Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Soybeans

Jebediah stood on the rails of his fence, in the shadow of the mouth.

It was a big mouth, its teeth poked out of the ground like stalagmites, their gums buried below the earth. The upper jaw soared into the sky. Jagged teeth, teeth taller than an acrobat balancing upon a man's shoulders, stretched towards the teeth below. At least an acre of soybeans sat within that maw. Near the back of the mouth there was a throat, into which a good amount of Jebediah's dirt and soybeans had already disappeared.

The Sun shone on the scales of the mouth. No eyes, no ears, no nostrils could be seen. The mouth was as Platonic a mouth as Jebediah had ever seen. It had no decorations and no distractions.

He spat a stream of tobacco juice.

Maurice walked up to the fence.

"That's a big mouth, Jeb," Maurice said.

"Sure is."

"Do you reckon it's going to move?"

"Naw. Seems to be stuck more'n anything. 'Sides, should be full enough of soybeans. Never seen a body eat an acre of soybeans. Poor fella probably has a belly ache."

Maurice grunted. The two men stood there longer.

"D'you suppose the same can be said of corn? I've got one in my fields as well. They ain't movin', neither, but a man's gotta worry."

Jebediah scratched his beard and spit again. "I'd seen a man down at the fair eat two bowls of creamed corn, the sort of bowls for mixing, not for eating. I saw him later in the day, laying in his tent, moaning with a bucket next to his cot. I reckon yours is overstuffed as well."

"I'd hate for him to eat any more. I might try a bit of dynamite."

"Mark my words, that'd be a mistake," Jebediah said. "These seem to be a mis-placed beast, probably lost its way, just lookin' for a little food. No reason to assault the beasts. They'll wander back to where they belong, soon enough."

"The banker, he says he won't loan me any more money until its gone. The bank says its a liability."

"A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, but if I were you I'd switch to a smarter banker," Jebediah said.

Maurice nodded. He left the fence.

Jebediah spat.


The eruption of the dynamite made Jebediah's fence shudder. He turned and walked across the road to Maurice's farm.

The mouth had been blown to pieces, leaving a large, smoking crater. The banker, clipboard in hand, stood next to Maurice and the dynamite plunger. Hunks of scaly, glistening flesh littered the corn field and much more than an acre of corn had been destroyed.

"Well done!" the banker said brightly. "We will be able to give you your loan after all!"

The ground rumbled.

A mouth, identical to the one that Maurice had just destroyed, erupted out of the ground and swallowed the plunger, more corn, the dynamite plunger, the banker, his clipboard, and Maurice.

Jebediah spat.

"I told him, when an animal wanders into your field, let 'em be until they wander right back out," he said to himself.

Jebediah's soybean output suffered that harvest, but he was able to retire soon after on the money that he made selling tickets to the mouth that could eat three mixing bowls of creamed corn.

The Moral: dynamite should be dropped from airplanes whenever possible.

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