Miguel opened his last present last.  There, inside the feathery white wrapping paper laid his favorite things in the whole world: Mexican Jumping Beans!

“Oh boy, Mom! Thanks!” cried Miguel and immediately set about finding his trusty magnifying glass.  It was Christmas morning and all the kids were out in their yards warming up their Jumping Beans.

“Oh ho!” cried Luis next door as his began popping from the warm Southern sun.  “They’re jumpin’!  They’re jumpin’ like li’l sonofabeans!”

“Wait, wait!” cried Miguel, “I have a magnifying glass!  Bet mine’ll jump higher than yours!”

“You’re on!  Winner gets the other fellow’s baseball cap!” shouted Luis and laid his six beans onto the pavement.

The magnifying glass was a big one so Luis became worried.  However, soon it was evident that Miguel couldn’t help but overdo it with the temperature and his beans just lay on the grey sidewalk, lifeless.

“Ha ha!  I win,” cried Luis and grabbed his friend’s cap.  “You killed ’em!”

“Killed ’em? Killed what?” asked Miguel.

“The larva to the Laspeyresia saltitans, a type of moth here in Mexico!” shouted Luis gleefully tightening the cap onto his little skull.

“Wow!” said Miguel slowly, “So that’s why they jump?  They’re .. they’re alive?”

“You got it, budd.  Hey, I’ll catch ya later.  I got a baseball game to catch.  Wanna  show off my new Braves hat!”

Miguel sat down on the pavement.  He looked forlornly at his four little burnt beans.

That evening at suppertime, his mother asked Miguel what his plans were for the coming year.

“Mom,” replied Miguel in a serious toned voice, “I don’t know.  But I’m not going to burn up my beans.”  And off he went to his bedroom.

His mother looked at his plate of unfinished tacos and brown beans.

“Tsk tsk,” she whispered softly and cleared his plate, “Next time he gets these raw!”

the end


1997, Burbank CA ©