“Well, well,” said a man’s voice. I jerked up my head.
Mr. Reginald Yates was as old as Methuselah with a wild, wiry beard and skin as creased and dirty as an old wooden fencepost. Mama warned us to stay away from him ever since he got out of jail back at Christmastime. He lived down in the hollow on the far side of the valley. Mama’s friend Miss Catherine said that was the closest a person could get to hell without moving to Yankee territory.
With sly fingers, Mama whisked the money box behind her back and to me. I hid it behind the stack of boxes.
“I want to buy a pecan pie,” he said.
“I don’t sell pecan pies.” Mama met his steely gaze.
Sensing trouble, one of the lemonade ladies set off at a fast waddle towards where the sheriff’s department had their dunk tank on the park’s far side.
“Why can’t I have my pie?” growled Mr. Yates.
“My Esther is allergic,” said Mama.
“But I’m willing to buy,” he said, then lowered his voice so only me and Mama were close enough to hear. “I’ve had my eye on you since your blue ribbon fair days. I know something’s going on in those pies. I want a cut.”
Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger series from Harper Voyager, which includes her Nebula-nominated novella Wings of Sorrow and Bone. Her newest novel is Breath of Earth. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter @BethCato. For “A Recipe for Rain and Rainbows,” Beth says she drew on her southern roots and her family’s deep affection for pie. As a baker, she can’t help but feel that there is something inherently magical about the pie-making process.
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