Linda Imbler ~ The Jelly Bean Man

The tall, craggy faced man, with the kind heart and the easy smile, had been told by his parents, from the earliest age that he could remember, that jelly beans were lucky; and if he wished any endeavors of his to succeed, he should eat a jelly bean first. So as he grew, the Jelly Bean Man became a voracious eater of the confections. Not for gain of fame or fortune, nor at the expense of the comfort, safety, and well being of his fellow man. Just simply as a means to help him with seemingly insurmountable personal problems.

This streak of voraciousness extended later to books. He became an avid reader. This, in turn, helped him become an extremely learned man. He used his knowledge to learn the law. Another extension of his large and sharing heart to help his fellow man.

Later, he married and had two fine sons whom he adored. At about the age of four, the younger son became seriously ill. The Jelly Bean Man and his wife devoted huge amounts of time to tending to their son at his sickbed. In addition to his ministering and pacing the floor endlessly, the Jelly Bean Man devoured large numbers of jelly beans in order that a cure might be found. This worked and his son recovered nicely. So nicely in fact that the child was up and out of bed well before his father’s stomach ache had subsided!

The Jelly Bean Man was quite articulate. Years of reading and defending people in court had given him an eloquence few others possessed. One particular year, he was asked to address an extremely large crowd. He found it one of the hardest things he ever had to do, as he was a rather shy man, but he loved people and knew the speech was in his view, monumentally important. This sort of public speaking was something that made his knees shake, but the jelly beans helped and the speech was a rousing success.

Still later in the Jelly Bean Man’s lifetime, there was a war, a terrible, long war that some thought would never end. As this war played out, jelly bean production slowed to a crawl and then fell off. When the war was over, production was very slow to resume. The Jelly Bean Man knew that he would have to show restraint in the future with the number of jelly beans he ate, at least for the time being. He began to chomp sparingly, but never ceased.

Then one night, down to his last few, he sighed and agreed to go out with his wife for the evening rather than munching a jelly bean as a means of escape from the social engagement. This performance meant so much to her that he could not refuse. And he really felt he needed to con-serve the last of the candy.

However, about an hour into the performance, he desperately capitulated to this huge mental tug that kept telling him that chewing on some jelly beans might bring him enough luck to at least shorten the length of the stage production he was suffering through. The itch in his brain was just too much to resist.

Reaching into his pocket, he realized he was down to his last two. Not normally prone to impulsivity, but nevertheless feeling constricted in this circumstance, he shrugged and decided to eat them anyway. He managed the first one just fine, but struggled to get the final jelly bean out of his pocket; as his ring had become caught on a slip of fabric along the inside. He finally, thankfully, got it out, but then fumbled it and it dropped to the floor. And as Abraham Lincoln bent to quickly retrieve that lone jelly bean, John Wilkes Booth fired his one and only shot from his 44 caliber Derringer. The shot went wide.

 

Linda Imbler is the author of the poetry collection “Big Questions, Little Sleep.” She has also been published in DM, Blue Pepper, Buck Off Magazine, Fine Flu Journal, Bunbury Magazine, Blognostics, Nailpolish Stories, Broad River Review Literary Magazine, Mad Swirl, Ascent Aspirations: Friday’s Poems, and Unbroken Journal. Her newest poem, “This Is a Good Thing” is forthcoming for The Voices Project. Linda’s short sto-ries have appeared in Fear of Monkeys and Danse Macabre. This writer, yoga practitioner, and classical guitar player resides in Wichita, Kansas.

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