I had volunteered for the Pie toss attraction at the annual "Magnolia Carnival" Because I had always wanted to get a pie in the face. And to be frank, my first and so far only public gunging at the start of the year had awoken something in me. I had found myself reliving the experience over and over in my head as the months wore on. Each time I found myself reliving the experience, I would find my cheeks bloomed with color and a shiver would pass over my body and the tiny hairs on the back of my arms would stand straight up, as if they were soldiers snapping to attention. And so, true to the old saying, I followed my curiosity late one night and goggled "Getting Slimed" a number of results popped up.
One result stood out above the others and really pique my curiosity and caused me to dive deeper down the rabbit hole. That result was simply titled "Gunge Girls" once I typed that in, it was like I had stumbled upon Pandora's Box and like a foolish little girl, I just had to peek inside. And boy when I did my whole world exploded like an atom bomb. Following the verbal trail of breadcrumbs, I discovered a fetish called "WAM" and beyond that, that there were thousands if not millions worldwide who also enjoyed getting messy.
And so with that in mind, I jumped at the chance to volunteer for the Pie toss at the Carnival. And as luck would have it, I was among the first to be selected. Now the Magnolia Carnival is always held on the first weekend of October. So with that in mind, I decided to wear something special, after some mental back and forth, I settled on dressing up as a cheerleader. Mainly because most of the stories I read seemed to center on cheerleaders being the main ones to get messy.
And so the morning of the carnival I donned my costume, a blue top that might have been one size too small, but again like last time it made my modest chest appear bigger than it really was. It was also a 'V' neck style top so showed a little of my cleavage. A matching blue, pleated skirt, yellow socks and blue sneakers. Parted my hair down the middle and tied each section back in a high pigtail.
Once I was dressed, I donned an oversize pink hoodie, since it was kind of chilly, it was one of those rare chilly early fall morning and then I mounted my bike and I started to peddle into town. Now I live in the Town Creek Road District, our house number is 130, four doors down from the Potters. Anyway, the street is paved in cobblestones with two sets of trolley tracks running down the center. I mention this, because if one follows the trolley tracks, one will be lead right into the heart of Benton.
And the heart of Benton is the Historical Downtown section. It took me about a half an hour on bike to reach the first signs of the Carnival, the Benton PD had closed most of downtown to motor traffic, as I peddled through the barricade, I wave to the two on duty officers who were enjoying a cup of hot coffee and a fresh hot doughnut. They returned my wave and I carried on.
A few minutes after I passed the barricade, I got into the real center of things. Brightly colored kiosks line both sides of the cobblestone paved street. Many of downtown merchants had even rented booths or carts to display their wares. Already people were starting to hawk there wares, a half dozen food trucks were on hand to cater to the massive flood of people expected to come rushing in. On the sidelines one could find all kinds of games and side attractions. It was one part Country-Fair and One Part Middle East Bazaar.
The side attractions included a Cake Walk, a Dunking Booth, a Ring Toss and finally the Pie Toss. My heart jumped into my throat when I arrived at the pie toss. The attraction was simple. A wooden counter and a few feet from the wooden counter a plywood cut out of a sunflower. A round hole, just big enough for you to stick your head through, was located in the center of the flower. Somebody had even tacked a small index card above the hole, from where I stood, I could easily read the text written upon the card. The text written in plain cursive and simply read. "Reserved for Pretty Wendy's Face" a deep blush bloomed in my cheekbones as I read out those words softy to myself.
"May I help you?" A woman asked as she walked up to me, she was dressed in flora sundress with pink flip-flops. "We're not open yet, I'm still waiting for my lovely volunteer to arrive. She is supposed to be here any minute."
I cleared my throat and took a deep breath.
"Hey, my name is Winifred Margaret Rose, but my friends just call me Wendy, I kind of answered your ad looking for a volunteer for the reboot of the Magnolia Festival. On the contact information, I wrote down WinifredMargaretRose and listed my cell's number as (877) 456 – 7989. This morning I got a text message saying that the booth would be across from Potter Mercantile by the newly opened Comic Book store The Card Palace."
The woman blinked and blinked again. Behind her I could see Mr. And Mrs. Potter setting up a booth in front of their general store. The Potter family like the Rose family came from old Benton blood. We could even trace our roots back to the founding of the town, even as far back as the Hannah Bluff days. Anyway putting local legend and lore aside, the women nodded her head and finally a big smile formed on her face.
"Oh so you must be my lovely volunteer! Hey, you're the same girl from the gunge vote! The one who dressed like the french maid and set under the gunge gallows! I remember a face when I see it once." She said smiling as she started to rub her chin.
