Billy was a good eater. He was over six feet tall by the time he was twelve, worked hard every day and was always hungry. Since Daddy had known real hunger growing up during the depression, he encouraged him to “eat well.” Billy liked to drink his milk from a quart jar to cut down on troublesome refills, and he would hurt a kid over a piece of leftover fried chicken. When Mother was serving chicken, he’d take a piece or two, eat a couple of bites, put it on his plate, and go for seconds. This made sure he got plenty before it ran out. By the time he was in high school, if there were leftovers, Mother took to freezing them, hoping to have some for the next meal. He caught on to that and soon she’d hear the creaking of the freezer door in the dark.
Knowing he was always ravenous when he came in after a late basketball game, Mother once left him a plate of steak and potatoes and a bowl of banana pudding on the counter. Mistaking the pudding for gravy, he spread it generously over his steak and potatoes. He said it was awful, but scraped it off and ate it anyway.
Nothing delighted me more than to get the best of him. Counting on his gluttony, I laid a trap. I fried up a batch of fresh peach pies, golden and flaky, and left them on a plate on the table. The topmost pie was the biggest, flakiest, and most tempting of all. I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist it. It was filled with salty beans.
Phyllis and I stepped behind the door when we saw him coming. Lured by the tantalizing aroma of fresh peach pie, he fell into my trap, tearing into that horrible pie. You can imagine the rest…