twine-wrapped gift
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Ordered Online by Lynette G. Esposito

This time he was going to use his gift card wisely. He would buy something he really needed, not like the alligator retro pointed shoes that didn’t fit.

Jack needed a chia kit. The ad said $19.99 and free shipping. Just add water and wait three days. No returns.

He had been on the New Innovations site before but never ordered anything. But the cost was reasonable and he would have thirty dollars left over. He thought of the old adage, you get what you pay for, and the cost was low. It concerned him.

Anyway, he took a chance, and in four weeks he would have his kit.

Time goes by, as they say, and a watched pot doesn’t boil. He thought of those things his dead grandma always said, but he couldn’t help it. He watched the doorstep for the package to appear.

Finally, marked FRAGILE, Jack saw his kit tossed onto the cement porch like frisbee gone wild.

He couldn’t wait to open it, so he sat on the step and carefully inserted the point of his pocket knife into the cellophane tape and slid it down the length of the box.

It was empty, except for a handwritten note and a single yellow bean.

Just add water, it said, do not touch the bean with your bare hands, but that was too late. He held the bean in the palm of his hand. It looked like an Easter candy. He dropped the yellow thing back into the box and hoped his mistake of touching it would not make a difference.

Add water, the instructions said, but not how much. He took the garden hose and filled the box. Surprisingly, the box did not leak. No other instructions were included. So the wait began.

Day one, his mother said to get that wet box off the front porch, so he set it beside the house near the back corner.

Day two, there was no water left in the box, because the dog kicked it over while drinking from it. He refilled the box from the garden hose again.

Day three, nothing.

Day four, nothing.

Day five, Jack received a desperate text from the seller: I sent you the wrong box. Don’t put that bean in water.

Day six, the stalk had grown deep into the sky.


Lynette G. Esposito, MA Rutgers, has been published in North of Oxford, Remembered Arts, Poetry Quarterly, Deep Overstock, Readers Digest and others. She lives in Southern New Jersey with six feline muses. She was married to Attilio Esposito.

Author's note

When I order online, I have found that what you think you are ordering is not always what comes. So how about a more modern tale such as in Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack orders one thing online and surprise, instead, he gets a bean and surprise, it is magic. What fun.