When Candy was a budding tomboy at the age of six, grasshopper pie consisted of real grasshoppers (and ants and earthworms and butterflies, lightning bugs, bumble bees) with their legs pinched off and guts and “tobacco juice” spilling out from crushed encasements. Candy liked to ambush boys of all sizes, kick them in the nuts, and stuff insect mush into their gaping mouths as they doubled over in pain. She had a running tally of how many she managed to make puke. And she got away with it too. She had forgotten about all this years later, when she was busy baking her award-winning grasshopper pie for a recipe collection editor who was coming to visit her to consider her for inclusion in the book. Candy paused before mixing in the Secret Ingredient, which she knew couldn’t go into the recipe if published. Folks marveled at the real mint that was shredded into the gelatinous creamy pie filling and the way it made them feel after eating it—so incredibly fresh and tingly all over. But they didn’t know about the bits of pot marinating the mint to the peak of perfection.
His look never changed. It was how a stone appeared serene. Because no one ever talked about him, his memory passed into myth only spoken of with reverence. His portrait emanated heroic death and a smell that would never provoke laughter nor tears. He hung real still on the wall, expected nothing. He might even be embarrassed by the artificial rosy color the artist applied to his cheeks, but nothing could be done about that now. The service was done. Eventually, his name was forgotten. Eventually, the portrait came off the wall. Eventually, no image of him would be imprinted on anything or anyone on the face of the earth. Only a few words about him being the first to die would be lost, even to themselves, among the masses ever growing.