It had been a long time since Jack was the victor in one of his never-ending battles with the Giant. But, while beaten, the Giant had not been resting; he had been plotting his return and a decisive victory over Jack.
Actually, through modern technology, the Giant has been cloned which made him more formidable this time. There were now three Giants: One of them is called San Monto. A second one is known as Agra Con, and the third one is known as Gill Car. The three of them are not to be taken lightly and are forces to be reckoned with. There are other giants lurking out there as well, but nothing compared to the power and influence of the “Big Three.”
After his first defeat of the Giant, Jack never thought he would let his guard down, but he had become over confident and had taken to eating foods containing generous amounts of high fructose corn syrup. It seemed to have affected his brain to some degree, on some days more than others. He was getting a little soft and even lazy after getting so much publicity for having defeated the Giant. (It may have gone a little bit to his head.) Eternal vigilance had not registered in his thinking yet.
So one day, after a hefty meal of french fries, corn chips, and a soft drink loaded with sugar, he decided to go down to the trading post and see if he could trade a bushel sack of his beans for some really sweet foods. He knew that these types of foods were increasing in number almost every day, and he thought that it was time to polish up his sweet tooth a little.
His bean collection was vast and included those saved by his mother, his two grandmothers, his four great grandmothers, and many other kinfolks and community people going all the way back to the time when Native Americans had shared their bean seeds with the new arrivals to this country. Jack knew beans about beans, more so than almost anyone else.
As he prepared to depart for the trading post, he carefully put as many varieties of his beans in his sack as possible, each variety in a different sealed container within the sack. Lord knows, he must have had at least 500 varieties in that sack on his back. It was plenty heavy.
As he left the confines of his mother’s small farm and the dirt road he was walking on met the pavement, he suddenly saw up ahead of him in an open limousine, the Big Three. These Giants were even bigger than the one he had defeated so handily a few years back. They were riding in a specially built limousine with heavy duty tires in order to properly distribute their weight which was considerable.
Seeing Jack with the sack of beans on his back, San Monto called out to him: “Hey there, Jack! Looks like you got a heavy load on your back?” Agra Con then yelled, “Come on over and talk with us, son. Let us see what you have in that sack.” Chiming in, Gill Car said: "Let us give you a lift down to the Trading Post in our new limousine; we might even want do some trading with you ourselves. We are always in a mood to trade.”
But Jack was cautious. He knew that his first encounter with the Giant was a rough one even though he had out done him. Deep down Jack knew that Giants had a lot of tricks up their sleeves and were not to be trusted. Still he thought that if he could out fox one Giant one time, he might be able to do the same thing with three. So he hopped into the back seat of the limousine but held on carefully to his sack of beans.
Just after he jumped into the back seat he was taken aback by the chauffer of the limousine. He was a Supreme Court Justice who was moonlighting as the Giants’ chauffer in order to pick up a little tad of spending money. Jack had become aware that some members of the Supreme Court seemed to be getting a little political by letting giants spend a lot of money in political races, but it didn’t bother him much, so long as the Justice was a good driver and didn’t run off the road. And besides, the chauffeuring Justice was part of a story to be told at another time. His main concern was with the Giants.
San Monto, who seemed to be the most gigantic of the giants, was the first to speak to Jack as they drove down toward the trading post. He congratulated him on his good bean crops and asked if he might trade Jack some sweet foods for his stock of beans. “I’ll give you all the sweets you might ever want if you will trade me all the beans in your sack", he said.
Jack thought deep and clear about San Monto’s offer but decided that a belly full of sweets would not be a fair trade for all the beans in his sack. After all there were many varieties of beans in his sack which could be planted by a lot of people and keep them from going hungry and keep them healthy as well.
But then San Monto said: “When you grow these beans Jack you have to tend to them and keep the weeds out of them. I’ll trade you some beans that are resistant to chemicals. You can just spray them and the weeds won’t bother you none. You won’t have to hoe your beans and you can go fishing instead. You do like to fish, don’t you?”
The Giant’s offer was tempting to Jack, and he would really like to take a fishing trip out to Lake Santeetlah and catch some largemouth bass and maybe even a pike. He also wondered what San Monto had in mind to do with his beans. Thoughts of what might happen to his beans if he traded them to San Monto troubled him. Giants were known to do strange things.
Then San Monto explained just a little. “Why you know that it would be hard to keep up with all these beans, Jack, so I think it might be best if we got rid of all of them except three or four varieties. With our technology and our knowledge of genetics we could feed beans to all peoples of the earth with only two or three varieties. Why we could borrow a few genes from Brazil nuts or flounder fishes if we needed to in order to make better beans.”
