By Travis West
A few days before Thanksgiving, when she was only four years old—certainly old enough to know better, Mama had always lamented—Elizabeth “Ebbie” Downing licked the car lighter from her daddy’s ‘73 Pontiac LeMans. Mama was right, she had known better, but something about the lighter’s orange glow reminded her of the Halloween candy pumpkins her grandpa had bought a month earlier. She had savored the orange and green candy corn taste-alikes in the way in which only small children are capable—and the lighter proved too much to resist. Ebbie just knew the lighter would fill her tiny mouth with that cloyingly sweet flavor residing somewhere between caramel and honey; instead, it left a nickel-sized brand in the center of her tongue.