We could smell it though! Pungent, acrid, the fresh air did nothing to dispel the stink of forbidden pleasure. And we never discovered his hiding place, no butts adorned his well tendered garden and our furtive looks under the compost lid also revealed nothing.
From the gardening table outside the old shed, Mr Boo The Pumpkin Head laughed toothless at our efforts to catch Uncle Dave as if he shared the secret. Mr Boo The Pumpkin Head was always there throughout our childhood, perhaps left over from one Halloween or waiting for the next, but we never saw him under construction, he just was!
Uncle Dave started to get sick. He would water the garden from an old chair rather than stand up, his breathing was louder, his face grew more lined, but the odour of forbidden pleasure still surrounded him. Mr Boo The Pumpkin Head began to look different too, his face became soft and soggy looking, as if he too were sick.
I was seven when Uncle Dave died and Carla was five.
“The smokes killed him,” Carla and I heard at the funeral, while we climbed under tables and through forests of black legs. We hadn’t seen Uncle Dave's house for a long time, so we went out to say hello to Mr Boo The Pumpkin Head.
“He looks like he’s dying,” Carla said, and there before our eyes, with puffs of smoke and ash, he collapsed onto the table spilling his and Uncle Dave's secret. The pungent, acrid smell we remembered so well filled the air, the stink of forbidden pleasure encompassed what was left of Mr Boo The Pumpkin Head.
Carla, picking up a couple of butts that had rolled, gave them back to Mr Boo and declared solemnly,
“Too many smokes!”