Now Jack was all for everybody being able to eat, but the thousands of varieties existing on earth must have been here for a reason, he thought. Since beans were such a good food already, why would anyone need to borrow genes from other life forms?
San Monto was just getting started though. “Don’t you know, Jack, that we can make beans with no runners at all? They are now not at all like the bean stalks you remember when we had our first trouble with one another. All of our new bean varieties are designed to be short and hold their beans high so they can be harvested by machine. They are also tough as nails and you can sharpen your teeth when you eat them, if you can eat them at all. But best of all, you pick them before the seeds appear when they are smooth and straight. You can let them grow a little more and they can also be used as shoe leather. They also have many other uses such as sharpening them into toothpicks.”
What the Giant was saying didn’t appeal to Jack at all. He liked large plump seeds in his bean hulls, and he knew that the seeds were where the protein came from. It was protein that helped build strong bodies so that the Jacks of the world could defeat Giants in the first place. He also liked vining beans that got so tall he had to use a stepladder to pick them.
Gill Car and Agra Con studied Jack’s face as he wrestled with the idea of giving up his bean collection for the sweets promised by the Giants. They knew that the Giants of the world would have lots more money, power and influence if they could get rid of all of those tender protein-rich beans that Jack and his kin had always grown. Then the Big Three could become richer and more powerful than ever.
Gill Car spoke: “Jack just think of all the good that could come from a smaller number of varieties grown by a smaller number of larger farms throughout the world. That could lead to fewer farmers being necessary to work the soil, still larger machines to make harvesting more efficient, and fewer people needed to provide food for the peoples of the earth. That would free up still more people to leave the land and find jobs in cities. After all, most people are in need of becoming citified anyhow since humans, by instinct, are basically herd animals. If you want proof of that, just observe how we giants enjoy one another’s company.”
Then it was Agra Con’s turn: “Jack just think of all the benefits of transferring genes from one food plant to another to make all plants of a species the same size, to improve the yield of each plant, and to make each fruit and vegetable suitable to be shipped at least three thousand miles and have a minimum shelf life of 35 days. Then everyone could shop at mega markets and never have to worry about finding anything at farmers’ markets. People could also stop worrying about growing their own gardens and spend more time watching TV and eating more sweet foods.”
Seeing that Jack was having doubts about giving up his beans, San Monto changed his tactics and put on more pressure, making Jack feel like he was in a vise grip that was slowly being tightened. “Now look here, Boy” said San Monto. “We have developed soy beans where we can turn the genes on and off. They are called terminator genes and the beans won’t sprout and grow unless we tell them to.”
San Monto also had another trick or two up his sleeve and his words became even more ominous. “Jack, keep in mind that we are not only patenting life forms, but we may begin to patent natural resources also. Just think, we may patent water and you might have to pay us for water to drink and take a bath. We are already patenting the pollen in the air, and we might even patent the air you breathe itself. Then you would even have to pay us for breathing. And now, my boy, you get some idea of why we hired a judge as a chauffeur.”
Finally, sounding a little desperate since Jack still wasn’t responding to his implied threats, San Monto said plaintively: “For God’s sake Jack, don’t stand in the way of progress!”
This was scary talk to Jack, and he began to realize the value of the bean varieties he had in his sack—beans that he had earlier that morning thought of trading for some sweets produced by the giants. The mean genes already implanted in the beans of the giants were troubling enough but to trade his beans to giants who would destroy them was more than he could stand. He decided to just say no, but first he had to plot an escape strategy.
As Jack and the three Giants came within a mile or so of the trading post, Jack was getting desperate to find a place to jump out of the limousine with his sack of beans and escape before the giants stole them as they had been known to do with other seeds. He thought about the boat he kept stashed under a bridge where he rowed up and down the creek after a good rain, and since the creek was up due to the previous night’s rain, he thought it might be a good way to escape.
“How about stopping this limousine next to the bridge?” Jack asked. “I need to sit near running water to help me make a good decision about giving up my beans in a trade.” The Giants thought that would not be too high of a price to pay for getting his beans and instructed the chauffer to stop the limousine right at the corner of the bridge.
Jack hopped out with his sack of beans on his shoulder. He then quickly slid down the bank on the rain-slick dirt next to the bridge abutment and smack dab into his boat. He quickly started floating down the stream with his bean sack securely tied in the boat, feeling good that he had defeated not one Giant, but three this time around. He called back to the Giants on the bridge: “Sorry guys, you will have to find another way to control the world’s food supply. I’m keeping my beans and will see to it that they’re spread as far and as wide as possible.”