Josh and the Cornstalk
A Cliff Notes version was offered in Gazebo (chat) a couple of weeks ago, and was well received (of course, most present were on their third round by then). Here’s the full unabridged version.
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"Josh!" shouted Ma. "Git in here, boy!"
Josh, who’d been out in the yard vainly attempting to teach himself break dancing, shuffled inside. "Yes, Ma. What'cha want?"
"Boy, we is down to our last three gallons a corn likker. I need you to take a jug of it into town and sell it so we kin buy us some more corn fer the still."
She handed him one of the jugs, adding, "And pull up yer pants. You look stupid with 'em down that low. What'cha think you are, some sorta 'home boy' or somethin'?"
"No, Ma," muttered Josh, tugging carelessly at his shorts as he turned toward the door. Once outside, he began shuffling down the dusty road to town. After the first bend and out of sight of the house, he took a couple of pulls on the jug, which improved his mood considerably, and began whistling a hip hop tune.
(Now, I know what you, gentle reader, are thinking: you can’t whistle a hip hop tune. I must remind you that this is a Fairy Tale. Work with me here.)
After a couple of miles he came upon an old biker dude, leaning up against his motorcycle and studying a map. Long straggly brown hair (with gray roots) framed a weather-beaten face, and the dust on his leathers suggested he was a long ways from home. He looked up and grinned at Josh, revealing a gap where his upper left canine should be.
"Well, howdy, son. Say, do you know how to get to Bardstown from here?"
"Jus' head down this here road, sir, and turn left onta the highway once you git to town. Hit'll be 'bout five more miles after that."
Josh looked at the cycle, which was black and sported lots of chrome and an Oregon license plate. "Nice Harley, sir."
"It's a Yamaha." The old biker dude looked at the jug. "What'cha got there, son?"
"Some of my Ma's corn likker, sir. I'm taking into town to sell it, then buy more corn fer the still."
"Mind if I try it?"
Josh handed him the jug, and the old biker dude took a pull.
"Damn, that's pretty good. How much are you hoping to get for this?"
"Thirty dollars or so."
"Is that all? Son, I’ve got something that's worth a lot more than that." He reached into his pocket and pulled out five small objects, which he showed to Josh.
"These are Magic Beans. Plant these and you'll have enough corn for every still in Kentucky."
Something about that didn't seem right to Josh. "How kin you git corn from beans?"
The old biker dude gave him a long look, shaking his head. "What part of 'magic' don't you understand, son? Trust me, these are what you want."
Josh mulled it over, reflecting on the fact that he was still ten miles from town and the temperature was already into the mid nineties, and decided to go for it. He handed over the jug and the old biker dude dropped the beans into Josh's palm.
The old biker dude packed the jug into one of his saddlebags with the comment, "They'll love this stuff at the Gazebo." He got on his bike, fired it up, looked back at Josh and offered some parting advice.
"Pull up your pants, son. You look stupid." He rode off, leaving Josh in a cloud of dust.
As you might expect, Ma was not impressed. "YOU DID WHAT? TRADED ONE OF OUR LAST JUGS FOR FIVE GOD DAMNED BEANS?" She snatched the beans out of Josh's hand and threw them out the window, then grabbed one of the two remaining jugs and stomped off to her room, slamming the door. Soon Josh could hear the sound of the WWE announcer's voice, along with occasional shouts of "STUPID!" from his ma. He was pretty sure she wasn't talking about the wrestlers.
He spent the rest of the day sulking in the yard, and went to bed at dusk.
Shortly before dawn the beans began to sprout. Four of them grew into SI swimsuit models (remember, Magic Beans can grow into anything), who promptly wandered off in search of the nearest beach. The fifth bean, sure enough, generated a huge cornstalk that was soon as thick as an old loblolly pine, its top lost in the clouds.
Around nine thirty Josh dragged himself out of bed and headed for the outhouse. Halfway there he noticed the cornstalk. Staring up at it, he thought I gotta check this out…as soon as I take care of sumpin'…
A few minutes later Josh started climbing up the massive stalk. After an hour of climbing he reached the cloud layer, and another thirty minutes brought him into sunlight.
Around him towered an urban landscape of high rise buildings, and Josh recognized it as Chicago, home of his favorite band, Too White Crew. The cornstalk was right next to a building that was ringed with balconies on every floor, and Josh managed to climb over to one of them. Tiptoeing to the glass doors, he felt a rhythmic vibration that rattled everything on the patio. Peering through the door he beheld an oversized La-Z-Boy recliner, in which reposed a ruddy faced giant. The giant was clearly asleep, and his snoring was the cause of the vibration. Josh began to back away, but then caught sight of a box next to the giant's chair, with Makers Mark 46 printed on it.
That's bourbon Josh realized. If I can git that down to Ma, maybe she won't be so pissed.
Josh tried the door and discovered it was unlocked. Once inside, the effect of the giant's snoring was considerably greater, with every thunderous inhalation shaking the entire room. Josh managed to stay on his feet, but did have to twice pull up his shorts from around his ankles.
He finally reached the case of bourbon. Taped to it was a note.
Josh picked up the case, and made his way back to the patio, one arm around the bourbon and the hand of the other holding onto his shorts. With great effort he managed to get back to the cornstalk and begin his descent.Chuck –
Thanks for talking this stuff up for us. You the Man!
Back inside the giant woke up, looked around and saw that the case of bourbon was gone. "FEE! FIE! FO! FUM! WHOEVER TOOK THAT MAKERS IS REALLY DUMB!" He paused, shrugged, and added, "Well, at least I don't have to drink it," and immediately went back to sleep.
Meanwhile, Josh was having trouble getting down the cornstalk. His shorts started to drop again and he grabbed for them before he realized that he had one too few hands to hold onto the stalk, the bourbon and his shorts at the same time. The case of Makers started to fall so he made a grab for it, letting go of the cornstalk, with the result that he followed the bourbon on its rapid descent.
It wasn't a pleasant trip for Josh, as he acquired a number of cobs on the way down. I won't say how, or where.
Several seconds later the case of Makers crashed through the roof of the barn and landed on Ma's still, smashing it to bits. Josh came through a couple of seconds after that, landing in the same spot, the result being a messy pile of copper, glass, corn cobs and chunks-o-Josh, surrounded by a large puddle of Bourbon and blood.
Ma came running into the barn, and the sight caused her to fall to her knees, overwhelmed with grief. "That still's bin in mah faml'y fer five generations!" she wailed. "There ain't no fixin it, neither!"
After a bit she collected herself, went into the house, got the last jug of corn likker, headed down to the creek and sat down, leaning up against a tree. She spent the rest of the day hitting off the jug and idly watching four bikini-clad girls cavorting in the creek. Around dusk she passed out, and expired from hypothermia around midnight.
Back in his apartment, the giant again awoke, poured himself a generous glass of Van Winkle Lot B, retired to the patio to watch the sunset,
and lived happily ever after.
If you enjoyed this story, watch this space for more upcoming tales, including:
Goldilocks and the Three Beers
"Oh my God! This 'End of History' is too strong…although the bottle is sooo cute…"
Snow White and the Seven Master Distillers
Parky, Kevie, Freddy, Chrissy, Jimmy, the other Jimmy, and Julian
Co-starring her evil stepbrothers, Jack and George
Hansell and Cowdery
On the way to a whiskey tasting, the two bloggers take a wrong turn, get lost in the woods, and end up in the clutches of a witch named Amy
Lord of The Cocktail Shakers
The halfwit Frito Bagboy must throw the Shaker of Power into the big still at KBD in order to thwart the Dark Lord Smirnoff's plans for world domination