Jeremy Botts and the Psychic Peanut
A Grown Up Children's Story by: Dennis R. Humphreys
Remember the whole story of St. Joan of Arc, the young girl who successfully led the French army against the English aggressors? She never had military training, never led an army but she claimed she took her direction from God. While others around her did not hear the voices, she did.
Some years ago modern scientists and psychiatrists, people in the know, looked at the evidence at hand and various accounts about her exploits and eye witness accounts. They formed the conclusion she was a schizophrenic...in layman's terms, nuts Those are people that hear voices when no one else does and they have been described as having multiple personalities.
Everyone has a brain and like people, every brain is different. There is conjecture over the last thirty years that we do not store most of the information that passes into our brains, as originally thought, rather it is stored outside the body in an electro-magnetic field surrounding the human body. Sounds like an aura doesn't it? Something scientists scoffed at for some years now. There the information resides until the body needs it and the brain acting as a antennae/computer drive head searches for the information and downloads it to use. We don't see it, we don't hear it...it just does it. There are some brains I am sure that are more efficient at this job than others.
There are people sitting in institutions that have been labeled schizophrenic because they hear voices. However, isn't it possible that some of the brains of some of these people are more sensitive than others that dictate this label? Perhaps their brain receiving stations are more sensitive than others, like tuning in a radio station, so they hear the voices loud and clear while the rest of us are not able to. Maybe somehow certain people can tune into other dimensions, many of us are unable to and hear things of other speakers aside from our dimension. Perhaps Joan of Arc wasn't crazy as some experts would say, but she was tuned into the right frequency that gave her the right answers needed at the right time. That is what is defined as a miracle but many in the scientific world are prone to dismiss this because of the religious connotations and the hint at God's interference when there is no proof of God or at least something ,measurable in a laboratory. It is not any better than the inexplicable, unheard voices of Joan pf Arc. Yet, in their incredible wisdom they form a diagnosis of her several hundred years later.
“Jeremy! Time to get up. Are you going with me today to the grocery store?” Jeremy's mother shouted from the bottom of the stairs to her ten year old son. Today was a day off from school and it was also his mother's grocery shopping day, Of course he was going with her, he wasn't allowed to stay home alone and there wasn't anyone available to watch him. Why didn't she just tell him to get out of bed, get dressed and go to the grocery with her.
Jeremy rolled out of bed, definitely not a good morning person. He hated grocery shopping. It's only appeal was the candy aisle and the three dollars he had in his pocket his dad gave him the other day. Mr. Botts worked for the city as the comptroller. Jeremy's mother was a substitute teacher and was well liked so it was almost a full time job for her. What she liked about it she could call her own shots as when to work but had to be careful turning down too many requests for her or she'd drop of the 'to call' list.
Jeremy quickly dressed and went downstairs to eat a couple of waffles his mother had made for him..
“After you're done there, honey, we'll head to the store,” she told him.
The store was only twenty minutes away. When they got there the wind had picked up and it looked like it might storm. Sure enough the rain poured down suddenly and Jeremy and his mother had to run the last fifty feet to the store to keep from getting drenched.
Jeremy's mother got a shopping cart and pulled out her list of items she was going to buy.
“Mom, can I wander around? I want to go to the candy aisle,” he asked his mom.
“Of course, but don't leave the store and stay out of mischief,” she warned him like they were mutually exclusive.
Jeremy made a beeline to aisle nine where the candy was packed and every other snack imaginable.
He was thinking Starburst or maybe something similar he just couldn't make up his mind as he stood there contemplating. Then a voice interrupted his thoughts
“Hey Jeremy, get over here and buy the bag I'm in,” the voice suggested.
Jeremy went over to where he heard the voice but didn't see anything or anyone.
“Where are you, and who are you?” asked Jeremy.
“I'm down here on the bottom shelf in the big bag of peanuts...no, this one...yes, that's it,” he guided the boy.
Jeremy picked up the bag and held it against his face to look inside but all the peanuts looked the same. Jeremy looked as he listened.
“You're looking right at me! You've got me,” the voice yelled.
Jeremy put his ear against the bag but all he heard was humming.