I nodded my head, a deep blush colored my face as memories of my first ever gunging came flooding back to me. The woman smiled and then started to laugh as she reached over and touched my hand and in a soothing, tone of voice, one that was steeped in a calming southern accent.
"Honey child, you're going to draw in them folks like flies to pots of honey." She said with a grin. "You know, that little stunt you pulled has been really popular on Facebook, all the town groups are talking about it. Anyway, if you are so kind as to go behind this counter and put your pretty little face through that hole right there. Just stick your whole head out, and give them a big southern smile, we'll get to mixing the pies and get this show on the road."
A small smile formed upon the bow of my lips as I walked behind the counter and moved toward the target. The target was a plywood sunflower. I closed my eyes and moved behind the target and then gathering up my courage, I pushed my head through the hole, once my head was through, I noticed the edges around the hole were cushioned allowing me to rest my neck a tiny bit.
I quickly noticed that the woman was starting to make the pies. The making of the pies was a simple enough task, she would pick up one of the large tins of premixed pudding, the pudding came in different flavors, chocolate, banana cream, vanilla and even strawberry! Slowly and carefully she would fill the bottom of graham cracker pie crust about halfway with the chosen pudding, she would then smooth the puddling out and top it with a tub of creamy topping. You know the kind you could buy in the freezer section of your local supermarket.
I felt a budding sense of excitement as I watched each pie being completed. Soon the wooden counter was filled with a good dozen pies. She then clapped her hands and shouted out to the crowd that was starting to form around the booth. It was a good two dozen people crowding around the booth. I don't know what she said, but soon people were putting down their money. The prize was high when you compare it to say the dunking booth that was offering three balls for five dollars, here one pie would cost you five dollars. And of course, there was a large pickle jar that had been washed and sunned out, somebody had taped a piece of white construction paper over the jar with the words 'Donations for King Daughters Hospital pediatric ward.' were written on the paper in a flowery script.
Some people just tossed their pocket change into the jar, but a few minutes in, a really cute boy picked up one of the pies, I remember smiling as I watched him pick up the pie and then balancing the pie in the palm of his hand, he reared back and tossed it. The pie flew through the air and then smacked me right in the face. The pie exploded as soon as it came into contact with my face, coating my face with the mixture of pudding and cream.
I was shocked as the pie filling coated my hair and my face. A giggle escaped my lips and then before I could catch my breath another pie came selling through the air, this one smashed into the target, sending shards of graham crackers flying as bits and pieces of cream and pudding. Another pie soon followed that one, this one struck below, coating my legs with cream and pie. Another direct hit to my face ensured that I'll be doing a lot of scrubbing tonight.
And so, as the minutes started to tick by, more and more people started to line up. And soon the ground in front of the pie toss was littered with aluminum pie tins, and slick with pudding and cream. The smell of the pudding and the oily creams started to fill the air, and I was starting to feel sticky, the pudding clung to my hair, my blouse, my skirt, my socks. It was quite layered in if you will, with patches of chocolate and vanilla and strawberry being seen overlapping.
More minutes started to tick by, more pies started to be tossed toward me, the pies smacked into my arms and coated my bare shoulders with cream, pudding, and a fine dust of crushed up graham crackers that coated every square inch of my bare shoulders.
"Okay! Guys and gals we have only two pies left!" The women running the booth called out. "I'm going to ask for twenty dollars, for twenty dollars you can take these two pies, walk behind the throw line and give our brave volunteer a pie sandwich!"
A deep blush colored my cheeks as a cute looking boy stepped forward and dropped twenty dollars down, he then picked up the two pies and walked toward me. Our eyes met and I returned his smile with one of my own, then twenty seconds later, my world went dark. I could feel the heaviness of the pudding being worked through my hair and the cream being rubbed into my already messy hair. Once the pie tins dropped away, I smiled and once more fell into a fit of giggles. My mind was too full of blissful thoughts to really think. I was in heaven, I guess you could say, I'm in heaven when you pie me.
"Wow! What a great sport! Let's give our brave volunteer a hand everyone! Wend you've been a great sport. Everyone give her a big hand!"
And with that, the gathered crowd. That numbered I best guess, numbered around forty or fifty erupted into a loud chorus of whoops, cheers, catcalls and yells. I smiled and slowly pulled my neck out of the whole. I was just about to exit the area when a bright, blinding light flashed before my eyes.
"Smile for the Camera Wendy!" Was the only thing I heard before another flash of bright light blinded me for a half of a second. It was then I knew that I was quickly becoming famous.