- "Too bad I'm the bet that you lost in the reaping."
- ―Lucy Gray Baird in song, referring to Billy Taupe[src]
- "Oh no. If I swing, she's swinging with me!"
- ―Billy Taupe regarding Lucy Gray Baird, his last words[src]
Billy Taupe, a long-time member of the Covey, had been in a relationship with Lucy Gray Baird, also of the Covey. He struck up a relationship with Mayfair Lipp, the daughter of Mayor Lipp, thinking he could have them both. However, the two of them, found out about each other and Mayfair convinced her father to call out Lucy Gray's name at the Reaping for the 10th Hunger Games.
After Lucy Gray Baird arrived back in District 12 as the victor of the Hunger Games, Taupe appeared at the Hob following a performance of the Covey. Coriolanus Snow recognized him as being the man that Lucy Gray Baird had sung about, the man who had lost in the Reaping. Maude Ivory stood in front Lucy Gray, telling Taupe to get out, as nobody wanted him there anymore. Drunken and slurred, he said that they needed him and were sounding thin. Barb Azure Baird told him that he had made his choice. He tried to appeal to Clerk Carmine, his brother, but when Clerk Carmine didn't respond either, he claimed that he would do fine on his own. However, when a couple of Peacekeepers closed in on him, he shoved one away and then somebody pulled out the lights, resulting in a drunken brawl. Afterwards, Coriolanus spotted Taupe inside Mayfair Lipp's home, scowling with a bloody nose.
The next day, Coriolanus went with Sejanus Plinth to meet with Lucy Gray Baird and enjoyed a happy reunion. However, as their meeting was wrapping up, Billy Taupe arrived, saying he wanted the rest of his belongings. After they were given to him, Coriolanus and Lucy Gray discovered Sejanus together with Taupe.
Snow recognized that Sejanus had drawn Billy Taupe a map of the Peacekeepers' base. Billy Taupe told Sejanus that he could find him at the Hob if he wanted to talk more, but Lucy Gray warned him to leave and not come back. Taupe asked if she would sic her Peacekeepers on him if he didn't, calling them a "pretty tame pair." She told him that there was no walking back what he had done. He said he hadn't tried to get her killed, but she replied that he was still running with the girl who did. He commented that she was "playing the kids" and told Coriolanus that he would "learn soon enough." Afterwards, Lucy Gray told Coriolanus that what he said wasn't true, that she did sometimes have to flirt as part of her job, and that he had a different set of rules for himself than he did for her.
One evening, after another performance at the Hob, Coriolanus stumbled into a shed where he discovered Sejanus and Billy Taupe crouched over a burlap sack with several weapons protruding out of it. Lucy Gray then spotted Coriolanus and they ended up both getting drawn inside, where another man, Spruce, revealed his presence. Spruce asked Sejanus about Coriolanus, and Sejanus responded that he was like his brother. He then motioned the barrel of his gun to Lucy Gray and Billy Taupe told him that Lucy Gray was going north with them, claiming she was his girlfriend.
When Spruce asked if Coriolanus and Lucy Gray weren't together, Lucy Gray lied, saying that Coriolanus was seeing Barb Azure. It seemed like everything was going to work out, until Mayfair Lipp showed up, looking for Billy Taupe. He told her to get home and he would explain things later. Spruce, however, told her to come with them, as they had no quarrel with her, only with her father. He asked Billy Taupe what was going on and he told him that she was just talking. She commented mulishly that she was all talk and no action, sniping at Lucy Gray, asking how she enjoyed the Capitol. She then tried to flee and Spruce rose his gun to shoot her, but Billy Taupe knocked the barrel to the floor. Coriolanus then shot Mayfair instead and called for Lucy Gray to flee back onstage. However, Billy Taupe declared that if he swung, she would swing with him, at which point Spruce shot him through the chest, leaving him dead on the ground.
Billy Taupe was dark-haired and around Coriolanus Snow's age when they first met. He dressed in a sleeveless shirt and pants ripped off at the knees, with his instrument hanging over one shoulder. After the Covey's performance in the Hob, Billy Taupe's face gleamed with sweat and his movements suggested that he had drank too much white liquor.
- Billy Taupe's second name, "Taupe" is a reference to the color Taupe, a shade of brown-grey color.
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 27
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 23
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 24
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 25
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 28