“Is that you humming? Why are you humming?” Jeremy asked the voice.
“Yes I'm humming, because I can't sing a lick,” he told the boy, “are you going to buy me or not? I can make it worth your while. I'm the only talking peanut that I know of.”
“I guess so, I was going to buy some candy,” Jeremy told him,” now I won't have enough money except to buy a small candy bar.
“Hey peanuts are better for you anyway. You can eat the rest of these idiots that are in here with me,” the peanut told him.
“You sound like my mom,” Jeremy told the nut.
“Sounds like an extremely intelligent woman. Listen don't let anyone know we're having a conversation. They may not understand,” the peanut warned, “Take me home with you and we can talk further.”
So Jeremy stuffed the bag of peanuts under his arm and grabbed a small candy bar off the shelf. He had just enough money for the bag of nuts and the candy bar, He met up with his mom in the canned vegetable aisle and slipped the peanuts bag into the cart.
“Well. It's good to see you're making better choices in your snacks,” she told him looking at the large bag of unshelled peanuts.
On the way home Jeremy's mother did the one thing he hated. She turned the radio on loud and sang with the music, dancing in her seat. She looked a little insane. Jeremy tried to ignore her but it was difficult. Other people in other cars outside would look strangely at her. Jeremy tried to sink down low so it looked like she was alone in the car. He thought they might think her condition was inheritable. He could hear humming coming from the bag of peanuts he bought, keeping up with the song and his mother.
“Help me with the groceries before you delve into that bag,” she told him as he began to run off with it to his room.
He went back and helped carry the bags into the house, using the lazy man's load which was as much as you can carry in one trip. Ideally you could carry everything at one time.
“Thank you honey,” mom shouted after him as he disappeared down the hall to his room.
There, he opened the bag of nuts and began pulling them out of a pile, one at a time,.
“Is this you?” he confronted each one and listened. Somewhere around thirty six he met the talking peanut. He held it to his ear just to make sure and he clearly heard the peanut's voice say, 'It's me'.
“Finally!,” Jeremy exclaimed. “Why do you talk?”
“You wouldn't like my singing. Why do you talk?” the peanut retorted.
“I was born that way and then I learned how to,” Jeremy informed the nut.
“Same here,” the nut told him.
“What do I call you...anyway?” Jeremy asked.
“Anything but anyway!” the nut said jokingly, “and don't say stop acting like a nut.”
“My name is Sir Edmund,” the nut told him.
“Why the 'sir'? Are you a knight?” Jeremy asked.
“Of sorts. Because of my ability to speak and one other special attribute the Queen of Peanuts knighted me...Queen Shelley La Gume of Tuscany.
“Amazing, What is the other attribute?” young Jeremy inquired.
“I am psychic,” he told Jeremy who only half believed it but then he wouldn't have believed anyone about a talking peanut if he hadn't run across Sir Edmund himself.
“Prove you're psychic,” Jeremy taunted him.
“Your mother is about to call you for lunch....a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and mayonnaise...and a glass of chocolate milk.”
“Jeremy! Time for lunch. Come on down,” Mrs. Botts yelled for her son.
Jeremy came down and sat at the table wide eyed looking at his plate which had a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and mayo on it. As he sat down his mother placed a glass of chocolate milk beside his plate.
“Pretty good, huh?” a voice asked from his pocket where he had put the peanut.
“Yep,” Jeremy mumbled.
“Yep, what?” his mother asked.
“Oh, nothing” Jeremy answered wolfing down his grilled cheese and washing it down with the chocolate milk.
“I wish you wouldn't eat and drink so quickly. You'll have indigestion,” she warned her son as he ran from the room to go outside.
“No but in a minute you're going to have to take a crap,” the peanut predicted..
About that time Jeremy had stomach pangs and turned around quickly to go to the hall bathroom. He certainly wouldn't make it in time to get to the upstairs bathroom.
“You know you won't be bad to have around,” Jeremy commented to Sir Edmund.
“I try to be of service. Just keep me away from the squirrels. You can feed the rest of those do nothings I was in the bag with, when you found me, to those tree rodents.
“Are you alright in my pocket because that's where I'm going to keep you,”the boy informed him.
