“This is a sad day indeed!” I’ll always remember those words.
It was a hot summer day and the carnival was in town once again. Nevermind the silly little rides that the majority of the youth would waste their time with. I was there for one reason: the event that made yokels from miles ’round gather to witness. The challenge of the champions, the fight of the fatsos, the battle of the bulge! That’s right, the famed pie-eating contest.
This was the time of year all of the wives of the manly men of the town would spend many a night concocting an alluring assortment of delightfully delicious delicacies that dwelled in the darkest dreams of the obese competitors even weeks before the event. One of these wives, Mary Anne Truckstop, was the loving wife of Darryl Truckstop, the longest reigning pie eating champion in all of town. Each year Mary Anne would try to create a new, innovative kind of pie. One year she made a lard, apple, and aloe pie, but no one liked it! Another year she made a pot pie, except it really was made of pieces of broken pots, and no one liked it either! One year she thought she had really hit the spot. She didn’t hit the spot, though, but at least she made a spot on the livers of all who ate the pies.
This year Darryl was really pressuring Mary Anne to make the most fantastic pie recipe the town, and possibly the county, had ever known. Whenever she resisted he denied her of her rocking chair privileges and sent her to bed without dinner, so she started experimenting with every possible ingredient she could find to impress the public and, most of all, her precious Darryl.
On the day of the contest, as I was on my way to the carnival in my Geo Metro Convertible Custom, the DJ interrupted my favorite song to announce that Mary Anne would not be attending the fair. My heart sank, my blood boiled, my timing belt snapped. Thankfully I had just arrived at the Carnival. I listened to the rest of Blue Man Group’s “Drumbone,” then headed to the event with sour lips and sour expectations.
As I stood, waiting for the event to start, an angry and disappointed Darryl took a seat behind the pie table. He was the last to arrive. Others at the competition were “Big” Bill Owens, “Plopping” Harley Banks, and Don Reed aka “Popsicle Eyebrows.” The gentlemen cracked their knuckles and adjusted their belts accordingly. It was obvious that the men hadn’t eaten in a while, as the sound of their rumble was overwhelming to the point of deafening if you didn’t have your mouth open. At last, the contest began! The wives of most of the men participating slid their pies across the table. The men grabbed the pies and started devouring with no hesitation. Something strange was happening: Darryl was in last place! No matter how much pie he shoved into his mouth with his meaty hooks, he was still a crust behind. “This is a sad day indeed!” shouted my just-arriving dad whom I’d forgotten to bring with me.
It was down to the last ten seconds. Darryl had drifted further and further behind. At the eight second mark, all of the viewers saw something for the first time. Darryl just stopped chewing. He closed his eyes and began to cry, the pie filling foaming out of his mouth. At the three second mark, four brown and gray pies slid across the table. Darryl decided to give it one last shot and began to consume the pie. Metal crunched, twigs snapped, and paint ran inside the mouths of the men. All of the men except Darryl began to puke hard, spilling a rainbow of different colored filling. Darryl stood strong, stuffing all of the remaining pies down his throat.
The time was up. It was time to make the big decision. As the judges finished their tallies, it was come to the decision that Darryl had still only come in second. The winner was Bill Owens. The crowd booed loudly and started throwing their money until they realized what they were doing. Bill Owens waddled over to the man holding the trophy and raised it high. The sudden change of elevation from standing up began to take its toll on Bill. He threw the trophy to the ground and began hurling into the gas tank of a John Deere nearby. The judges re-tallied how many pies Bill had actually digested and ruled Darryl as the winner once again! The crowd roared with applause and cheerful laughter. Darryl knew that the only reason he won was because of the terrible pies that were given to them near the end. He had always had an iron stomach because of his wife’s cooking. He picked up the trophy and glanced over to see Mary Anne clapping for him. He handed her the trophy. “Here you go, honey…you deserve to hold it until we get home” he admitted. The two hugged and all was good.
This town doesn’t have much of a history, but one memory that will always live on is the legend of Darryl and Mary Anne Truckstop. Even though he got lost traveling to an out-of-county tree sale next week and was never heard of again, the track record of Darryl will never be forgotten.