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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: Jumping Frijoles
By Myrna Noyes


“Ay! Ay! Ay! Jumping Frijoles! I did not mean to frighten you, Amigo! Por favor, let me introduce myself. I am a Mexican Jumping Bean, known in local circles as “brincador” or “hopper.” You may call me “Hoppy,” since I’ve heard that some loco-looking British guy has already taken the name “Mr. Bean”! (I’m a “leetle” concerned that the name “Hoppy” has been overused by those raising rabbits, so if you have me as a pet, don’t get confused and try to feed me lettuce or carrots!)

God must have been in a marvelously clever, creative mood when He designed me, and I’m proud to be such a unique, quirky fellow. Remember however, I’m not really a bean, but a larva inside a pod, so DO NOT try to snack on me! Comprende? I’ve heard young chicos taunt each other by saying, “Go eat worms,” but I find that quite distasteful (pun intended!).

Mi familia and I are “born” only on one particular type of bush that grows wild in certain desert parts of my native Mexico. Our barrios are very special to us, you see! Me, I come from Alamos, Mexico, the “Jumping Bean Capital of the World.” One fine spring day my gray-gowned “moth mama” laid me on a tender young flower capsule, into which I happily gnawed my way.

My own private casa matures into a tan-to-brown pod, and I feed on the delicious seed inside. Once I’ve completely devoured it, I spin a silken “curtain” on the inside walls of my hollowed-out habitation. To move myself, I grab this webby covering with my forelegs and push away, snapping my lower body, and smacking the opposite wall with my head. Oh, my aching cabeza! Pass me some aspirin, por favor! You have to be a pretty tough hombre to be me!

Now, I don’t actually jump into the air, but kind of jerk up and down or tumble about. (Okay, so I’m not the most graceful dancer on the floor! And, no, I do not request the “Mexican Hat Dance” at fiestas!) I move to get away from heat, because even though I’m from the desert, I don’t like it hot!

If I do say so myself, I make the perfect pet! I’m tiny (compared to the average household pet), so I’m just right for small apartments, baby-sized bedrooms, and such. I don’t need litter boxes, vet visits, expensive food (or food of any kind for that matter!), a bed, cages, scratching posts, running wheels, or any extra equipment. Since I’m quite a “cool dude,” you just have to keep me out of hot spots. I’m comfortable in a drawer, closet, or even the butter compartment of your fridge. (Just don’t stick me in the freezer, or I’ll never jump again!) I enjoy a weekly “bath,” but don’t scrub on me or use soap! I like to leisurely soak for an hour or so to keep moist, and you may even get to see me “swim” a bit! Don’t take me to your local pool, though, as I am “allergic” to chlorine! I have no desire to die young, so use agua pura for me. When I’m through, I like to lie around on a towel and air dry. Light and sound “energize” me, so when you take me out of the fridge (or wherever) to play, you can “wake me up” by talking to me (in English or Spanish!) or by placing me under a lamp until I start twitching. Also, I get fidgety when I’m too warm, so you can hold me in your hand or put me in a pocket next to your skin to get me hopping.

I’ll be a faithful playmate for several months, but then I go through the “change of life” and am no longer my usual lively self. I’m now a pupa (the moth version of a teenager), and after about six months I become an adulto. If you’re lucky, you’ll see me emerge from my pod and take flight. You don’t have to worry about me chewing on your favorite sweater or planta like some of my more uncivilized distant cousins do, as I’ve gotten my fill eating the seed inside my pod. I won’t even lay eggs unless I’m in my natural habitat in Mexico.

You see, I am safe, clean, inexpensive, and intriguing! I don’t need immigration papers or a “green card,” so I hope you jump at the chance to give me a home! Adios!

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This article has been read 673 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick04/09/09
So clever! This could be in a children's text book. Well done. It so reminds me of a piece I wrote a couple of years ago, A Tale By Serenada The Cicada. These are too fun to write aren't they? Nice job!
Betty Castleberry04/09/09
Very cute, and I learned some things, too.
Connie Dixon04/09/09
What a creative approch to the topic. I loved your mc's style and humor. Good job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/12/09
This delightful piece is informative, as well as entertaining.
Beth LaBuff 04/14/09
Your title is fabulous! Love the voice of this as well as the Spanish!
Loren T. Lowery04/15/09
This simply begs to be illustrated in a children's book. The voice of the MC is so authentic and the way the story unfolds you aren't even aware your getting not only a language lesson, but one in culture and science as well. Great job and thanks for introducing me to this charming character!