“I'll be just fine,” Sir Edmund replied. “are you taking me with you to school tomorrow?”
“Of course. I'm not going anywhere without you,” Jeremy assured him.
”Alright but be careful. Some schools don't allow peanuts in there because of the nut allergies around. I don't understand that since they only affect three percent of the population. Whose decision was it anyway to go and effect ninety seven percent of the population? Isn't this a democracy?” Sir Edmund asked.
“I guess but I find politics confusing so I don't pay much attention to it,” Jeremy answered.
“Well you're probably better off, you can't get a straight story from any of them.” the peanut warned.
Jeremy went to school the next day with Sir Edmund wrapped in a Kleenex and stuffed in his shirt pocket so the peanut wouldn't be discovered. When Sir Edmund spoke it was muffled and difficult to understand him but it was necessary.
The teacher handed out a surprise math quiz, not Jeremy's best subject. Luckily Sir Edmund was a math wiz of sorts. He cleared his throat as Jeremy pointed his pencil at each multiple choice until he got to the right one. They checked the answers right away by exchanging papers with the pupil across the aisle from them. Jeremy got a hundred and the teacher was beside herself.
“Jeremy. I am so pleased with you!,” she told him when the papers were passed in then'
“Thanks, Sir Edmund, for your help,” Jeremy told him.
“Don't mention it but tonight you and I are going to talk math so I don't have to do that anymore,” he told Jeremy.
Jeremy and his best friend Titus, walked home from school together every afternoon. They walked through the end of town into the suburbs to go home. They always stopped for a soda at the one corner convenient store. Jeremy waited outside drinking his while Titus was inside still making a purchase There was a man standing on the sidewalk leaning against the building reading a race horse form. Two other men were busy lifting an air conditioning unit to install on the roof.
A small voice came from Jeremy's pocket.
“Get that man leaning against the wall to move right away!” Sir Edmund shouted to Jeremy.
“Hey mister. Get away from that wall...now!” Jeremy shouted.
The man looked up hearing the boy and came over to him.
“Did you just tell me to get away from where I was? Why?” he asked. No sooner had he asked, than there was a loud crash behind him making him jump and look. The large HVAC unit that was being hoisted to the roof broke the cables and came crashing down to the sidewalk
“That's why mister,” Jeremy explained to him.
The man wide eyed and shaken turned around to face Jeremy. He pulled out his wallet and handed Jeremy a twenty dollar bill.
“Wow, thank you mister,” Jeremy told the man.
“No thank you. This is my lucky day. I'm headed for the races,” the man announced and ran to get the bus.
Titus came out sipping his soda through a straw, having missed all the action.
“What happened out here?” Titus asked.
“Nothing much,” Jeremy told him.
When Jeremy got home he announced his perfect score on his math test. His mother was amazed and so was his dad. At the dinner table Mrs. Botts announced there was ice cream in celebration of his success.
“There you have it. They are pleased with the mark you got. Tonight we work on your problem areas so you can get more accolade for your knowledge,” Sir Edmund announced and so they did.
Jeremy was able to explain the math problem the teacher posted on the blackboard during math class the next day. She became ecstatic patting herself on the back for her successful instruction.
“That's OK,” Sir Edmund said,” let her believe that and you will become her prize student.
“You're doing better in math class these days,” Titus admitted to his friend as they left the school building to walk home. They passed a number of their other schoolmates as they were getting on their various buses.
“You might want to mention to bus ten to check his tires. He will have a flat on the way home,” the peanut warned. So Jeremy went to the open door of the bus and looked in on the driver just sitting there waiting.
“You might want to check your tires. You might get a flat on the way home,” Jeremy told the man.
“Did you do something to the tires? If you did so help me. If I get a flat on the way home I'll know exactly who to look for, you little hoodlum,” the man shouted not letting Jeremy explain. But then he couldn't anyway without revealing Sir Edmund.
That evening Mr. and Mrs. Botts got a call from Mr. Avery, the school principal.
“I'm sorry to bother you but I got a call from one of our bus drivers after he got a flat tire this afternoon taking the kids home on his route. It seems Jeremy came to him and threatened to give him a flat tire before he left the school parking lot. I'm not sure why but then to have the flat tire obviously Jeremy had something to do with it,” the principal explained.
