Friday, April 18, 2008

jack and the magic bean bus

chapter 28 -- a storm passes; a storm brews
Despite the early winter storm, the power outage, and the intense discussion with Mr. Karras about the Ragbrai conspiracy, Jack slept soundly that night. He awoke to find the dark clouds and the blowing snow of the blizzard long gone, leaving behind a bright blue sky and the morning sun shining through the fir trees outside his window.
A strange sight greeted Jack as he made his way down to the kitchen. There, on a mat in front of the sliding glass doors that looked out over the valley below the house, sat Mr. Karras in a pretzel-like position.
“Pull up a mat, kid,” said Mr. Karras cheerfully. “You are just in time for the Half Lord of the Fishes pose.”
Jack looked doubtful.
“Don’t be a stick-in-the-mud,” added Mr. Karras. “You’ve got enough stress in your life that some good old fashioned yoga would do you a lot of good. Now unroll that extra mat, and I’ll show you how to do the Cat-Cow Stretch. It’s an easy way to start.”
Jack dutifully unrolled the extra mat in front of the window next to Mr. Karras and got down on all fours beside him.
“Imitate what I do,” instructed Mr. Karras. “Now curl your toes under, drop your belly slowly and look up toward the ceiling. The movement should start at the base of the spine and end with your neck. Good, that is the cow pose.”
Mr. Karras continued, “Now release your toes and relax your feet, round your back and drop your head until you can see your belly button. Okay, this is the cat pose. Very good, kid. Now repeat while you inhale and exhale through each pose.”
Jack followed Mr. Karras through different poses and stretches until Mrs. Karras began to put breakfast on the table. Then, while Mr. Karras rolled up both mats and set them aside, Jack stood up with a half sigh-half yawn and felt better than he had in a long time.
Along with a plate of scrambled eggs and toast came a dubious looking drinking glass full of thick, dark red juice. “Drink up, kid,” said Mr. Karras, finishing his own glass and smacking his lips. “That glass contains three servings of vegetables run through a juicer. It has all the vitamins you’ll need in a day. It’s good for you.”
Jack took a careful taste. He thought he could sort out the flavors of tomato, carrot, and maybe even cucumber. The vegetable drink didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t exactly taste good either, so Jack gulped it down as quickly as possible and then moved on to the rest of the meal.
“I don’t suppose we’ll be able to get the newspaper today with all this snow,” said Mr. Karras after breakfast. “The towns down below will be cleared and plowed right away, but it might be a few days until they reach us up here in the mountains.”
Mrs. Karras replied, “It can wait a day, can’t it?”
“Not when I’m so close to breaking this story wide open!” exclaimed Mr. Karras. “And we don’t know what kind of danger Jack is really in. It’s very frustrating to know that my copy of the newspaper is sitting down there in town, just a few miles away.”
“I’ll go get the newspaper,” volunteered Jack. He was just as anxious as Mr. Karras to get to the bottom of the scandal.
“Excellent!” beamed Mr. Karras. “You can use my snow shoes. It should only take you a few hours to get there and back.”
“Where is ‘there’?” asked Jack. “Is the newspaper waiting at the post office or something?”
“Actually,” said Mr. Karras, “you’ll find my copy of the Des Moines Register newspaper waiting at the Mr. Kar Wash car wash.”

to be continued... [a serial by little orphan dbax]

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