Monday, July 28, 1997

Cameroon Kid and His Calico Cat

"MR. MAX we got beans!" the little fella said excitedly as he entered the side door of the house. The cat greeted him with wide eyes, expectant because of the tone of the little fella's voice, of something wonderful to soon happen. He looked up at the little fella who was carefully cradling a bundle of beans in his arms that he had just picked out of the garden. Mr. Max sniffed at the beans out of curiosity, looked up, turned around and left the room.

He resumed lying down on the hardwood floors of the hallway in the stifling, steamy, sweltering heat of the stale air. The little fella quickly wandered from room to room, opening up windows to get some air circulating in the overly warm house. "It's not so much the heat it's the humidity!" the little fella said. "And it's not so much the humidity it's the seven feet of rain! It may be time we find those partners for the ark!" Mr. Max was at best ignoring his roommate, more likely he was in deliberate denial of his existence. "But we got beans buddy! Plenty of beans!"

The little fella rubbed Mr. Max's ample belly. The heat exchanged between the two only made things feel worse but the cat's purr encouraged further belly rubbing. The little fella quickly changed from his dress clothes to a T-shirt and a pair of soccer shorts. "When I was a kid Mr. Max," he began, "I used to grow a bean plant indoors at the beginning of spring. I used to nurture it, watering it just right, making sure it had plenty of sunlight." Mr. Max curled up as the belly rub continued.

"Well since I never planted it outside I would only get a couple of beans but my momma made sure to cook them up real special and serve them to me as my own little treat," the little fella continued. "Best meal I ever had." It was an elegant time through eyes he could no longer see. He wandered into the kitchen as Mr. Max, now at full attention followed along. The little fella opened the cabinet and pulled out a metal pot. He went to the sink and cleaned the beans. He carefully placed the beans in the pot, breaking the ones that were too long to fit in half. Mr. Max carefully watched each and every one of the steps.

The little fella brought the pot full of beans over to the stove. He placed it on the front burner and turned the heat up to high. "These are going to be the best beans ever Mr. Max," the little fella said as the water showed its first signs of boiling. Somehow the cat's eyes seemed to indicate that he believed, that he trusted the truth of the statement entirely.

The water began to bubble. The heat of the steam caused the already warm kitchen to feel even more uncomfortable. The little fella went to the refrigerator and pulled out some ice water. He took a swig and looked down at Mr. Max. Further words need not be spoken, they both knew what was ahead. The anticipation was as binding as all the moments already shared.

The beans were finished cooking. The little fella quickly drained the water into the sink and pulled out a bowl to hold the steamed vegetables. He brought the bowl over to the table as Mr. Max followed along. "We got BEANS! WE GOTS LOTSA BEANS!" the little fella said as he searched carefully and pulled out the perfect two for the cat. "Here you go Mr. Max. ENJOY!"

Mr. Max could no longer hide his own excitement. He meowed as the little fella placed the two beans into his dinner bowl. He sniffed at the root of all the hubbub and licked one of the two green beans. Soon he was munching away enjoying the taste of the fresh vegetables. For a moment the discomfort from the unforgiving heat was forgotten. Together they had beans and for the moment that was all they needed.

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