"I do not understand the purpose of this activity."
"I'm not surprised," Jim admits as he scoops out more of the innards of the pumpkin and puts it into a white plastic bowl. The smell of the raw pumpkin fills Jim's quarters. I raise an eyebrow and study the contents of the bowl, my hands clasped firmly behind my back. I do not want to touch it.
"If it really bothers you, just consider the fact that we can cook the seeds to make a snack to eat," he says, trying to mollify me.
"And rather than cook the pumpkin, we shall be disfiguring it and placing an open flame inside to create a fire hazard?"
"It won't be a fire hazard," he says as he scrapes the bottom.
"Having lit candles is a fire hazard," I point out.
"They're electric candles," he pointed out smugly. "I've thought out all of the logical arguments your going to make and I've made counter-arguments for them all."
"Why are we doing this?" I finally ask. "Why does one make a jack-o-lantern?"
"Now-a-days, it's for decor, but it used to be to ward off evil spirits."
"There are no such things as spirits," I correct.
"Spock, we just met freaking Adonis a month ago. So maybe there's a chance that all those ancient myths on Earth aren't total bullshit."
He grins wider. "Then, it's to scare off evil aliens posing as spirits."
I give him a flat look. "Why would a race of aliens with superior intelligence and the ability to travel between solar systems be fearful of carved gourds?"
Jim shrugs. "We've met races that have never seen fire before."
I exhale heavily as he lifts the gutted pumpkin and places it in front of me on the paper to protect his desk. He reaches over and takes my wrist to bring up my hand and place a purple crayon into it. I do not bother to ask how or why a Starship Captain would have a box of wax coloring implements normally used by children. "I am expected to carve with a crayon?"
"What? No," he says, rolling his eyes as he sits on his stool with his slightly large pumpkin already hallowed before him. "It's to draw out a picture so you know where to carve so you don't mess it up."
I put the crayon down confidently. "I have no need of it."
"Vulcans and their nonexistent modesty," he says wistfully.
"It is illogical to devalue one's skills, especially when they are considerable," I say, which causes him to laugh like I knew it would.
"What are you going to make?"
I glance down to the smooth, bulbous sections of the orange surface. "The traditional malevolent face, I suppose."
Jim begins carefully drawling on his pumpkin with a blue crayon. "You should at least try to be creative," he chides playfully. "I'd tell you to draw something that scares you, but I know what your answer's going to be."
"I am grateful you have begun to accept this fact."
He snorts. "I don't accept it; I just know that you're in denial and I'm humoring you."
I glance over to him as I pick up the carving knife. If I were a less logical Vulcan I would contemplate using it to maim him. I course I do not.
"Draw something that would scare you if you were human. Fully human."
"Very well," I say. I pause a moment before carefully stabbing the knife through the thick skin and pith.
"Aren't you happy I didn't make you go dress up and trick-or-treating on Deck 6?"
"Vulcans do not feel happiness," I say automatically.
Jim gives me a pointed look.
"Given the choice between these two activities, I prefer this one," I concede.
"I thought Vulcans weren't supposed to have preferences," he says in a matter-of-fact voice as he picks up his own knife and begins to carve his drawing out.
I resist the urge to toss the chunk of pumpkin I just finished carving out. "If one choice is less illogical than the other, a Vulcan will prefer the more logical one."
"So you're saying carving pumpkins is kind of logical," he states.
I raise an eyebrow. "Only based on the fact that roasted pumpkin seeds are more healthy than candy bars." I pause. "I also do not have to dress up as something ridiculous."
"What about sexy?" Jim asked with a smirk.
I glance over to him in fond exasperation. "I would prefer to such apparel to private moments."
He wiggles his eyebrows. "Willing to wear that green tunic we got from those crazy Platonians later?"
I conceal a grin. "Perhaps."
This seems to satisfy him. We carve the rest of our images in silence. Jim finishes first and beams as he leans back and examines the finished product. He stands and picks it and a candle up before taking it towards his bookshelf where he as made space for the two large vegetables.
After I finish, I pick up the other candle and switch it on to flicker yellow before carefully putting it into the pumpkin and replacing the lid. I carefully lift my pumpkin and sit it next to his.
Jim tilts his head to the side as he looks at my pumpkin. "Who is that supposed to be?" he asks. "I can tell it's a face and it looks familiar but..."
I feel the corners of my mouth twitch up. "Dr. McCoy."
Jim's laughter explosively fills his quarters before he takes a holo-image of our two pumpkins, Dr. McCoy and a hypospray.
Author's note: I didn't get to carve pumpkins this year D: So I had Jim make Spock do it! Last time I carved a robot. It wasn't very scary though. I find Plato's Children to be a rather disturbing episode, but I love the costumes in it.
Again, Reveiwers #575 and 600 will get stories of their own by me as show of appreciation. Review #525 got Not So Friendly Nectar and I'm currently working on #550's.
Thanks for reading!