The Prize – Alisha Lovings

Ella Mae’s pies were the kind you only heard about in movies, the kind people were willing to take a two hour detour to make a special stop at her quaint little diner, A Slice of Life, just to get a whiff of. They were the kind of pies that made the grieving process a little easier, a sweet reprieve from all those dull casseroles, their aroma so tightly woven into memories of splendor that one was temporarily transported to a place free of pain & suffering—some swore she had sold her soul to the devil for that apple pie recipe. Her pie tins were the first things scraped clean at any event and the last thing you wanted to miss. For sweet Ella Mae who never married or had any children, pie was life, and everyone knew it.

So you can imagine the shock when year after year, Ella Mae’s popular pies came up short at the world-renown pie baking competition of Bonner Springs, Kansas. Rumors circulated that some locals were planning to boycott the event one year, but due to it being just about the only thing worth mentioning about the tiny town, the ludicrous judgments persisted. The blue ribbons had gone solely to one Daisy Ray Johnson, miss homecoming queen herself, who between heading PTA meetings, hosting various community association gatherings and moonlighting as a volunteer nurse at the local children’s hospital, somehow managed to find the time to make that award-winning, yet mediocre pie but once a year.

As each year passed and Ella Mae was once again robbed of that blue ribbon prize, people began to notice the poor pastry chef becoming a bit unhinged. Distressed apple farmers complained that the beloved baker was trespassing on their property in order to converse with the orchard. She even sold her cherished diner to fund a trip to South America to search for one of the rarest orchids known to man, vanilla dendrophylax lindenii, said to produce an exotically intoxicating extract. Her expedition was a surprising success and with the acquisition of that rare ingredient she was certain she’d finally win the prize. But after Daisy Ray hijacked her tenth ribbon that year, poor Miss Ella Mae took could take it no more. She took one last trip to South America in search of yet another rare herb and came home with one much more toxic than intoxicating.

Knowing it to be her last batch of pies to be made, Ella Mae worked sleeplessly for two days straight making her absolute best. The lattice works of the top crusts were masterful pieces of art, like intricate tapestries made to adorn the walls of a church to be displayed before the eyes of God. Grown men wept at the sight of the pies, and wee babes ceased crying. The pulchritudinous pastries were truly a sight to behold, which would have been particularly propitious for our poisonous piemaker, had she not sealed her fate whilst sealing in the fatal pie fillings. Word of Ella Mae’s pies had spread far and wide, and at the Bonner Springs Centennial Pie Making Competition, a panel of special guest judges, prized pastry chefs from around the globe, finally and unanimously voted them the finest pies on the planet.

And while everyone around her began projectile vomiting copious amounts of blood and liquefied innards, Ella Mae forked a massive mouthful of her pie into her mouth, using the blue ribbon in her hand to wipe away the crumbs from her lips.

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