“So what is it that I absolutely had to see Ed?”
“You know what… never mind.”
“Never mind? I came all the way down here, I wanna see something, what is it?”
“You’ll think it’s crazy.” Ed said, reaching under the table.
– – –
“Is that it?”
On the table sat a large Mason jar nearly filled with assorted jelly beans.
“Yes that’s it.”
“You called me from my home at 12:30 in the morning, asked me to drive over here and see this… this jar of jelly beans?”
“Let me explain.”
Ed left the room, returning with two glasses and a bottle of Scotch.
– – –
“This jar was given to me a very long time ago.”
“This jar of jelly beans?”
“Yes. And it was entrusted to me to distribute the jelly beans, as I saw fit.”
“Can I have a jelly bean Ed?”
“No Scott, no you may not have a jelly bean. These are only for those that need them most.”
“Does anyone really NEED a jelly bean?”
“They need these jelly beans.”
Ed poured the Scotch into the glasses, two fingers each.
“This is going to sound crazy.”
– – –
“When this jar of jelly beans is empty, the world will end.”
“OK Ed, how much of this Scotch have you had before I got here.”
“I know, it’s crazy, but it’s true.”
“Yeah, true that the fate of the world rest on this here jar of candy in your basement.”
“The jelly beans can do incredible things Scott, each one has an amazing amount of power. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen these candies accomplish.”
“You’re crazy Ed. I’m going back home and back to bed.”
“I understand. It’s just… I thought you were ready.”
– – –
“Ready for what?”
“I’ve been around for a long time Scott. A very long time.”
“What are you talking about, Ed you’re freaking me out… are you OK.”
“I’m always OK, I’ve been OK for the last 436 years. It’s the beans Scott.”
“Did you take something man, you’re not usually the druggy type, but Ed I think we need to get you to the hospital.”
– – –
He pulled the jar close to him, lifted one of the jelly beans and rolled it in his fingers.
“It’s just such a heavy burden.”
“Ed what are you going on about.”
“I thought that I was ready when I took the jar, I guess I was. I mean, I’ve done this for a long time and I think I’ve done a pretty good job. I’ve had a good run. But I can’t do this forever.”
“Do what Ed?”
“I distribute the beans.”
– – –
The jar looked like any other Mason jar, maybe a little bigger. It was filled, to about 3/4 from the top with what appeared to be normal, multicolored jelly beans.
“So tell me again Ed, what do they do?”
“They do what needs to be done, for those that need it most. But when they’re gone… when they’re gone Scott, so is everything else. So is the world.”
“But how can that be? The world’s been around a long time Ed, jelly beans are fairly new… in the cosmic scale.”
“They weren’t jelly beans when I got them.”
– – –
“You’re telling me that this jar of jelly beans was a jar of…”
“… a vase of silver coins.”
“So when did it become a jar of jelly beans Ed? This is insanity.”
“I don’t really remember when it changed, just know that it did. It was a long time ago.”
“How can you believe any of this? Who told you this nonsense?”
“The last guy told me.”
– – –
Scott took the drink, drank it, and refilled the glass.
“OK so suppose I believed this, suppose this jar does distribute magic jelly beans and when it’s empty the world really would end… then what? Why are you showing me this?
“I want you to take the jar Scott.”
“Cause I can’t do it anymore, it’s just getting to hard to decide. The jars almost empty and there are still so many people in need. I can’t be the one Scott, I can’t be the one that empties it and… and ends everything.”
– – –
“It’s only like 3/4’s of the way down man. Ed, relax. Supposing this is real…”
“… it’s real. The jelly beans have worked often enough. It’s not coincidence, it’s not happenstance. It’s real Scott.”
“Supposing it is… you’ve still got 3/4 of a jar.”
“It was full when I got it Scott, or at least near full. Most of what’s gone is me. I’ve done more to bring about the end of the world then any other man in history.”
“But you’ve done more good as well.”
– – –
This made him think. He leaned back in his chair, growing silent and still. This was the most still Ed had been since Scott’s arrival, perhaps in all the time he’d known him.
“How do you figure?”
“Well Ed. If the jar was almost full when you got it and if it’s been around from the beginning of the world, and if you only use the jelly beans when they’re most needed for the most good. Then you’ve done the most good of any of the men before you.”
“I’d never thought about it that way.”
“Well shoot man, start now. You’re a hero Ed.”
– – –
Scott said his goodbyes, but he was still worried. Very worried and as Ed walked him to the front door Scott asked one more question.
“Ed are you going to be all right?”
“Scott I’ll be fine. This talk has helped a great deal. Thank you friend.”
“Your welcome. Any time, actually let me rephrase, any time during regular daylight hours.”
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”
“No. Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you at work man. Bright and early Monday morning, right?”
“Yes. Monday morning.”
– – –
As I turned to leave…
“One last thing Scott.”
“If I need you to or if anything were to happen to me…. would you take the jar?”
“Sure Ed. Sure, I’ll look after the jelly beans. But nothing’s going to happen to you right? I mean, you’re gonna be OK aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I think so. It was very nice talking to you Scott, you’re a good person.”
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This is great! I like the illustration, but I think that it needs color!