Ellen’s Bakery

WE'RE DOOMED - baby, would you like some pie?

The red rooster crowed announcing another breaking dawn. Ellen turned on the rickety cot sticking a dirty foot from under the soiled blanket. The cabin was desolate and shabbily furnished. Her kitchen was unusually clean. No sign adorned the rough lumbered building but the townspeople knew she made the best pies for miles around. Many a husband sneaked thru the woods, up the hill to see Ellen. A shake and bake lab was hidden in the root cellar around back of the shack. Ellen had a few shake and bake tricks of her own. Mostly she baked pies selling them to regular customers. Her blackbird pies were very special.

The quiet was shattered by a gunshot. Smearing the dirt on the window pane with one hand, she shaded her eyes against the rising sun with the other. Focusing her eyes against the glare, she knew the limp walk. Joshua, the sixteen year old hill boy, limped from a shove off a John Deere tractor by his drunken father. Joshua slowly approached Ellen’s cabin. One gallus of his overalls was hanging by his hand that held an old rusty shotgun. The other held an old crochet sack dripping with blood from his morning kill. Any type of critter could be in the bag. Joshua killed opossums, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels or any animal he could get in his gun sight. That’s why Ellen made such sumptuous pies.

Ellen called her blackbird pies a delicacy. The sumptuous ingredients were a mixture of spices and any kind of meat Joshua killed. Her customers were a select group. They were interested in a tidbit hidden in the pie, a small rock of cocaine. Her customers supplied her with the makings She only manufactured small amounts at a time. These special pies were kept in a separate pie case.

The government men spent their time in the hills hunting corn liquor stills. Combing nooks and crannies, they couldn’t find any copper tubing and were flaggated. A new fad had come to the hills of Una, Mississippi.

Marshall King, an ATF man from Atlanta, spent most of his time talking to Ellen and eating her pies. He always complimented her on her delicious blackbird pie. A fragrant aroma was always coming from the kitchen. Several tables covered with red checkered tablecloths were on one side of a makeshift dining room. Marshall sat most days at a corner table watching the coming and going of customers. He had a habit of running his left hand thru his graying hair while drumming the fingers of the other hand on the table. He knew something wasn’t quite right with the bakery but didn’t see any superstitious activities.

All was quite until the chair Marshall was sitting in hit the floor when he jumped upon seeing Chase, Joshua’s dog. The dog was foaming at the mouth and staggering. Marshall said, “That dog has rabies.”

Ellen running from the kitchen saw Chase. “Git, git you dog.”

Marshall and Ellen’s eyes locked for a moment. Both knew Chase had gotten a blackbird pie off the window sill. Marshall laughed while saying, “Ellen, I’m calling the AFT men back to Memphis because of the rabies epidemic and I want a few of those pies. If they do to my mother-in-law what they did to that dog, I will be forever grateful.”

Returning to Memphis, Marshall told of a rabies outbreak in the hills of Una, Mississippi. The town has grown to a metropolitan. In the middle of town, there stands a big red brick building with a sign that reads Ellen’s Bakery. She has a partner named Marshall. On cold rainy nights they laughed about how Marshall fooled all the government men with a fake rabies outbreak. Chase had gotten a blackberry pie laced with cocaine. Ellen had put the wrong pie in the window to cool. But now Ellen’s bakery is in the pie business phasing out her blackbird pie. One more thing, she has three little Ellen’s and one Marshall.

Revia Perrigin

Revia returned to writing at 72 years old after years of not writing. She is retired from factory work, but she's learned to do her own plumbing, electrical and automobile maintenance through the years. She taught school in Dade County, Georgia after graduation MSCW (now MUW). She returned to the "W" as a life-long learner, taking literature and writing courses. She lives in Columbus, Mississippi.

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