. What self respecting prostitute wouldn’t have those on hand? Pretty suspicious! Sailor speak? Visualizing you lugging and dropping off this huge pumpkin. Dying!!

    Perfect share for the night before Halloween!!

  10. November 1, 2016 at 1:27 AM

    This was so funny. Told with great pacing and in a refreshing wry self-deprecatory tone. l thoroughly enjoyed it.

  11. November 6, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    I literally laughed out loud when I read this. Is this a true story?!?!!???! Unbelievable…
    You have such great humor Debbie, I think I should take some lessons from you on incorporating humor into my story telling.

  12. Debbie Simorte
    December 14, 2016 at 7:46 AM

    Thanks every single one of you! You made my heart swell.

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