Benny the Bead

The sun is out and shining bright and the air is heating up. The canoe picks up pace on the shining water as James and Nathan work hard in the humid weather. High up in his abode Benny sticks his head out to have a look around. The angle before him is steep, a smooth forehead laid bare and barren waiting for the first voyageur to take on the noble quest. It is only early morning but the paddlers are already moving and Benny knows the time is right. Pumped up and ready, Benny leaves his hill-top residence and starts a slow role out into the open.

The space is dangerous. Benny's quest is the nose, a ridge before him that rises out in a point, the perfect place to linger. But his target is not close yet and the route is not an easy one. Slow and steady will win the race, a gentle roll towards the resting place so as not to alarm anyone. The last thing Benny wants is the wandering hand of a human, smudging across the forehead towards him. No, he must lay low, take it easy and work his way there slowly. Easy does it, Benny thinks to himself, easy does it.

Across to the east, however, there is a problem. In Benny's peripheral vision he spies another wanderer. Benny's not the only one to realise it is time for a quest and the gauntlet has been thrown down. Benny tries not to look across, he wants to pretend he hasn't seen his competitor, but it is already too late. The race is on and Benny's mind is in a state. There's an optimum to be found and he knows it. Too fast and a flat palm will be swiping in his direction, too slow and he won't get there first. His one goal, his perfect destination, the brown tip of the nose, is calling but he mustn't rush, he mustn't.

He chances a glance across. Rolling in a smooth and steady motion is Billy. Billy is fat, dirty and heading in precisely the same direction. He's gradually picking up pace, heading down the forehead to pass Benny and take the glory. Benny pushes on, there is nothing more he can do and he begins to hit the ridge.

A moment passes before Benny hears a cry and turns round to see his nemesis battling the curves of the human face. Billy is struggling, he has made it through the dark forest, Eyebrow, but beyond there is a steep slope away from the nose. Billy is turning, tumbling and falling sideways towards a glassy eye. He claws and grabs at the air but slides down and down. Benny observes, as with a final yelp, Billy grasps at the last millimetres of skin before disappearing into the eye. Then, silence.

Benny, now perched precariously on the ridge of the nose, has his heart in his mouth. He has seen peril first hand and is overcome by a strange sadness. Though an enemy, Billy was really nothing more than another bead in the great race to become champion. He was no different from Benny himself and had only the same dream and the same goal. The nose is now there for the taking but the victory seems hollow and cold. With no one close behind Benny can take a moment to settle down. He knew the risks when he set out and Billy did too, it had been the way for beads before and will be the way for beads thereafter. With that in mind, Benny rolls on.

Soon he is there. The Everest, the peak, the tip-top position protruding from the face. Benny stands tall on the tip of the nose and looks out on the world with pride. The victor of the day, he can proudly say he was the first. All he has set out to achieve has been fulfilled and with a final wave to the world he tucks himself into a ball and dives, dives deep into the abyss to be lost in the beyond. With the faintest of plops he disappears into the canal and is gone.

High up in their hairy hilltop home, Belinda, Betty, Bert, Bianca, Barry, Ben, Beth, Boris, Bridget, Bernard, Beatrice, Brenda and Bella look on and think, my god, someone should write a story about this!