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Nothing about this day had gone right, so far.
Starting with spilled milk at breakfast, late to school, trying to hurry around the neighbor's rabid dog while yanking his homework out of his mouth, (Yeah, the REAL Teacher from the REAL Black Lagoon would believe that one, wouldn't she?) ... all holey and slobbery, wrinkled and torn. After bonking Satan on the head with his backpack, the dog finally let go and Dane trailed into class just as they finished the Pledge of Allegiance. The rest of the morning went from bad to worse to worst.
When Dane hoped that lunchtime would temporarily improve his life and managed to conjure a seat next to Janie and her shiny, long brown hair, he spilled eight gallons of orange juice across the lunch table. But that wasn't as bad as Ricky throwing up all over Dane's school bag after their afternoon snacks. Dane's thought at that exact moment was that Ricky wouldn't live to see another day. As he waited for the Teacher from the REAL Black Lagoon to look the other direction so he could ram his pencil up Ricky's nose, she, of course, never did. So when school was dismissed, Dane hid Ricky's math book under the art projects and dropped an open container of glitter glue into his desk. Dane then prepared to get out of the crime scene fast, but not so fast that he didn't run headlong into the Principal from The REAL Black Lagoon.
"Whoa, boy, and where are you going in such a flurry of a hurry?" Mr. Bengfort's eyebrows shot up on his forehead which was all wrinkled into a pretend thinking position. Mr. Bengfort always rhymed all of his words. Flurry of a hurry? Ri-i-i-ight!
"Uh, home, uh, cuz I got homework to do, uh, I mean I, uh, have work, uh, chores to do, uh, at home, uh, AND my homework, too, uh, Sir."
"I see", said Mr. Bengfort, clearly not believing a word Dane said. "Well, well, well ..., let's ..."
Dane's knees began to tremble so much he was surprised they carried him out of the classroom at mach four speed and he never even looked behind him to see if Mr. B was chasing. Although, with a paunch like Mr. B's, probably no chase would be very successful. Anyway, what a close call!
Dane's own dear Mother could not believe he had gotten home so fast. She asked the obvious and embarrassing question, "My, but, you're home early ... is everything OK?"
"Are you sure?"
"Are you sure you're sure?" Now Dane was getting kind of annoyed and planned to kick the ever-livin' crap out of the wall in his bedroom when he got upstairs.
"Yeah!" With attitude.
"O.K., we're having vegetable soup and cornbread for supper, Sweet Boy, so go do your chores and wash up."
At least the cornbread part of supper sounded good—not the vegetables so much, but Dane did love cornbread best when dripping with butter and honey. Actually, Dane loved vegetables, but since no kid in the world was ever supposed to like the taste of vegetables, he didn't go around bragging that he did.
"M-m-m-m!" He fibbed to Mother about the vegetables, but wisely thought it would be in his best interest to go along with her since he was expecting a tattletale phone call from the school at any second for running away from the Principal. As he was preparing to slog up to his room and the waiting chores, Dane just noticed an over-looked black bean balancing at the edge of the stove where Mother was stirring the vegetable bean soup. Much to his amazement, it moved! What? Impossible! Really, really, impossible!
"Did you see that?" Dane practically yelled. Dane rubbed his fists in both eyes, blinking, and still trying to focus.
"Did I see what?"
"Did you see that bean move?" Dane exclaimed while checking around the kitchen to see if his big brother was playing a trick on him or perhaps the wind caused it.
Mother being her suspicious self retorted, "Oh, well, of course I did!" Her tone of voice told Dane that she did not believe it for one nano-second. Then the phone blared, and thinking it was probably the School calling, Dane quickly exited to the temporary safety of his room.
Mom recognized the caller immediately, answered, "Hi, Mother," and resumed stirring. By then Dane was halfway upstairs, calmed his jangled nerves, and returned to the black bean still sitting on the countertop by the stove. Grandmother and Mom were discussing an up-coming P.T.A. event while Dane continued peering closely at the black bean. He wondered if he was going crazy or dreaming ... but then again, it moved!
Dane interrupted Mom's conversation by saying, "See! There it goes again!"
She covered the phone and said, "Sh-h-h, Dane, please go do your chores and stop trifling with me!"
Why do Parents persist in believing you when you are lying and then, perversely, don't believe you when you are telling the truth?
Dane was completely confused by adult behavior at times as he turned his attention back to the black bean. Undoubtedly, there it was again moving right before his eyes! He began wildly gesticulating for his Mother to look; she quickly turned her shoulder in an attempt to ignore him. His parents did not tell their kids more than once to do what was asked so he understood that any attempt to argue would be futile.
