A  Jack  Tale


Low angry green and yellow clouds rolled in from the southwest, perfectly matching the mood of the sixteen year old birthday boy. His parents had presented him with presents yesterday afternoon before driving away for a business trip and leaving the boy to fend for himself. Like all teenage boys at loose ends he soon arrived at the refrigerator. He opened the door, look around, found some refried beans, and scooped up a few on two curled fingers then walked to the back porch to watch the gathering storm while slowly chewing beans. Usually he would watch cloud formations and discern the images of comical dragons, dogs, and horses, but these low roiling green clouds contained only ominous images; snarling buzzards and fanged serpents. Then the lightening began, at first at a distance. He counted, one thousand one, one thousand two, and on to five..lightening only a mile away. Half a mile away and suddenly the hair on the boy's head stood straight up as the red oak tree in the yard exploded in a white blaze of lightening. He was suddenly on the floor and for a moment lost consciousness, then as he pulled himself up a large ball of lightening almost six feet across came bouncing across the yard towards him and stopped just short of the porch. It seemed to spin slowly, then it stopped and began to open at the middle revealing what appeared to be black and white calf sitting on a three legged stool. The calf was wearing heart shaped sunglasses, a sparkling blue dress, and red high heel boots. Its lips were painted dark red. The boy's fear quickly dissolved and he dropped his hands from his face; how could such a silly apparition be dangerous. The calf began speaking, although the red lips did not move.

"You must be Jack the Giant Killer."

"No, I am Jack but no giant killer."

"Well, Jack the Average then."

"And who are you?"

"Originally Ganymede of Troy and quite beautiful, then scary Rediculus Tutanus, but finally metamorphosized into a calf spirit..its a sad story. Let's skip that and get down to business.  You are a temporal being, so are at the mercy of Chronos. However there are beings that live, so to speak, outside the rule of Chronos. The beings with whom I associate are of that ilk and they have a plan that includes you in a bit part.

Here are your first set of instructions. In 1965, when you are 25 years old you are to take what ever money you have saved and buy a stock named Berkshire Hathaway. Then in 1970 you will buy a stock name Walmart.  You should continue buying both stocks when you can, but you are never to sell even one share of either stock. If you even consider selling you will begin turning green, not a pale green but glow in the dark frog green.  You must keep the ownership of the stock secret. Secret is best, for being human you are prone to irrational behavior; like marriage, begetting children, and buying large garish houses. Your lack of reason will tempt you to sell just one tiny share of Berkshire. Don't do it, green will ensue."

Jack took all of this in, then asked, "If I can't spend the money what do I get out of this."

"For one thing you will avoid changing color which is off putting to females of your species. The rest you will find out later. But to make sure you don't get run over by a truck or something equally untoward, wear this wedjat amulet."

The calf tossed a necklace at the foot of the boy and he picked it up. The amulet on the necklace was a golden ram's head with ivory horns.

Then like Alice's Cheshire Cat, the calf, stool, and ball began to slowly disappear.

"Also, to make sure you don't become a dolt as you age, get a good liberal education and continue to  read, cultivate your taste in music - move beyond the Beatles and don't forget the visual arts. Avoid becoming a football sports nut. As you age, consult knowledgeable friends about art, avoid psychology and sociology. You will soon forget all of this, but when you rub the amulet the memory will restore like a misplaced computer file."

The calf was gone, leaving not even a grin.

Jack put the necklace over his head, looked at the oak tree scattered over the yard, and wondered if he would have to help his father clean up the mess.

He decided against telling anyone about the event, knowing they would laugh and kid him. He returned to the kitchen and ate more beans and said out loud, "I wonder what are Beatles and computer files and who is Chronos?"