Authors: Beverly Lewis
Big Bad Beans
Copyright Â© 2000
Cover illustration by Paul Turnbaugh
Cover design by the Lookout Design, Inc.
Text illustrations by Janet Huntington
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Ebook edition created 2012
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Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
For my son Jonathan,
who agrees with Jason Birchall
about the “big bad beans.”
Jason Birchall pushed through his dresser drawer. He shoved his baseball cards and comic books aside.
His hand bumped the old cardboard box in the corner. His money box! It was a top-secret place where he kept his life savings.
“Jason!” his mother called. “Your after-school snack is ready.”
“Super yuck,” Jason muttered.
He was tired of his mother's healthy diet. He was even starting to have carrot and celery nightmares. Last night, three
giant carrots chased him to school!
Jason emptied his jeans pockets. He placed seven dollar bills in a row on his dresser. Then he counted again.
Doing yard work for Stacy Henry's mom was super cool. Only ten more dollars to go. Soon, Eric Hagel's mountain bike would belong to him.
Jason could hardly wait.
He folded the seven dollar bills. Then he stuffed them into his money box.
Hiding the box was a smart thing to do. He pushed it way back, into the corner of the drawer.
Suddenly, he spied a pack of bubble gum. His mouth began to water. He could almost taste the sweet, gooey gum.
How long had it been since he'd chewed bubble gum?
Weeks ago his mother had read a silly health-food book. “
Time for some big changes,”
Maybe the diet was OK for her and Dad, but Jason wanted sweets. He wadded up four pieces of bubble gum and smashed them into his mouth.
“Jason, dear,” Mother called again.
The bubble gum had to go. But Jason didn't want to swallow it. That would be real dumb. He would save the sugary wad for later.
Quickly, he stuck the gum on the wrapper. Andâ
âhe closed the drawer.
“I'm coming.” He hurried to his bedroom door.
Mother was standing in the hallway, holding a tray of sliced carrots and celery sticks.
“Double yuck,” Jason said. He stared at the orange and green vegetables. He wrinkled up his face at them.
“Aren't you hungry?” Mother said, inching the tray closer.
“Not for this stuff,” he said.
“Have you been snitching sweets?” Mother asked.
Jason shook his head no. He had stuck to the diet. Anyway, gum didn't count.
His mother smiled. “This snack will do you good.”
Jason shrugged. He took a handful of the orange and green health sticks.
When his mother left, he pulled the junk drawer open again. There he found his wad of bubble gum. He sniffed the strawberry flavor.
Jason looked at the carrots and celery sticks in his hand. “Better stay out of my dreams tonight,” he warned.
Then he took his first bite. He gobbled the raw vegetables downâto get it over with. He couldn't wait to get the horrible taste out of his mouth.
He reached for the wad of bubble gum and stuffed his face. Jason tiptoed to the
bedroom door and peeked out. All clear! Mother was nowhere in sight.
Fast as a super-spider, he tiptoed down the hall to the front door. Time to visit Eric Hagel next door. Time to check out the flashy mountain bike.
Soon it'll be mine!
Jason ran next door to Eric's house. He nearly stumbled over Stacy Henry. She was sitting near the driveway, staring at some black ants.
“Hey, Stacy,” he said. “What're you doing?”
“Nothing much.” She looked up. “What're
“I have to talk to Eric,” he told her.
“He's busy cleaning out the garage.” She pointed toward the house. “In there.”
Jason hurried up the driveway and leaned against the side of the garage door.
“Looks like you're working too hard,” he teased.
Eric stopped sweeping. “What's up?”
Jason wandered in and looked around. “How clean does your garage have to be?”
“Clean enough to earn my allowance,” Eric replied.
“Looks good to me,” Jason said.
Eric laughed. “Tell my mom that.”
Jason spotted the mountain bike. It was parked in the corner of the garage. “When are you getting your
bike?” he asked.
“Next week, if you come up with the money for my old one,” Eric explained.
Jason danced around. “I only need ten more bucks,” he said.
“That's a lot,” Eric said. “Where are you gonna get it?”
Jason shrugged. “Beats me, but I will!”
He turned and watched Stacy. She was letting ants crawl over her fingers on the
sunny cement. “Hey, Stacy,” he called. “Does your mom need any more help in her garden?”
“Don't think so,” Stacy replied.
“Maybe Abby Hunter can give you some ideas,” Eric said. “The president of the Cul-de-sac Kids oughta be able to think of something, right?”
Jason laughed. “Me, work with a girl?”
“You helped my mom,” Stacy spoke up.
“That's different,” Jason muttered. He eyed Eric's bike and moved toward it.
Just ten more bucks,
he thought. He touched the shiny frame. The golden flecks shone through the royal blue. It was easy to imagine himself speeding down Blossom Hill Lane. His old bike was trash. “I have to have this bike,” he whispered. “Have to!”
“It's yours when you cough up the money,” Eric reminded him.