Dane picked up the bean, went around the kitchen island to show Mom the bean in his palm. It did exactly nothing. She gave him a silent, disparaging look that told him to get to his chores immediately. As he disappointedly backed away from her he closed his fist around the bean and stuck it in his pocket. He thought dejectedly about tossing the dumb bean into the trash but instead ran up the stairs two at a time. Upon entering his room, he glanced toward his teddy bear who was busy hiding the hole already in the wall, emptied his pockets onto his desk, and went to feed the goldfish. As he was gazing into the aquarium and thinking how easy it would be to be a fish, a strange, high-pitched voice in a fake French accent said, "Merci!"
Dane blinked twice and looked around the room. What the? No one was near. He looked at his fish whom he named Sedrick. Sedrick's mouth was moving—only bubbles came out. Then the same voice, "You've had a pitiful day, haven't you, Dane Darlin'?"
Dane spun around just in time to notice a slight movement on his desk near the mysterious black bean. He moved closer to his desk. Did that voice come from the black bean? Just as he asked himself that question, the bean said in a fake Spanish accent, "Si, I move and I talk, too. Most people think I'm a Mexican jumping bean, but I assure you, I am not! Mexicans and a lot of other people eat the likes of me. You don't know how many times I've barely escaped a gastrointestinal demise!"
"Who are you?" By now, Dane's eyes were as wide open as saucers. The bean was shaking and a voice seemed to be coming from ...!
"I am the Nanny from the Black Legume!"
"Uh ..., the Black Lagoon? ... Like the Teacher? ... And Prinicpal? ...
A now-haughty voice said, "Definitely not! Black legume! You know, bean ..., legume ...?"
"Oh", was all Dane could muster. But he was not crazy! It talked! The bean actually talked! And moved! Then a surprising noise much like a fart occurred; Dane was too thunderstruck to laugh like usual when anybody farted, and an entirely disgusting smell filled the air. From out of the black bean popped a tiny, dignified, old-fashioned lady dressed all fancy-like. She was honestly wearing a hat with ribbons and feathers. All of her fuddy-duddy clothes were black and she was wearing little black high-heeled boots with little pointed toes.
After that sudden blamfart and the room filling with nostril-cleansing, permeating, over-whelming smells, Dane inhaled deeply—too deeply! It had to be ..., yes, it definitely was ... some kind of flower! The smell was just about to gag him ..., how could a flower odor permeate from a fart? Or a bean?
"So!" Haughty. Dane froze, then finally blinked.
"So, it's You!" Haughtier. Dane blinked several more times.
"So, it's You, Mr. Dane Frumbledumpling with whom I shall deal!" Haughtiest.
Dane was blinking even faster. Blinking and thinking. Then thinking ..." If I answer this little person from this little black bean, then I AM truly crazy!"
But before he could decide whether to speak or not, she said, "So what do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Dane?" Now her tone, no, (It's) tone was a little less haughty. There was no way he was going to call a miniature person a 'her'!
All Dane could do was continue to blink and stammer. "... uh, ..., I, uh...."
"Speak! For heaven's sake!" Sounding impatient.
Very hesitatingly, Dane asked, "How, uh, who, uh, are you and, uh, how do you, uh, know my name?" He immediately regretted it. He was talking to a black bean or, at least, a very small person who had just blamfarted out of a black bean, and this was definitely not normal. The thought crossed his mind that this bean could right now be boiling in his Mother's pan on the stove rather than him being here talking to it. And how many times was he going to tell himself that THIS WAS NOT NORMAL?
She merely said, "I've already introduced myself—have you forgotten so soon or do you always require people to repeat themselves? It's impolite, you know."
All Dane could think of was why she was so small, how she got in that bean, and what was she doing here bothering him. So he started to ask those questions ...
She said, "And don't ask me why I'm so small, how I got in this bean, or what I am doing here bothering you. Questions like that are boring, impolite, and completely unnecessary."
Therefore, Dane had nothing to say, ask, or comment upon. While she waited for Dane to speak, she seemed to be observing, distastefully of course, the dust and clutter on Dane's desk where he supposedly did his homework. She walked around his desk making little echoing coink sounds from her high heels. "Who does the cleaning around here? You? I suppose?" Dane nodded and wondered whether or not she would look under his bed.
"Well, I guess I can give you a clue why I'm here so you won't worry ... it's about that hole in the wall over there."
