national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2011
Fiction Prize Winner

My Old Beans

Matt Burns  • 
University of Georgia

It’s hot. Blazing. Arizona, dead middle of summer. I am sweating. I unzip my pants and fling them aside. They won’t be necessary today. I hear the train rocketing towards me. Lightning fast, thunder loud. Powerful and swift. I bend to the dusty ground and lie on my side. The train turns round a hill and comes at me, an ant crawling across the dry brown seabed. It grows and grows, bigger and louder. I cup my moist testicles and stretch them across the track. I feel the track vibrating in my vas deferens and a drop of sweat falls off my nose. The steam horn blares, unbearably loud. The track reverberates to a supersonic hum and my testicles bounce, two Mexican jumping beans in an extra-large sock. The wheel makes its slice in an instant and in the next the friction heat on the track seals it shut.

I suspect one day a few kids will go out there to the tracks to flatten some pennies and they’ll find my decrepit set of nuts sitting in their rotten bag, abandoned and dusty, maybe picked over by the crows. And I hope those kids pick up my old beans and toss them around, maybe play some monkey in the middle or use them as hacky sacks. And perhaps those boys will play in the desert until they tire and the sun goes down and they will light a fire and have a moonlit ceremony in which they drink animal blood and recite ancient chants and ingest my testicles to gain my wisdom. They will high-five the devil and know what it means to be alive.

That, sir, is where I see myself in ten years. I hope that is congruent with the Applebee’s vision, as I need this job.