DO BEANS HAVE WINGS?
I was eating breakfast one morning, a bizarre mix of beans and baked potato goulash with no assortment, just the way it had to be. I’d woken up hungry and did my morning routine of deadlifting barbells for thirty minutes, then a series of watercolor painting exercises. I lived with my brother, Kanu, as you may have guessed from how untidy my room was.
My brother was out at work; it was morning and I got settled to eat.
Now don’t you ever call eating a human necessity, or an activity that we sometimes engage in so we don’t, you know, die. That’s sacrilegious. Eating is an artform and the perpetrators are in every right as much an artist as Picasso. And if you don’t see it that way then you’re not eating right, and that’s why people have diabetes and ulcers and end up having the food pumped out their anus. But I’ll tell you now as an artist, the proper way to eat.
You don’t have to eat a 12 course meal at the Ritz, made by celebrity chefs, to become an artist. Even eating a two day old potato and beans goulash could be made an art. Here’s how it goes. You sit on a feather cushioned dining chair or on a bean bag or the edge of your bed, whatever. Just make sure the surface isn’t hard. Next you make sure you sit first with your right butt cheek. Now this is important. Because your left butt cheek is aligned with your heart, and you see, that will only get in the way of things because you want to eat your goulash the way a journalist interviews people. Objectively.
Next, you wash your hands (though that’s not really important. Some people, after all, are fated to die of dysentery). Then you say your prayers, and now the spoons.
Holding a spoon is an artform in itself. Any painter will tell you that holding a brush is the first step to making a timeless frescoe. You hold it with your first finger extended outward. This is a subtle subversion of the will of the goulash. You point your first finger as if to say, “Okay baked potatoes and Beans goulash, I am your master and you are my slave. Your sole existence is to satisfy and maintain the equilibrium of my stomach density, and to do this in the most satisfying way possible.”
Now you eat.
It is a rule, written several BC’s and AD’s ago, that a professor of the eating art must spend at most 15 seconds per mouthful. The best way to learn this is to watch the goats. Each of them, perfect purveyors of this artform, will ruminate on their food, chewing and rechewing in gentility and respect for the leaves, tasting with their tongue the chlorophyll that was given by the sun, who in itself is made shiny by the ghost of dead goats licking constantly at its surface.
Now on that day I took the spoonful of beans goulash to my open mouth. I chewed gently to check it’s firmness, all the while checking the Second hand on my wrist watch to ensure I didn’t surpass the 15 second time frame. I shuddered when the food yielded to my teeth, and began the finishing touches of licking each individual grain of beans. Then my tongue rolled around the fly. Something was wrong. I brought it out slobbering with saliva and inspected this defect. Yes, it was definitely a fly. What more, it’s wings tried to beat. They fluttered and stopped. Fluttered and stopped. Oh yes, it was very much alive. The color left my face, the poistness left my fingers and I flung my spoon with the fly as if it were suddenly filled with human feces. Only this was worse. A fly eats feces. Lots of it from all sources: goats, cows, cheerleaders, politicians, chickens, and babies. The last part made me gag. Babies are criminals, murderers. They disobey the art, murder its spirits and criminalize the rules of eating. And so their watery poop is the food’s form of protest. But do you know what’s worse? The flies! By God, the flies eat the shit.
And now, I have.
I rushed to the sink and upturned my face to the tap so that the water dribbled down my throat. But I was marred. The fly in my perfect art meant that I was now a criminal.
“Kanu!”I howled. “Let me out of here!”
I rushed up to the wall and banged my fist against the metal bars. I heard footsteps, and the skinny face of my brother appeared. It was covered in cuts and bruises and partly open bandages. He didn’t seem pleased to see me.
“Jeffrey,”he said in disinterest, while pinching his bandaged nose. “How many times do I have to tell you not to wash your face in the water closet. That’s wrong, isn’t it Jeffery?”
“But brother–“I began.
“First thing first, I’ve told you countless times, I’m not your brother. You don’t stab your brother in the shoulder with the point end of a chair. I’m your warden. Also, if you keep flushing your face in the toilet I’ll have to tell my supervisors, and you know they’ll move you to the padded room. We both don’t want that, do we, Jeffery?”
“But, the fly,”I said, my eyes found its slimy mass, its wings still trying to beat.
My brother sighed. “Okay Jeffery, I’ll tell the cook to be more careful. Alright?”
“More careful,”I bellowed and gripped the iron bars. “He best not make me eat another fly. A fart is coming. It comes, I swear it. It comes for me, just as much as it comes for you.”
The man drummed his fingers on the other side of the window ledge. “Oh-kay. I’ll just…”
His face disappeared.
Oh the fly. Forgive me! Forgive me for I have committed a grave sin, and now I must never eat again. And in a frenzy, I clamped my jaws on a metal bar and bit it until all my teeth broke and they came and took me away.