“I just can't imagine Jeremy doing anything like that but I'll talk to him. Did you get the place wherever you took the bus to get the tire fixed a line on what caused the flat? I really don't want to accuse my son of something like that if he didn't do anything,” Mr. Botts told the principal.
“We will take disciplinary action and hope as parents you will too,” he told Jeremy's father.
“If I'm convinced my boy did something wrong I will do something and I'll back the school as well,” Mr. Botts assured the principle before hanging up the phone.
“Jeremy...could you come down here” Jeremy's father yelled from the bottom of the stairs.
Jeremy knew the sound of his father's voice and came down the stairs wondering what he had done.
“Did you tell one of the bus drivers at school today he was going to have a flat?” his father asked as his mother joined them at the foot of the stairs.
“No...I told him he might want to check his tires, he might get a flat,” Jeremy answered.
“Did you have anything to do with the tire getting flat, or know of someone that did?” his father asked him.
“No. I just knew there was going to be a problem,” Jeremy explained.
“So it was a hunch?” the father asked.
“Yeah, I guess so. I wouldn't do anything like that,” Jeremy assured his parents.
“We didn't think you would,” his mother added, ”but your principal might have other ideas.”
“Great now they think I had something to do with the flat tire all because I warned the guy,” Jeremy told Sir Edmund.
“Ah... a prophet is never honored in his own home,” the peanut moaned over the incident.
“What's that supposed to mean?” Jeremy rebutted.
“People have to look for the bad in most things and have someone to blame for it when it happens. You couldn't just have foreseen something like this happening, you had to have had something to do with it. If you told every bus driver the same thing every day for a year and nothing happened as soon as something did, by the law of averages, you'd still get the blame. If the man checked his tires first he may have avoided getting stuck on the road. Part of his issue is he didn't pay attention,” the peanut told him and it actually made sense.
“Well that's the last time I warn someone like that,” Jeremy told the nut.
“Don't say that. Nothing happened in this instance but how about the man yesterday on the sidewalk? If you hadn't warned him he would be dead. That should make up for this instance don't you think?” the peanut surmised.
“Yeah, I guess so,” he told the peanut.
“Tomorrow's another day. We'll see then,” Sir Edmund told him.
The principal was waiting when Jeremy and Titus climbed the steps to the school's front door.
“Jeremy...I have an apology I need to make to you,” the principal said.
“To me?” Jeremy countered, looking puzzled.
“Yes. The man who worked on the bus and replaced the blown tire said it was because of careless driving. Evidently the tire's sidewall was ruptured from hitting a curb at a fairly high speed. It could have blown at any minute but you seemed to know it was going to happen yesterday afternoon. How did you know?” the principal asked.
How could Jeremy explain without revealing Sir Edmund Peanut as his source? So he lied a bit.
“I just saw it. I do that sometimes. I get a sense of something that is going to happen,” he told the principal and the principal bought it completely.
“If I play the lottery tonight do I have a chance of winning?” Mr. Avery asked Jeremy who was then looking for some direction.
“Tell him to wait and play it on Thursday,” Jeremy heard Edmund tell him from his pocket.
“Don't play the lottery until Thursday, Mr. Avery,” Jeremy told him and the principal backed up smiling and kept turning like a turn style heading down the hallway as if he had been given the keys to the kingdom.
Jeremy kept quiet for a few days and worked with Sir Edmund on math. He showed a great deal of improvement and the teacher was now looking at Jeremy as her star pupil. The previous star pupil seemed to be miffed at the attention Jeremy was now getting as he pulled ahead in his average marks.
“Mr Botts...this is Mr Avery, the principal,” the caller said on the phone.
“Oh dear, what did Jeremy do now?” Mr. Botts asked cautiously.
“Nothing. He told me to play the lottery tonight and I did. I won ten million dollars...ten million dollars! I can retire now early from this thankless job, thanks to your son. I just wanted to say thank you and if I can take a minute to thank your son, please,” he asked Mr. Botts.
