to celebrate national novel writing month (or the unfortunately nicknamed "NaNoWriMo") this year i will spare myself the white-hair-inducing effects of writing 50,000 words in the month of November by writing a story a day.
these stories will be of any length and veer into any territory i wish. the idea is for me to write one a day for every day of november. these will be first drafts with minimal editing.
if you are into any of it. please comment below! perhaps you can help me figure out if there's ANYthing in these stories worth adapting or polishing into something awesome.
story 18. my beans are magic. (by jenny yang. thursday, november 21, 2013)
“take more. there is so much more.” mom threw another bag of pinto beans into my arms.
“i already have five.”
“give them to your friends.” mom’s bean game overfloweth.
i walked with her to the pantry, which was actually a huge old blonde-wood six-drawer dresser sitting in our dining room.
“see. look.” she opened up ever drawer, and ever drawer had sacks of red, pinto and white beans. mostly pinto beans.
“remember our first car in america was a pinto?” she chuckled. “piece of crap.”
“this is great mom. this will last me forever.”
“give it to your friends! you can’t eat all that. we have more. your dad just keeps getting it from that place.”
mom and dad have been senior citizens all my life. i was the accidental baby. they’ve gotten this senior racket down.
they planned for their retirement, saved all of their money and paid off the house. now they live on SSI and other suck old people governmental benefits. it’s not a lot of money but they know the hustle. dad visits a monthly low-income seniors food pantry every single month, even though he has grabbed more bags of beans and canned mandarin oranges and peas than anyone could eat in a lifetime, much less for the rest of his life already long life. a wall of cans stacked on top of that pantry-dresser like an unintentional still life homage to andy warhol.
i drive home after this week’s regular visit with my parents like any other week. driving home from my parents’ place in torrance takes a good half an hour via the 110 freeway. downtown is usually where the delays hit.
at about the 10 freeway interchange, i started hearing a shifting sound next to me. it was the plastic bag holding all of my beans.
rustle. rustle. rustle.
before i get into freak out mode, i turn off my radio and poke at the bag for a sec. we had slowed to a crawl. so i looked to my right and poked again. nothing. then.
rustle. rustle. rustle.
holy crap. the first thing i did was pull to the right for the first exit. the road spit me out next to The Pantry restaurant so i go to the nearest landmark i knew: the 24 hours fancy downtown Ralph’s.
i pull into the underground parking and finally get stil. for some reason i open all the windows just in case i needed to get out or something and push on the interior lights.
there it was, my bags of beans rustling.
slowly i lift open either side of the plastic handles to reveal the bag on top.
the rectangular see-through plastic bag of pinto beans was shifting. BY ITSELF. imprinted onto the bag was a large white label: “Pappy’s Pantry. Net Wt. 2 LB. Grower Owned” with a cartoon frontiersman pappy with a red bandana and brown vest stirring a pot of beans in front of his covered wagon.
i look around me in the parking lot. no one. no one else near me to verify what i’m hearing and seeing.
i look back down and the shifting of the beans makes it look like Pappy and his mustached mouth were moving. i poke at the bag and i hear squirms.
“holy shit!” i yelled. with all the windows down the entire parking garage echoed.
in a panic all i could think of was to rip open the bag.
i pull the plastic apart until a seam forms and half the beans spill into the larger plastic bag of beans.
then i heard them, quite distintively yell, “noo!!!!!”
a little chorus of Nos coming out of my BEAN BAG.
“oh my god. did you just say no?!!” i am a woman. screaming at my beans.
“yesss!!!” the high-pitched chorus sings back.
at this point, i’m barely hearing myself think over my heavy breathing. i close my eyes and take a deep breath to think.
i need to talk to these beans.
i grab about three of them into my right palm and bring them up to my face for a deep inspection. they are knocking against each other.
“hey! stop moving. what’s going on here?” i asked in a loud whisper.
the three beans stop at the sound of my voice. then, the one of the left pushes upright and with three cracks that look like slits for eyes and a mouth and spoke.
“we are here to help you with your love life” it squeaked.
“what?! you are talking beans here to help with my love life?!” from the outside, i looked like a crazy woman yelling at her right palm. all three of the beans are now defying gravity and facing me, upright.
“yes. your dad put a spell on us and made us this way.” the one on the right had a deeper voice. weird.
“this is unbelievable,” i shook my head to myself.
“you mean that your dad seems a bit intrusive or that you’re talking to beans?” said the middle one.
“um. all of it. and that my dad has magic…is this the souplantation i just ate? there was a new pumpkin spice muffin someone must’ve spiked it.”
“just plant us by your front door and we will bring you the love of your life,” said the baritone.
then a knocking sound.
“miss. are you okay?”
it was the security guard. he came all the way over to my car from the elevators.
“all is well. just inspecting my beans.”
“okay. you were yelling.”
“yes. i’m fine now. thank you.”
“great. thanks hector.”
hector reaches to shake my hand so I reached over and forgot about the three beans. as i grasp hector’s hand, they drop to the concrete with a faint sound of screams.
“it seemed like something was wrong,” hector said.
“no. i’m okay now. i think i ate something wrong earlier,” i laughed nervously.
i noticed: hector had nice eyes.
suddenly, i hear a chorus of beans from my passenger seat, “beans! beans! they’re good for your heart! the more you eat…”