â€œI canâ€™t believe it! I simply CAN NOT BELIEVE IT!â€
Her voice alarmed some pigeons living in the thatch roof of their 2-room hut. Jack looked at his feet.
â€œYou traded a cowâ€¦A milk-giving cowâ€¦forâ€¦forâ€¦â€
â€œMagic beans, Mom! You really have to see them, theyâ€™re really cool looking! The guy said that all I would need to do was put them in the ground and voom! Magic!â€
â€œVOOM?â€ Jackâ€™s mother cried with disbelief. â€œYou GAVE our cow away because someone went â€˜Voom!â€™ at you?!?â€
â€œWell,â€ Jack began, a little hurt that his mother didnâ€™t seem to be very enthusiastic over his recent bean purchase, â€œthatâ€™s the thing Ma! You had to SEE him say Voom! He was likeâ€¦whoosh! Kapow! Zing! Lots of lights and stuff! Voom!â€
â€œVoomâ€¦â€ his mother said, seemingly in a trance. Tears started welling up in her eyes.
â€œYeah Ma, trust me! This will solve all our problems! The guy said soâ€¦really, itâ€™ll be ok!â€
Jackâ€™s mother allowed her shoulders to slump, and a defeated look crossed her features. She exhaled slowly, and paused for a moment before speaking.
â€œIâ€™m going to bed. You canâ€™t be hungry when you sleep. Canâ€™t be.â€ She stole one last sad look at her son, still standing there with a confused look on his face, before she finally left the room. She closed the curtains between rooms, and the muted sound of sobbing was heard soon after.
â€œSheâ€™ll see, Iâ€™ll plant these beans and thenâ€¦well, whatever. I donâ€™t know, but I DO know that this will end all of our problems! I just know it!â€ Jack said excitedly. He rushed out to the garden, planted all three beans, covered them lightly with topsoil, and applied water. Once that was done, he too returned to the house in order to sleep, confident that tomorrow would bring new adventure and end all of the strife he and his mother shared.
â€œMan, this is gonna be great!â€
He just knew it.
~ The Next Morning ~
Jack woke up with a yawn and a stretch, rolling his shoulders and neck a little to help lessen the pain of his stiff aching muscles. Sleeping with no pillow and a small scrap of blanket his entire life, Jack was used to pain as part of his morning routine.
Suddenly, Jack remembered about the beans!
â€œHoly cow,â€ he marveled, glancing at the sun shining through the threadbare window onto the floor, â€œI canâ€™t believe I slept in! Today of all days! The beanstalk has got to be completely grown by now, and reaching all the way up to the clouds! Just like that guy said! Now Iâ€™ll be able to go up into the clouds, outsmart a giant with a golden something-or-other, grab a bunch of food and stuff, leave, and all of our problems are over! Mom will be so happy!â€ Jack bounded outside towards the garden, face alight with hope.
He stood frozen in his tracks once he reached the edge of the garden.
There was nothing. Nothing had grown.
Not even a sprout. Jack could still see the fingerprint he had left the night when his hand had carefully patted down the soil over one of the beans.
Nothing. No beanstalk, no great pillar of nature to climb up, no adventure, no castle, no golden whatcha-ma-call-it. No giant.
Jack could only stand and stare at first. Then, as comprehension dawned, his face darkened with an expression of utter hatred.
â€œJack? Is that you? Are you up?â€ came his motherâ€™s voice from their hut. â€œListen, Jackâ€¦I want you to tell me where you saw that man you sold the cow to yesterday. I would like to perhaps talk to him, explain things a little.â€ She didnâ€™t sound too optimistic. â€œMaybe he would understand our situationâ€¦â€
Jack stared off towards the city, about five miles away with the sun at his back. His lip curled.
â€œYou know Ma, I was thinking the exact same thing. Let me go find him, I wanna explain things a little too.â€
â€œWould you? Iâ€™m afraid Iâ€™m a little tired, and Iâ€™m not sure how far Iâ€™d be able to go. I might not even make it to townâ€¦â€
â€œNot a problem Ma. Iâ€™ll see you in a few hours. Just chill, and stay off your feet.â€
Jack pulled his Beretta 9mm out of his waistband and checked the clip. Sliding it back into the gun handle with a â€˜snickâ€™, he held it up pointed it towards the horizon, looking down the sights with one eye closed shut.
It was time to teach someone a lessonâ€¦
â€œLetâ€™s see you â€˜Voomâ€™ with a bullet in your gut, Mister Wizardâ€¦â€ Jack Soprano said quietly.