Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A Miscarriage of Justice

"You idiot! That goat was worth way more than a few stupid beans!"


Jack nursed the side of this throbbing head, tears welling in his eyes. This mother, a brutish woman who resembled a barrel with twigs for arms, thundered off into the ramshackle kitchen of the cottage, grasping the bag of magic lentils in her pudgy fist.

"And don't think you'll be getting any dinner tonight, you fool," she screeched, clattering pots and pans, making an unholy racket. "In fact," she continued, squeezing through the tiny frame of the doorway, "you don't even deserve to be under my roof. Get out!" Brandishing a greasy spatula she chased her son out of the front door, slamming it behind him.

Jack watched through the cracked window pane as his awful mother wolfed down a massive plate of steaming chilli con carne, a helping big enough for three people. His beans were mixed into the mess, glistening in the oily beef. The boy's stomach growled, and it took all his strength not to eat the grass under his feet. Shivering, he wrapped his ragged jacket as close as it would go against his jagged frame, and shuffled off to spend the night in the goat's shed, still stinking of its previous tenant, but warmer and drier than being outside at night.


Jack awoke with a start. A strangled cry resounded from inside the cottage. Fearing the repremand he would face if he did not hurry to the scene, Jack jumped up and ran inside. He burst into his mother's room, greeted by a terrible sight. His mother was writhing in agony, her huge belly expanding much larger than its normal size. Sweat and tears streaming off her mottled flesh as she screamed,

"Jack! What... have... you... done to me?!"

Still her stomach distended, as Jack watched in horror, unable to act. With one final blood-curdling bellow, the skin of his mother's belly split, covering the room with guts, gore and fluid. Errupting out of it, plowing through the thatched roof of the cottage and into the sky, a plant grew, green and hearty, pulsing with life. Jack stood and gaped at the destruction, until he was taken away from the scene by police officers called to the incident by the concerned and nosy neighbours.

"Look, we know you fed her the beans. We've got a statement from the dealer who sold them to you, and he's getting ten years for distributing an illegal and deadly substance." The detective glowered at the pale-faced Jack, his stocky partner leaning back in her chair, appearing uninterested. "The forensic evidence alone is enough to send you to the chair. Confess, and it will be life in prison." Jack cleared his throat nervously, knowing what would come when he spoke.

"I didn't-"

The female detective suddenly surged forward, grabbing him by the throat.

"Go on. Say it." She ground the words out of her mouth, crushing them between her teeth.

"I, I, didn't do-"

She flung him to the floor, his head colliding with the solid bricks of the wall. Both the detectives left the room, the man sneering as he went,

"We'll see what the jury thinks."

The old judge, a wasted skeletal figure, turned to the spokesman of the jury.

"Have you come to a vedict?" He croaked.

"We have," repiled the spokesman. "Against the charge of 'beanacide' (not to be confused with Ribenacide, the criminal act of murdering an individual through the use of fruit squash) we find the defendant... guilty." Jack hardly reacted, evidence some would say, of his guilt. He stepped down from the defendant's box, flanked by court security staff, and out of the room, followed by the flash of cameras and the gabble of reporters.

A strange thing happened not long after Jack's execution. It seemed that the enormous plant which had grown up out of the cottage, had disturbed a giant living high in the clouds above. Furious and raging at the insolence of the men below, the giant climbed down the plant and flattened the town, crushing men and women and animals, leaving none alive. He climbed back up to his cloud and uprooted the plant, casting it down upon the wreckage. Let this tale be a lesson to us all; only use beans for their intended purpose. Who knows what might happen otherwise?

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