Dean grabbed the near-empty plate, salvaging the few remaining morsels while Pumpkin was searching for more empty pockets to fill as he rose to leave.
Pumpkin paid them no mind.
Pumpkin took time before answering.
She sipped her drink, surprised to find it really was her favorite, a pumpkin spice latte.
Not the case with Pumpkin Green.
Sprinkled in the assortment of oldies were a few exceptions—two couples both named Dawkins, and Pumpkin Green, a young man taking a break from his cross country hike to California in support of the homeless, or so he claimed.
"I'll tell Billy you want to talk to him, when I see him tomorrow—if he's still talking to me," Pumpkin said.
There was a four foot wide Double Christian Door, Indian Shutters and "Pumpkin Pine" colored wide board flooring.
It was Pumpkin Green's third day since arriving with an overladen shopping cart he insisted on lugging to his second floor room.
Dean wondered if Bird Song could afford the food bill as he sat down and joined Pumpkin for a cup of coffee.
On the way to the pool, with Pumpkin and the Texas widow as his passengers, Pumpkin told Dean that Langstrom had recruited him for the Fourth of July water fight.
Dean was in front of Bird Song, trying to mow the lawn, still blanketed with the moisture of the now-ended drizzle when he remembered his promise to pick up Pumpkin Green and whoever else needed chauffeuring from the pool.
After leaving the church, amid handshakes and greetings from town friends, the couple was surprised to meet Pumpkin Green.
"The theater stuff sounds cool," Pumpkin said.
He slapped Pumpkin on the shoulder and winked.
I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
In addition to the four Dawkins, there was Pumpkin Green, the grocery cart vagabond, and old Brandon Westlake, camera buff supreme.
Having each some shingles of thought well dried, we sat and whittled them, trying our knives, and admiring the clear yellowish grain of the pumpkin pine.
Pumpkin Green returned while Dean was killing the few minutes before he left.
"I doubt it was Pumpkin who left the money," Dean said.
"What do we know about Westlake and Pumpkin Green, for instance?" he asked.
That's about the only connection Pumpkin might have, and none that I can see to the bones.
He'd always known Pumpkin was a flake, but he honestly liked the young man and flakiness wasn't the worst trait carried by the young and the restless.
While Pumpkin Green was not at this week's mass, or probably any other service within miles of Ouray, Billy Langstrom's partner in love Melissa attended.
When the old man tried to engage him in further conversation—this time about Pumpkin Green and the general irresponsibility of today's youth—he excused himself on an important errand and left Westlake standing in the hall.
Reminded of Pumpkin Green, he wondered where the young hiker had spent the cool night.
"Pumpkin Green," Dean said.
As Dean entered the room, Pumpkin was filling his plate with baked goods.
"He's been busy shooting hoops with Pumpkin Green," Dean said.
Pumpkin looked at the picture of Randy Byrne, one leg up on a boulder, an I-own-the-world smile on his young face and Jen smiling at him with a look of love.
Dean and his wife joined the group, followed by Brandon Westlake, Pumpkin Green, and a newly arrived Midwesterner named Hank.
Even Pumpkin Green, the trekking philosopher, tossed in his two cents.
Monday was transition day at Bird Song, with the arrival of six new guests to fill three vacated rooms, with only the four Dawkins, Brandon Westlake, and Pumpkin Green staying on.
Young Billy Langstrom came by for Pumpkin, his newfound friend, announced by the absence of a muffler on his bright red Jeep.
After locating a missing sneaker, Pumpkin left without a word and, shockingly, without breakfast.
Most of the guests seemed content in the parlor, listening to Pumpkin Green ramble away about his upcoming Fourth of July water fight.
His replacement early morning audience consisted of two old ladies from Indiana who'd just checked in, Pumpkin Green, and Paulette Dawkins.
Dean bumped into Pumpkin Green, who was leaving, a black cape and tuxedo over his arm.
Pumpkin held up the hanger, his outfit draped like black robed judge.
Pumpkin motioned toward the Jeep.
Pumpkin trotted off, bouncing on legs Dean would die for.
Pumpkin Green would have known about the bones.
Pumpkin said, as he strolled up the walk.
Pumpkin nearly fell off his chair.
Instead, he rose—a suggestion they go inside—but Cynthia and Mrs. Lincoln were content together, as if oblivious to Pumpkin and Westlake.
She turned away from Dawkins, and with a forced smile at Pumpkin and Westlake, left the porch.
He kept an eye out for Billy Langstrom, whom he still hoped to talk to, but he spotted neither him nor Pumpkin Green in the crowd.
Dean spotted Cynthia waving from the corner, just as Pumpkin shocked her with a stream of liquid.
He'd be at the head of the hose, like Pumpkin and Billy Langstrom over there.
He was happy to be out of the dining room where Brandon Westlake and Pumpkin Green, both distraught over Billy Langstrom's death, were pressing Dean for details.
Do you think Pumpkin bought the liquor for Billy?
No. Pumpkin told me Billy asked him to buy booze, but he refused.
Pumpkin is a bit kooky, but I believe him.
Westlake practically camps on it and even Pumpkin Green's has gotten in on the act, Dean said.
Pumpkin and the Westlake fellow are over with Mrs. Langstrom, or at the funeral home.
Dean was surprised, but made a note to seek out Pumpkin, and talk about more than the rent.
"Pumpkin Green was a fan of heavy metal music," Cynthia offered.
The trio had pretty much dismissed Pumpkin Green's involvement in spite of his connection with the play.
Pumpkin and some of Billy's friends thought there might be more to the young man's death than reported.
He introduced us, Pumpkin said.
Dean cautioned Pumpkin to keep his hand on his wallet, but the young hiker dismissed the advice with a wave of his hand.
Yes, Pumpkin had been there and Westlake had spoken to him briefly.