Lima, Pinto, and Great Northern–there was a version of my book in which the kids all had fake names. I have removed them, at least, I think I got them all–the names that is, not the kids. If there is a stray reference to Cannellini’s Capers, so be it.
I’m not sure what to do with the stray stories, so I may have a chapter near the end for tidbits like this one.
One of the gals, who is as lovely and smart as any of them, and who is perhaps in the midrange of gullibility, told me a story. About 50% of the time now I am hearing stories for the first time when the kids are sure I heard when they happened. I am forgetful and they are sneaky, so really, anything is possible in this arrangement.
This particular gal, let’s call her Kidney Bean, was wild to go to Build-a-Bear when she was early in her grade school career. You may know or remember, the business model of Build-a-Bear: kids will beg their parents to let them customize a stuffed bear with the help of a frazzled and underpaid teenager, just as long as all their friends are doing it, too. The bears ended up costing $100 if you weren’t careful and they knew that you would never allow them to slice the bear open and unmake it in the Demolish-a-Bear department, so they had you in the money wringer before you realized your mistake.
Anyhoo, it was a huge enthusiasm of my little Kidney. Because I find it impossible to say no to her, we had to take enormous detours through the mall to avoid the Bear Place if we were on a mission to buy mall things for any reason. This went on for at least a couple of years. As an adult now, she appears to be over it. Mostly. [Our mall is, miraculously, still in business because we live in some kind of retail time warp where only the very best things go under].
At age seven, Kidney finally got a bear at a birthday party and the acquisition only let a little air out of the obsession. I stalled very effectively and never did buy her a second bear. To be fair, on the subject of bears, I should mention that she had dozens at one time–dozens of Other Bears. To deny Kidney another Ripoff Bear was not cruel at all, I bet.
The story she told me recently bubbled up during a discussion of clones. All my other beans are scientifically inclined and they delighted in scaring Kidney with stories of both science fact and science fiction. At age seven she was worried about a great many things, including clones. How did anyone know a clone from the original? If she were cloned would she immediately have to share all her stuff? What if her clone picked on her, too?
It’s hard enough to be seven without worrying about exotic mysteries.
The day of Kidney’s existential mishap was ordinary enough. She was bopping around the house, as she always did, leaving a trail of treasures. One might enter the living room to find a clutch of crayons or a pair of disheveled Barbie dolls at any time.
Kidney went downstairs to fetch a third Barbie or a pad of paper and was surprised to see her Builded Bear on her bed. She was fairly certain that she left the bear upstairs. After a second of confusion, she moved on, as kids do. She grabbed her goodies and went back upstairs.
When she returned to the upstairs, her bear was there.
She took it downstairs with her, and found the bear on the bed. Her bear had a blue bow on its left ear, and so did the second bear. Every customizable detail of her bear was duplicated.
I cannot believe that I have no memory of a small child wailing through the house, “Clones are real! Clones are happening!”
All these years later, however, I know exactly who did it–the sneaky bean. Sure, Navy could have thought of it, and Pinto had the follow-through to execute the plan, but only Garbanzo would have saved up her allowance for such an epic prank.
Well, played, my bean.
Feed the Maw!!
Really, what were you going to do with that $2.99 anyway? Coffee?? Are you sure? One third of a lunch??