Article: 178459 of talk.bizarre
From: (Peter M Hawkinson)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: I'm not looking for anything special
Date: Thu, 01 Dec 1994 03:27:55 -0400
Organization: Teleport - Portland's Public Access (503) 220-1016
Lines: 82
Message-ID: <>
Status: O

Daylight filters through greasy windows upstage. A man in dirty gray
coveralls is seated at a battered wooden desk. The man is busy counting
dried pinto beans taken from a plastic tub to one side of the desk. The
tub is nearly empty. Over the course of a minute, the man takes hands full
of beans from the tub, slowly counts them one by one onto a tray before
him, then empties the tray into a jar which he has taken from a desk
drawer and placed on the desktop. After each handful he makes a note on a
clipboard with a grease pencil. There are already several full jars on the

As he has just filled his next jar, another man, similarly dressed, enters
the room through a door at stage left, pushing a handtruck with an empty
crate on it. He takes the crate from his handtruck, places it on the desk,
and begins to load it with the filled jars. He is somewhat taken aback to
find that there are only eight full jars of beans. He eyes the other man
suspiciously. The man shrugs at him and indicates his now empty plastic
tub. The man puts the crate back on the handtruck and wheels it out of the
office, slamming the door behind him.

He returns a moment later. This time he has a burlap sack on his
handtruck. He grunts and groans as he hoists the sack onto the desk. He
takes a retractable utility knife from his pocket, extends the blade, and
slashes open the top seam of the sack. A few beans spill out. He
unceremoniously dumps beans into the plastic tub on the desktop until it
is heaped high. He ties a small length of cord around the sack containing
the rest of the beans, puts the sack of beans back on the handtruck, and
wheels it out of the room, slamming the door behind him. 

The man at the desk continues his routine of taking handsful of beans from
the tub, counting them one by one onto the tray, dumping them into the
jars, and keeping tally on the clipboard. Before a single jar is full he
stops. He sets his clipboard aside and folds his hands before him on the
desk. He stares out into space. Hilips face goes completely blank. His
eyelids begin to droop slightly. Presently his lips begin to move, as if
soundlessly reciting a narrative to himself. Nearing the end of his story,
he begins to giggle to himself. He is startled by the opening of the door.

The other man wheels his handtruck and now-empty crate into the room. A
few steps from the door he notices that there are only three jars of beans
on the desk. He scowls bitterly at the younger man. After placing the
three jars into his crate, he crosses in front of the desk, stamping black
boots as he goes, to the side with the tub of beans. He points one
accusing finger at the plastic tub and glares at the man behind the desk.
The man at the desk shrugs and pulls open the desk drawer. The other man
storms furiously from the room, kicking the handtruck before him. He slams
the door hard enough to rattle the windows. He returns a moment later,
this time with a different colored crate on the handtruck. He pushes the
truck up to the desk and starts to hand empty jars to the other man. The
man at the desk takes the jars and puts them into the desk drawer. When
the drawer is full, the other man takes his handtruck and leaves.

The man at the desk takes a jar out of the drawer and places it on the
desk. Pause. He picks up his grease pencil and stares at it for a full
beat, then uses it to draw a big black smile over his mouth. He goes back
to counting beans. After counting the first handfull, he stops and stares
into space for a moment. An idea dawns upon him. He looks from side to
side, checking to see if anyone is watching. He looks through a few pages
of the clipboard, nodding to himself. He grins. He begins to scoop beans
out of the tub and directly into the jars. When the jars are all full, he
takes the grease pencil and covers a page in the clipboard with little
marks. He lays the clipboard aside and leans way, way back in his chair
with his feet up on the desk, hands behind his head, relaxed and

The other man storms into the room with his handtruck and empty crate. He
is astonished to see the desk full of jars of beans waiting for him. He
looks to the other man for an explanation. The man at the desk nods to
him, pointing at the jars and then at the greasy smile drawn on his face.
The other man pauses and reflects, then nods back, smiling
enthusiastically. Elated, he loads the jars onto the crate, whistling a
cheery tune. There are sixteen full jars. He pats the other man on the
back, then suddenly reaches out and embraces him tenderly, holding him for
a moment too long. Then he wheels his handtruck out. At the door he
pauses, and turns to wave goodbye to the other man. The other man waver
back to him and grins. The other man exits. 

As the door closes, the other man relaxes, returning to a neutral
expression. Puse. As the lights fade, he doodles on the desktop with a
grease pencil.