Oh, yeah ..., Dane had planned to come upstairs just now after his bad day and kick a hole in the wall, but there was already a hole in the wall he had kicked in from last week. At the moment, he couldn't remember the exact circumstances under which he'd done it last week—probably because of Brock's bullying or Cole's whining. Why were his brothers so annoying? Well, he'd show them! Then his eyes traveled over to where his Teddy was sitting in front of the hole and wondered how the Nanny knew there was a hole behind Teddy. But he wasn't going to be stupid and ask her how she knew—this 'person' who called herself a Nanny. Dane figured she wasn't even a real Nanny!
"Were you wondering how I knew about the hole you kicked in the wall? Well, goodnessgracioussakesalive, I saw the whole thing; you were sure mad and out of control on that day!"
By then, all Dane could do was scratch his head and try not to think—because as soon as he thought a thought, she seemed to read his mind and then ask him a question about the very thing he was trying to avoid. He began to carefully back out of his room to go join his family for supper.
"I ... I, uh, think, uh, my Mother's calling, uh, me, for supper ..." he trailed off.
"Go on down to supper with your lovely family and don't even think about telling them about me. If there's any chocolate for dessert, bring me up just one level teaspoonful. Oh, yeah, don't worry about that hole in the wall, either; we'll deal with it later."
Dane stumbled awkwardly out of his room convinced that when he got a breath of fresh air he'd be thinking clearly again. Lovely family? Who was she kidding ..., did she even know his exasperating brothers? Don't tell them about her! Chocolate? She didn't know didley-squat about him or his family. Just wait! He'd show her a thing or two! Of course, he'd tell his Mother and Father about her or 'it' or whatever it was that happened in there in his room! She said she was here about that hole in the wall ... we'd deal with it later ... what did that mean? What could a person, no, an IT the size of a giant cockroach do about the hole he had kicked in in his bedroom? Well, he sure wouldn't be worrying about anything of the kind! He marched downstairs confident that he had everything under control ..., and that he would do exactly opposite of what she said to do.
Supper was all ready; his older brother, Brock, was helping Mother set the dishes on the table. His little annoying brother was whining about a broken toy ... yeah, one that Dane had smashed because Cole had swiped the very last double-stuffed Oreo.
When everybody had sat down, Mother said the blessing, and mouths were busy slurping the vegetable bean soup, Dane calmly announced that right upstairs in his room this very instant was a little Nazi woman who had crawled out of a black bean to order him around and bully him and called herself the Nanny from the Black Legume.
Father frowned. Mother looked horrified. Brock laughed himself right off of his chair. And Cole said, "I hope she does bully you! Meanie!"
Dad said, "This lying has got to stop, Dane!"
Mom said, "Dane, please, whatever has gotten into you!" Only it wasn't a question.
Brock would not, could not stop laughing. Cole looked smug and satisfied.
Suddenly, Dane knew why 'The Nanny' had told him not to tell! Because she knew he would! And then he would certainly die of embarrassment! When he got upstairs, he was going to stomp on that bean and flush it down the toilet! No, pee on it first—then flush it!
Dane completely lost his appetite for warm, butter-dripping, honeyed cornbread. Supper dragged on. He was not allowed to be excused after supposedly lying about a miniature woman coming out of a black bean. If Dane happened to look up, Brock was always smirking at him even though he was told to curtail the teasing.
"Can I go do my homework, Mom?" Dane requested in a small voice.
"Yes, you may, Sweet Boy. I'll be up later to check if you need any help, OK?"
"OK." Dane dragged himself upstairs and slammed the door. He went straight to his desk to destroy the black bean. Not there. Big surprise! Apparently, the bean also had legs. This day had been weary and long and abnormal. Dane just went straight to bed and was asleep in less than a minute. Only a few hours later it seemed, he vaguely remembered Mother calling his name, "Dane, wake up, it's time to get ready for school!"
Dane sat straight up in bed, realized he was way past late and still dressed in yesterday's clothes. Wait! All of those creepy things that happened to him yesterday ... maybe it had all been a bad dream! Like Freaky Friday or something. Yeah, that's right! All a bad dream! He charged over to his Teddy bear and pulled it away from the wall. Written in perfect elementary children's printing were the words, "Dane did this."
How dare she! Dane's eyes bugged nearly an inch out of his eye sockets! If Dane had had a mirror right then, he imagined that his eyes would be purple, bugging out enough to pop, and spurting blood—he was totally mad! Dane stepped on Teddy's head, jerked on the body, and off came Teddy's poor, innocent head. He threw him in a heap against the wall and planned to burn him up when he got home that afternoon. Seething was the only adjective to describe Dane's mood. Dane determined to revisit the hole in the wall, erase those words and write, "Nanny did this" in place of the words about Dane.
Excerpted from The Nanny From the Black Legume by Linda Rhys Seger Copyright © 2011 by Linda Rhys Seger. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted January 2, 2013
Posted January 2, 2013