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The Great Kentucky Pie Slaughter

A savage look into the savage heart of savage competitive pie-eating in the savage American heartland.


How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Mayberry Pie Festival.

Friday the 15th of August in the year of our Lord.

It was hot.

It was scorchingly hot, as my party made our way into Lebanon, Kentucky, located somewhere deep in the hairy belly button of the Bible Belt of the Americas.

Lebanon was playing host to its first annual Mayberry Pie Festival, a grand ruse to get comedienne Karen Knotts to perform in the area.

There was also a pie-eating competition.

Seeing as how I happen to share the exact same birthday as Takeru Kobayashi (a fact not to be trifled with) and that I had yet to know the bursting seams of having my competitive eating cherry popped, I was left with no options but to register into the madness.

So I bought the ticket, I got onto the imaginary bus and left all reason behind like a savagely empty bottle of spirits beside the proverbial ashtray half-filled with American-made butts.

It was godless, the lack of WiFi, and of the few dozen applicants, I alone wore the only ponytail.

Skinny country girls were eyeballing my vocabulary as soon as I made the scene, but there was no time for any of that.

This was life or death.

The adult competition was held first and mine was the last name called to take a seat.

Reminding myself by way of inner monologue how a sober man should act in public, I readied my bottled water and napkin, deciding how exactly to go about such a travesty of decorum.

I lifted the fork, testing its weight, proud for it to not be a plastic spork (because we know from experience where sporks lead).

I briefly wondered over the etiquette of using my teeth to rend open the box of apple pie in front of me while winking at said skinny country girls.

The announcer chimes in with a voice like a plague of locusts half-drunk on rubbing alcohol.

I smell the body odor of my competition.

I feel a single drop of sweat slide oozingly down the side of my temple.

The countdown begins.

From the corners of my eyes I see everyone else at the line of tables grasping their own forks no differently than how a child clutches its mother’s hand, so as the announcer screams “GO!” into his mic I drop my fork to the table, ripping the box apart and lifting the pie to my face.

I was not forking around.

Gorging into the apple pie, the sugary slime immediately enveloping my face to the point of blotting out the sun, I hear the screams.

The first half of my pie vanishes in the blink of the eye, winning loudly vocal approval from among the throngs gathered.

Caution long-since thrown to the wind, the skinny country girls strangely aroused by my barnyard attempts at devouring this symbol of patriotic waste before me, there are apples up my nose.

I see God in the abyss.

I feel the shame of my progenitors.

I feel naked and bloody.

Seconds last for decades.

I had entered Hell.

The other contestants were still wielding their forks, like murder weapons against the American Dream.

The man next to me finally snaps, eating with his fingers before eating his fingers themselves.

I hear rumors of men at the far end of the table turning cannibal against audience members who foolishly wandered too near to the action.

The weight on my chest is immeasurable.

I call out for Mickey to cut my eyes, but none catch the reference behind my startling wit.

Gabriel blows his final trump into my ears, deafening out my ability to properly soliloquy.

Only bites away from freedom, the crowd erupts into brutal violence as a black horse steals my thunder.

It was all for naught.

It was all for naught.

It was all for naught.

We learn nothing from the sins of our fathers.

There is applesauce in my hair.

I want to cry.

The cash reward went to another player in this maddening game.

As did the blue ribbon.

I am in no position to either confirm or deny that the winners participated in blackmail or Satanic offerings.

The moments following the spectacle were a flood of pats on my back and handshakes, and offers of endorsement deals plugging plastic sporks on late-night TV infomercials.

My toilet will regret this savagery.


Originally published online at The Rake & Herald.