Do What You Want, Just Don’t Say Anything Bad About Me or I’ll Kill You

Cartoonist Paul Conrad
Cartoonist Paul Conrad

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

                                                                             — Jesus

A long time ago, at a county fair far, far away, a young boy and a young girl faced off in a pie eating contest. As far as pie eating contests go, this one wasn’t any more special than any other, and the two finalists weren’t especially gifted in pie eating. What made this contest so noteworthy was its outcome.

The clock tower, when it struck noon, marked the sixth hour since the contest began and the young boy was starting to feel a bit queasy. Smelling blood in the water, the young girl slowed her pie eating to a crawl, knowing that she only had to outlast the young boy now – what with his cheeks flush with the color green. If he tossed his cookies – er – pies, then she would win by disqualification. Suddenly, the young boy’s pie eating speed jumped to Ludicrous and, smiling, increased his slim lead to an insurmountable number – no one remembers how many exactly.

The young girl was embarrassed and caught off-guard. Having already slowed her pace she couldn’t start up again – not without risking nausea herself. She had fallen for the old rope-a-pie-dope maneuver made famous by some long lost county pie eating champion from a bygone era that no one cared about anymore.

It was then that the contest took a turn.

The young girl was so filled with fury that some eye-witnesses – to this day – claim that they saw her face turn beet-red (I always thought beets were more of a violet or maroon hue, but, whatever). Without a thought in her head except the image of the pie-smeared, smiling face of the boy who was about to win the contest, she clenched her fist and pulled it back like a gunslinger cocking the hammer on her Colt .45 Peacemaker (the gun that won the West they say). Then, like a bolt released from a ballista engine, her white-knuckled fist sprang forth and smashed the young boy’s face on his right temple.

The force of the blow was such that the pie bits in his mouth made a kind of sloshing sound as it bounced around in his mouth before ejecting spectacularly from his wobbling lips and onto the faces and into the open maws of the entire front row (yes, there were spectators). His head turned at an awkward angle but, for a split second, his body remained in place so that he had the peculiar posture of a mannequin with its head turned too far to the right. But when his body finally realized what was happening and tried to “catch up,” it was like watching – according to some eye-witnesses – a human rubber band untwist itself.

When the boy came to, in his hospital bed, who did his eyes feast upon but the girl herself – holding up the coveted blue ribbon to him in feigned remorse.

“Uh, thanks,” he said.

She rolled her eyes.

“But, why does it have your name on it?”

“Stupid. Helloooo? I won the contest, silly. But my parents made me give the prize to you. God knows why.”

It was then that the boy happened to look out the window and he would never forget what he saw that day, sitting up in his hospital bed. His town – Hell, the entire county – was tearing itself apart in complete anarchy. A preacher was choking a rabbi to death. A gang of housewives were shaving the hair off of a lone woman they accused of being the town whore. The police were running around town like the biggest and most well-funded gang in town and the mayor and the district attorney were just laughing at them. A man was running for his life down the street barefoot, holding up a human arm. He was being chased by a bank clerk, a dentist, a lawyer, and a college professor because they were hungry for flesh. And an all-boys choir – their cherubic faces twisted with hate – were chanting, “MIGHT MAKES RIGHT! MIGHT MAKES RIGHT! MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!”

Posted by Paul Yim


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