Jeremy took the call and was pleased. Edmund was right. Times like these make up for the bad stuff you encounter along the way trying to do good and not being appreciated. Wow, they were going to get a new principle. Mr. Avery was giving his notice right away. Jeremy wondered how the new guy would be and who it would be
“That was impressive, son. You seem to be getting a little reputation as a psychic. Tell you what maybe you can help me. I've applied for a position at work as a district comptroller. I should get it based on my tenure, my experience and my work record. Anything you can tell me there?” Jeremy's father asked him.
“Tell him to beware of Jack Sherwood. He can do your father harm and block his advancement,” Sir Edmund told him from his shirt pocket.
“Dad, be wary of Jack Sherwood he might try to screw your promotion,” Jeremy told his father putting him into a state of shock.
“How in heaven's name do you know about Jack Sherwood. I've never mentioned anything about any of my fellow workers at the office? You know, I've been uneasy around him the past few weeks. Is there anything you can tell me...like how he's going to do it?” Mr. Botts asked his son.
“Tell him to make sure he gets the month's numbers to his boss in the morning if possible,” Edmund relayed.
“Just get your month's numbers to him preferably in the morning if at all possible,” Jeremy told his dad.
The dad was stunned. It was more than coincidence that his son knew certain things brought out in his warnings. He wasn't planning on finishing his report for his boss until tomorrow afternoon, giving it to him Monday morning. Now he made the choice to go in early and finish his report so he could get it to him before lunch,
“Thank you, son. I appreciate your insight,” he told the boy.
“You see. You're feeling pretty good now aren't you? Sir Edmund questioned him.
“Sure am. That felt funny my dad asking me for advice “ Jeremy told the nut.
“You see what happens when you begin getting the respect of others around you? Just be aware it doesn't last forever. Friends turn into enemies and as a great writer once said, 'the good is oft interred with their bones.'
The class seating was rearranged monthly by the teacher. No one was sure why she did it. Maybe it was to make people befriend the one next to them or maybe to break the alliance you formed sitting next to a person for awhile. Maybe it was to keep things honest and fraternization to a minimum. It was Monday and that time to change your the seating. Jeremy found himself sitting next to the one of two people in the school that had nut allergies.
“Miss Carson,” I'm breaking out in a rash. Someone around me has been eating nuts or has them on their person,” Maureen Briden told the teacher after going to her desk.
“I'll take care of this. Class now you've been warned about eating nuts or bringing them onto the premises because of Maureen's allergies. It is not permitted. She hadn't had any allergic reaction until we switched seats so which one of you around her has either eating nuts or has them on your person?” she asked a little outdone with the failure of the group to sacrifice their preferences for the one.
The class looked at each other perplexed. Most of the class ate peanut butter sandwiches at home. The parents weren't going to let the school dictate what they could and couldn't eat at home away from the jurisdiction of the school.
“Alright class take out everything from your desk and place it on the top. I am going to inspect everything,” which she did.
“Put everything away. Now stand next to your desks and empty every pocket. Everyone did as they were told. Jeremy left Sir Edmund in his shirt pocket hoping to avoid the wrath of the teacher. She was checking the things on the desks when she got to Jeremy and like the others she felt their pockets to make sure they were empty. There was an all knowing 'caught you' look on her face when she felt the lump in Jeremy's pocket.
“What have we here?” she asked pulling the Kleenex wad out of his pocket and unwrapping it, exposing Edmund.
She looked at it and turned it over like she expected more than what it appeared to be.
“A peanut. This is against school policy,” She placed it on the desk and pulled out her smartphone to take a picture of Edmund as Maureen began to furiously scratch and break out in a really ugly rash. Her breathing changed as well, but the teacher had her culprit.
She then carried Sir Edmund over to the window and pulled it open. Jeremy wanted to shout 'no' but couldn't while he heard Sir Edmund exclaim, 'oh dear'. The teacher took the peanut and tossed it out the window as far as she could heave it. The fading scream from Edmund could be heard by Jeremy. No one else could hear, so they couldn't appreciate the demise of Jeremy's close friend.
Edmund bounced off the parking lot catching the eye of a passing squirrel who ran to check it out. He sniffed it for a second and then joyfully picked it up and buried it.