It must have been a perfect summer. My father had helped me build a treehouse in our garden. My sister had gone to camp for three weeks. And I was on the best baseball team in town. It must have been a perfect summer. But it was not.
It was going well until Claudio Garcia had moved to my neighborhood, to the house right next to Filipe, my best friend. I didn’t like Claudio Garcia. He laughed at me when I lost in baseball. She threw a party at her house to jump on the trampoline, but didn’t invite me. But to Philip, my best friend, yes.
Claudio Garcia was the only one on my list of enemies. I never even had a list of enemies until he came here, but once it arrived, I needed one. I nailed it to my cabin, where he could not enter.
My father was an expert on enemies. He told me that at my age I had enemies too. But we knew a way to get rid of them. I asked him to tell me the secret.
– Tell you? I’ll show you, ”said my father.
He took a very, very old cookbook from the shelf. Inside was a heavily worn piece of paper, the letters already faded. She picked it up and glanced at it.
“Pie for enemies,” he said, satisfied.
They will ask what exactly is a pie for enemies. That’s what I asked, too, but my father told me that the recipe was so secret that he couldn’t even tell me. I figured it should be magic. I begged him to at least give me a little clue.
“I just tell you that,” he said. “Enemy pie is the fastest way to get rid of them!”
Of course this left me thinking a lot. What kind of things – unpleasant things – would you put in a pie for an enemy? I showed Dad some bad herbs, but he disapproved with a shake of his head. I took him worms and stones, but he said he didn’t need to. I gave her the chewing gum she’d been chewing on all morning – handed it back to her.
I went to play alone. I started to basket until the basketball got stuck on the roof. I shot a boomerang, but it didn’t come back. In the meantime, I heard my father’s noises chopping, mixing, and beating the pie ingredients for enemies. After all, that summer could still be fantastic…
The pie had to be horrible. I wondered how it should smell, or worse, what it would look like. But as I walked around the garden looking for ladybugs, I smelled delicious that seemed to come from the kitchen. I was a little confused.
I went to the kitchen to ask my father what was going wrong. The pie for enemies shouldn’t smell that good. But my father was smart:
“If the pie smelled bad, your enemy would never eat it,” he said.
It was clearly not the first enemy pie it made.
The timer rang, my father put on his kitchen gloves and took the pie out of the oven. It looked like a real pie. It looked great. I immediately realized the trick.
But I wasn’t completely sure that this pie for enemies would work. What exactly would she provoke in her enemies? Did they make them bald or with very bad breath? Would it make even the most bucks cry? I asked my father, but it was no use: he said nothing to me. However, while the pie cooled, he told me about my part to do to me. He told me quietly:
– In this recipe there is a part that you have to do. For the pie to work, you have to spend a whole day with your enemy. Worse yet, you have to be nice to him, which is not easy. But it’s the only way the enemy pie can work. Are you sure you really want to continue with the plan?
Of course I did.
It was horrible, scary, but it was worth a try. All I had to do was spend a day with Claudio Garcia, and after that he would disappear from my sight forever.
I rode my bike to his house and knocked on the door. Claudio came to open and was amazed. Standing in the doorway, he waited for me to speak. I was nervous.
– Do you wanna come play? I asked.
Claudio was confused.
“I’ll ask my mother,” he said.
He returned with his shoes in hand. The mother came to greet me.
“Boys, no trouble,” he said, smiling.
We cycled around and jumped on the trampoline. Then we filled balloons with water and threw them at the girls in the neighboring house, but we didn’t get it right. Claudio’s mother prepared our lunch for us. After eating, we went to my house.
It was strange, but it seemed like I was having fun with my enemy. It almost looked nice. But of course I couldn’t tell my father after all that work to make the pie for enemies. Claudio liked my basketball hoop. He said he liked to have one too, but there was no place to put it at home. I let him win a match, just to be nice.
He knew how to throw boomerangs. He launched one that returned right to him. When I was the one to launch, the boomerang went over my house and fell into the garden. When he climbed the wall to fetch him, the first thing Claudio saw was my cabin.
The cabin was mine alone. I was the boss. If my sister wanted to come in, I wouldn’t let her. If my father wanted to come in, either. And if Claudius wanted to enter…
– We come? – He asked.
I knew you would ask me that! He, the first and only person on my list of enemies! The enemies were not allowed to enter my cabin. But he had taught me how to shoot the boomerang, invited me to lunch at his house, and let me jump on the trampoline. He had not been a good enemy!
“All right,” he said. – But wait.
I passed ahead and climbed quickly to pull the list of enemies off the wall. There was a checkerboard in the cabin and a deck of cards. We played until my dad called us to dinner. We pretended not to hear, and when he came for us, we hid. But you found us soon.
My dad had made spaghetti cheese gratin for dinner, my favorite dish. It was also Claudio’s favorite dish. Maybe he wasn’t that bad. I began to think that maybe it was better to forget the pie for enemies.
But at the end of the dinner, the father went to get the pie. I watched him break it into eight very large slices.
“Dad,” I said, “it’s nice to have a new friend in the neighborhood.”
I was trying to get her attention, I was trying to tell her that Claudius was no longer my enemy. But my father just smiled and nodded. I think you thought I was faking it. He set three plates on the table with large slices of pie and huge ice cream balls. He gave one to me and one to Claudius.
– Mmmm! Said Claudio. – My dad never makes pies like that!
At that moment I panicked. I didn’t want Claudio to eat from the pie for enemies.
– Claudio, don’t eat! This is bad! There’s poison or something!
Claudio’s fork stopped before it reached his mouth. He frowned and looked at me in wonder. I was relieved. I had saved her life. It was a hero.
“If it’s so bad,” he asked, “why has your father ever eaten half?”
I looked at my father. No doubt I was eating the pie for enemies!
– It’s great! He exclaimed with his mouth full.
It was the only thing I said. For a few seconds I watched them eat the pie. My father laughed. Claudio ate happily. And nothing happened! It didn’t seem dangerous, so I ate a little. The pie for enemies was delicious!
After dessert, Claudio went home on his bike, but first invited me to the next day to play with him on the trampoline. He said he was going to teach me how to somersault.
As for the pie for enemies, I still don’t know how to do it. I keep wondering if it really hurts enemies, if it causes them to fall out of their hair or get bad breath. I don’t know if I’ll ever know why I just lost my best enemy. Derek Munson Enemy Pie San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2000 (Translation and Adaptation)