Cathy Carlisi Peppers and Bets I want to hear that story again, the one you always told, about peppers and bets, men gathered in a bar choked with cigar smoke. It was 1946, your father's clam stand. You drove loads of littlenecks, would grab a bottle of beer after you unloaded, listen to the men. One day in July, this guy, Jimmy Beans, didn't know Mike, didn't know that he grew the hottest peppers in western New York, that he could eat fire. So Jimmy wagered his Cadillac that Mike couldn't eat a bushel of these green devils fried in olive oil. People warned him, but Jimmy wore an Italian horn, slicked his hair with Brylcreem. The guys in the back kept frying and Mike kept eating. The air stung everyone's eyes. I would listen to you tell this story to guests as Mom cleared the table and you peeled a peach, slowly, with a small knife until the skin fell in a single coil. You'd give me the soft spiral and I'd try to reshape it back into a peach. Swirling dessert wine, a piece of the fruit's flesh at the bottom 181 of the glass, you'd
Prairie Schooner – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 25, 2009
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