Can you remember the last time you were in a food fight? I’m not talking throwing a pea or piece of corn into someone’s drink? I mean a fully flung, all in potato hurling, liquid throwing, tomato squelching stinging your eye, thrashing and drenching food fight. I can’t. And I can’t remember rubbing a whipped cream pie in someone’s face like you see in movies, but thinking about it, it’s something I’m willing to try.
Probably best to stop reading. This story has no happy ending.
It happened a few years back in the town of Smithville – capital of the nation’s apple industry. There was a glut of apples due in part to an increase in the number of trees bearing fruit and unseasonal weather. Warehouses were full of apples and the town needed a solution to get rid of the fruit before it spoilt.
The Smithville Massacre: How to Throw an Apple Pie
Two feuding families control 90% of the market in the surrounding three states. Dwayne Camparo, patriarch of the Camparo clan is a big man with broad shoulders and a thick ginger beard who can rip an apple in half with his hands. Local legend has it Dwayne harvested a thousand acres himself when Ted Rosella cut off the only road to his farm in an attempt to bankrupt him. The rest of the family were interstate and the farm hands Ted promised he would personally drive to the Camparo orchard never showed. The only other way to get the fruit to market was to carry it twenty miles around the mountain, through a river and a forest with bears. Dwayne somehow managed to get his fruit to market that season and saved his property.
Ted Rosella sold off a large slice of the family’s prime orchard to Dwayne a decade earlier to raise cash to settle a gambling debt with the intention of driving the Camparos out of business and buying the land back for far less than what he paid for it.
The Camparo’s land is in the shadow of the southern mountain range, while the Rosella’s is high on the hill looking down. There had been several attempts over the years to quell the anger between the feuding families. Ted’s daughter was due to marry a Camparo lad, but on their wedding day she ran away, and in a rage Dwayne hired a plane and dumped a ton of garbage in the Rosella’s dam. In retaliation, Ted piped his septic tank to empty on Camparo land, but a nasty wind only did to him what he intended to inflict on the Camparo’s and so took the pipe away. And when Ted’s daughter fell off her horse it was a Camparo who came to her rescue, but instead of pulling her free, accidentally broke her arm in the process.
So as the stockpile of apples grew, so did the nervous of the town’s people about what would happen. Meetings were held to discuss what could be done to defuse likely recriminations about who was behind the glut. The town equally spilt between Camparo and Rosella workers didn’t want to be dragged into any dispute. An apple pie bake-off was decided. If the feuding families could keep to a truce and form a co-op the town could sell the pies and get rid of the stockpile. It was a good plan. And sure enough with skilful political manoeuvring by the President of the Chamber of Commerce, both families tentatively agreed.
All pies would be made from exactly half Camparo apples and half Rosella apples. Now, it is common knowledge Camparo apple are sweeter and less fibrous than a Rosella apple. This had always been a bugbear with Ted. So over several pints of cider, Ted along with his sons hatched a plan. They would challenge the Campora’s to a blind taste test to decide who bakes the best apple pie. Dwayne accepted and a day was decided. All the town’s people would taste and judge which pie was the best. Ted’s plan ensured his pies would win.
How to Throw an Apple Pie
Everyone from Somerville and the surrounding areas attended the festival. Banners hung from street lamps announcing the challenge and people wore badges showing their support. Rides were brought in for the kids and a band played. The fire-station ran free fire-engine rides. And in front of the town hall a large table was set up. The pies were covered by a large cloth, and two bins marked ‘A’ and ‘B’ for each person to deposit a plastic chip were placed in front. All seemed fair and above board. The bin with more chips would be the winner. Only the President – a man both Ted and Dwayne had confidence in – knew which bin belonged to which family.
The time had come. The President pulled the cloth away and announced in great fanfare that judging had commenced. People eagerly lined up to taste. The Camaro clan and Rosella clan stood back watching. It soon became apparent there was something wrong. One end of the table was empty of people, they were only lined up behind the pies where the ‘A’ bin was. Ted and his sons had taken all the Camparo pies marked ‘B’ and frozen them overnight. They stood back laughing at Dwayne and his sons.
Dwayne walked up to the table to taste his supposed pies but they were as hard as rocks. Ted ceased the moment and start throwing pies. The Rosella lads laughed as the pies hit Dwayne covering him in apple and pastry. Dwayne threw the first frozen pie. Like the legend of his miraculous harvest, this too became exaggerated over time. ‘Went off like a Rosella,’ became a colloquial saying around Somerville describing a sudden disturbance or explosion. Everyone remembers the sound as Ted’s head cracked. The frozen pie thrown like a frisbee hit hard against his nose sending bone into his brain and killing him before he hit the ground. Soon the Camparo lads joined their dad at the table. They spared no Rosella. Each lad finding a matching pair at the opposite end of the table, all dead.
Also published on Medium.